A groov EPIC system can run either Ignition EDGE or Ignition FULL on its processor, but in this case, Giorgio chose to run Ignition on a separate server. He uses Ignition Tag Historian, Alarm Notification, Perspective, Sequential Function Charts (SFC), and OPC UA. Postgres, an open-source SQL database, provides the database for Ignition Historian. The flexible ERP is Odoo.
The company uses the Perspective Module’s scripting function to directly control some processes in specialized equipment. They also use Ignition to directly monitor power meters, gas meters, resin meters, and sand level meters, some of their largest recurring production costs.
Giorgio has taken full advantage of the opportunities for operator interfaces (HMIs), using both Ignition Perspective and the groov View software built into groov EPIC.
Ignition Perspective HMI screens in the main control room
“We now have a mission control in the center of our factory where all pertinent Perspective screens display every active part of our process,” says Giorgio. “Perspective has allowed us to add an HMI to any of our equipment, including those that don’t even have a physical HMI. All of our operators, with the appropriate credentials, can view the HMI of any machine using tablets at the machine or even with their mobile device.”
Perspective HMI Screens: Top View for No Bake, Silos for No Bake, and KUKA Robot Control for Shelling
At the same time, the groov
View HMI gives Giorgio local access to systems. “We were able to use both groov
View’s HMI and Perspective simultaneously, and that allows us to have local HMI control should our network connection to the edge ever fail. This was great for us to find out, as we used these double HMIs for our processes that are of critical importance.”
“I have an integrated HMI and I can take advantage of organizing my factory into zones depending on their proximity to a nearby EPIC. I can integrate all independent processes—shelling, inductive furnace, heat treatment, etc.—and have a local HMI that allows me to control it, with no added costs,” he says. In addition, they can freely and easily create and generate new reports and trends in groov View.
groov View HMI screens give local access on mobile devices.
POK is delighted with the results of the work. Manufacturing now is fully automated, from order entry into the ERP system, to manufacturing the product, to updating finished goods in the same ERP.
Operators find that historical reports, process tracking, and tracking production make their jobs easier. Every engineer can monitor any part of the plant from their mobile phone, a local tablet, or from mission control at the center of the plant.
The company estimates it is saving money in many ways: initial outlay, lower recurring costs, improved product quality through tracking, faster new product production with automated orders in the ERP system, and even labor costs.
“We estimate to have saved over 60% of the cost of this had we purchased a turnkey system from our vendors. We don’t have to pay any recurring licensing costs for any of our software. We are not limited by users, devices, tags, screens, etc. Ignition allowed us to use the licenses that we had already purchased for our equipment from our first plant into this second plant with ease,” says Giorgio.
They look forward to upgrading POK Santa Anita using the same licenses and physical servers used for POK Acatlan. “With EPIC, I can talk to any PLC that I purchase: Rockwell, Siemens, Mueller I/O. We can add new machines, new processes, new operators, new software, new visualizations, and our only cost is the time to make the modifications in Ignition,” he notes.
Labor costs are significantly less than with a large closed system, too, Giorgio says. “Because EPIC, CODESYS, and Ignition are so easy to use, we were able to hire recent college graduates to do much of the programming and HMI screens. For example, engineers can transfer skills in any IEC 61131-3 language to CODESYS. You can have two people with experience and everyone else can be less experienced.”
At this point POK2 Acatlan is 80% operational, and the company is looking forward to applying a similar tech stack with groov EPIC and Ignition in POK Santa Anita.
“We chose Opto for its simplicity in the development and implementation of projects, because there are no recurring license costs, and because the support is free. The cost/benefit ratio is excellent,” says Giorgio. “Working with Opto was wonderful, both with local support from the Opto 22 distributor in Mexico and directly from Temecula, California.”
As Miguel from IC22 summarizes, “The remarkable thing about this project was that we exploited the capacity of the IIoT concept, because the EPIC took information from field sensors, made control loops and control logic like any ordinary PLC, with the plus that it communicated with Allen-Bradley drivers, with a KUKA robot that speaks EtherNet/IP, and more. In addition to all this, it shares information with the SCADA Ignition and finally with the ERP Oodo.”
POK 4.0 has arrived.
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