Case Studies

Below you will find various case studies of clients who have utilized our services within their facilities. The case studies are organized by the types of services that we offer

Categories:

HMI / SCADA Solutions
Case Study 1: Paint Shop SCADA Consolidation

A leading automotive manufacturer sought to upgrade the SCADA system of their Paint Department. The existing system consisted of six SCADA nodes, each configured independently despite the fact that some information between the nodes was shared. The segmentation of the system made it difficult to manage and perform upgrades to the system software and a lack of system redundancy, contributed to poor system robustness.

Can-Technologies proposed the introduction of a Client/Server-based architecture that would effectively move all software and data into a centralized location. Using GE Fanuc's iFix package, the six SCADA nodes were replaced with custom PC-based HMI clients. The Server/Client approach ensured that the HMI clients would all run the same version of the paint department software and improve data fidelity by sharing a common database. The introduction of a backup server further improved system reliability.

In addition to consolidating the system software and data, Can-Technologies enhanced the paint department system by introducing advanced trending and historical reporting features as well as sign boards for communicating process information to paint shop workers.

In the end, Can-Technologies provided a SCADA solution that greatly improved the overall performance of the existing system and paved the way for further continuous improvement initiatives.

Case Study 2: Melt Shop SCADA/PLC Upgrade

A major steel manufacturer sought to upgrade and optimize their existing melt shop control system. The main goals of the upgrade were to replace the primary legacy controller with a more modern one, reduce the number of PLCs in the system by combining all programs into two units, and replace all HMI terminals with similar clients. Complicating the project were the facts that the primary controller was required to communicate over multiple network protocols. A time-critical element was also introduced as all upgrades were to be completed during the plant’s summer shutdown.

The solution proposed by Can-Technologies involved two Allen-Bradley ControlLogix PLC hardware as well as five terminals running AB’s RSView SE HMI software.

The first of the two PLCs, known as the Gateway PLC, was responsible for performing data exchanging between the various non-Control Logix components of the system. In general, this involved conversion of signals between various network protocols including Modbus, DeviceNet, ControlNet and Ethernet. The second PLC was responsible for performing process calculations and issuing corresponding control signals.

The existing HMI network consisted of several standalone HMIs running different pieces of software. Can-Technologies upgraded the system to a Client/Server-based architecture running RSView SE software. The HMI software was redesigned and rebuilt based on the two previous systems to include all features of the old software while implementing additional functionality for status monitoring and diagnostics.

Despite the short time frame for commissioning and testing, Can-Technologies successfully completed the melt shop control system upgrades. Following installation, Can-Technologies showed their dedication to providing a complete solution by providing thorough document as well as full training and support for the new equipment.

MES & Web Solutions
Case Study 1: Heat Tracking in Steel Manufacturing

The availability of data is a key to optimizing any manufacturing process. Knowing this, a global steel manufacturer sought to introduce a system for monitoring and analyzing heat data from the beginning of scrap loading up to the final casting process. In addition to the basic data analysis requirements of the customer, it was necessary that the solution be scalable in order to incorporate future expansions of the facility and data collection system.

To accommodate the needs of the customer, Can-Technologies proposed an out of the box system based on Activplant software. As an enterprise solution, Activplant provided the necessary flexibility and expandibility required by the customer. Being web-based, it also meant that important process data could be made readily available to those responsible for process improvement and analysis.

Can-Technologies seamlessly integrated the Activplant system into the existing network and developed reporting applications for retrieval of various key performance indicators (KPIs) including yield, downtime, energy usage and profitability metrics. The final system effectively centralized production data and significantly improved plant floor visibility.

Case Study 2: Web Monitoring/Control for Pumphouse

A world-class producer of iron products was periodically experiencing downtime in their facility due to the lack of alarm and fault information being readily available from their cooling-water pump house. The normally unmanned pump house contained the equipment responsible for supplying the cooling water to the main plant, and in the event that a piece of pumphouse equipment failed, often the only notice of the failure would come in the form of shutting down the line of production due to low water pressure.

Because the pump house is normally without an operator, the customer needed a solution that would provide them remote insight into the pump house with information feeding back in real-time.

Can-Technologies presented a solution using an industry standard Web framework that would provide both real-time feedback, as well as remote system control from any PC with the proper security privileges in the plant.

The solution contained rich graphical displays of the equipment, laid out in a fashion similar to schematic drawings. This layout allowed the maintenance personnel to quickly become proficient with and take advantage of the benefits of the system.

Safety Solutions
Case Study: Steel Plant MCC Safety System

During installation of new manufacturing equipment, a global steel manufacturer was looking for an innovative and modern approach to upgrading their safety and power distribution systems. Many components were up to 30 years old and were costly to maintain. The existing system also consisted of multiple MCCs, each controlling specific parts of various work cells, creating difficulty when attempting to lockout during maintenance and posing several significant safety hazards.

Can-Technologies was contacted to develop a system that would address these problems.

The MCC distribution and safety issues were solved using smart MCCs and Can-Technologies’ “Dangerous Area Safeguarding” concept. Meetings defined the technical and practical aspects of the system and a plan to rearrange the local electrical systems into logical work groups was developed.

Following this grouping, a safety PLC was introduced and connected to gates and sensors throughout the network, particularly those at entry and exit points to work areas. The PLC communicated with various pieces of the process control system ensuring that any machinery was de-energized before a worker entered a dangerous area.

The system was implemented on time and successfully integrated with the new manufacturing equipment. The approach taken by Can-Technologies proved to be a significant improvement over the previous system and was the unique solution sought by the customer.

Custom Software
Case Study 1: Scheduling System

A world-class automotive manufacturer was looking to replace an aging Shift Scheduler system which controlled shift signals through an unreliable, undocumented legacy HMI/PLC interface. The desired replacement needed to have the flexibility to configure production shifts with any number of events such as production starts, stops, breaks and lunches through an easy to use Web Client Interface. The system also needed to be accessible through a platform independent interface by other software applications throughout the plant.

Can-Technologies worked closely with the customer, following their established standards for application development, and documentation, and produced the complete system, using current technology including C#, ASP.NET, XML, Web Services, Microsoft Message Queuing, and Oracle. The system was successfully deployed on time and within budget.

Case Study 2: Rule-Based Control of Product Conveyance System

A world-class automotive manufacturer was looking to replace an aging Shift Scheduler system which controlled shift signals through an unreliable, undocumented legacy HMI/PLC interface. The desired replacement needed to have the flexibility to configure production shifts with any number of events such as production starts, stops, breaks and lunches through an easy to use Web Client Interface. The system also needed to be accessible through a platform independent interface by other software applications throughout the plant.

Can-Technologies worked closely with the customer, following their established standards for application development, and documentation, and produced the complete system, using current technology including C#, ASP.NET, XML, Web Services, Microsoft Message Queuing, and Oracle. The system was successfully deployed on time and within budget.

Power Distribution
Case Study: Steel Plant Power Distribution System

A global steel manufacturer was upgrading its bar mill cold cut line and part of the project included replacement of the low voltage power distribution system. Can-Technologies was hired to determine the specifications for the new MCCs and switchgear for the system.

After discussing the system requirements with the customer, Can-Technologies prepared a detailed comparison between various MCCs and their suitability for the customer’s application. A smart MCC was chosen because of the ease of installation and the level of intelligence that is inherent in smart MCC systems.

A load list was then prepared and finalized. The list was broken down into logical operational groups and based on this analysis, it was found that a total of 11 MCCs were necessary to provide the required functionality. With a customer-supplied list of approved manufacturers, Can-Technologies took on the task of acquiring and summarizing quotes on behalf of the customer. Following presentation of the received proposals, Can-Technologies worked with the customer to determine the best supplier based on technical specifications and budgetary considerations.

In addition to researching and designing the MCC system, similar steps were taken to assess and select two low voltage switchgears to be used in conjunction with the MCC system. The MCCs and switchgears were ordered, manufactured and successfully installed and commissioned during the summer shutdown.

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