Control Systems Upgrade Prove Huge Savings in Manufacturing & Distribution

Patti Engineering, Inc. – a control systems integration company based in Auburn Hills, MI with offices in Massachusetts and Texas – has created and earned a reputation for being an expert resource for manufacturing facilities and distribution centers needing to improve performance and profitability. Replacing equipment is not always the best solution, a controls upgrade and machine retrofit can be a cost effective solution to downtime and productivity problems associated with aging equipment and will cost just pennies on the dollar compared to machine replacement.

Control system technology has advanced substantially in the last few years; a controls upgrade allows facilities to maintain the best parts of their current system while gaining the benefits of more modern technology. It creates a best of both worlds scenario by allowing older equipment to run like the newer models, increasing productivity and extending the life of current equipment.

One of the many Patti Engineering success stories includes The Men’s Wearhouse. Dave Stevens, Senior Vice President Distribution/Logistics at The Men’s Wearhouse offered his recommendation of Patti Engineering. “The Men’s Wearhouse has enjoyed a very successful relationship with Patti Engineering for over seven years, working with both developing new and retrofitting our material handling systems controls. We can count on Patti Engineering to come in and embrace a project with the ‘keep it simple concept’. When The Men’s Wearhouse partnered with Patti Engineering to retrofit our sortation systems controls, Patti Engineering was able to reduce unneeded complexity that dramatically simplified the operation. Ease of diagnostics and component reliability has decreased downtime, simplified maintenance, increased reliability, and also aided us in efficiency. Patti Engineering has been a great resource as well as a great partner to the Men’s Wearhouse in several of our Distribution Facilities.  I can rely on Patti Engineering whether it’s a tactical emergency or a strategic modification.  Patti has always provided capable people and reliable support.”

Patti Engineering upgraded the controls for the existing shipping sorter at The Men’s Wearhouse Bellfort Village Distribution Center in Houston, Texas. The shipping sorter is used to sort retail garments and completed tuxedo reservations to one of sixty lanes. The main purpose of this retrofit was to replace the existing PLC control with Phoenix Contact’s Steeplechase Visual Logic Controller (VLC) to remove unnecessary complexity and to provide greater flexibility and reliability. A secondary reason was to do away with a number of RFID readers that were used for tracking and to use an encoder for this instead. There were reliability issues with the RFID readers because of their sensitivity to static electricity and the abundance of static electricity in the distribution center. The encoders have proven to be much more reliable and accurate, reducing errors. Some of the components and technology used on this project include: Steeplechase VLC, Siemens S7-300 PLC, Visual Basic Human Machine Interface (HMI), SQL Server, and WAGO I/O.

csia_tallThe controls for the existing tuxedo sorter at the Bellfort Village Distribution Center in Houston were also upgraded. The Tuxedo Sorter is used to sort tuxedo components (i.e. coats, pants, shirts, vests, and accessories) into complete tuxedo reservations using a two pass process.  There are a total of 246 sort lanes on this sorter. The purpose of this retrofit was the same as the shipping sorter which was to replace the existing PLC control and to eliminate the RFID readers creating a more accurate, reliable, and efficient system.

Patti Engineering provided electrical design, hardware, software, and installation for shipping sorters and transportation conveyors at The Men’s Wearhouse facilities in Bakersfield, CA and Addison, IL.  Some of the components and technology used on these projects include: Steeplechase VLC, Visual Basic HMI, SQL Server, WAGO I/O, Effector I/O, Mitsubishi Variable Frequency Drives, Siemens S7-1200 PLC and a Siemens TP277 HMI.

Sam Hoff, President of Patti Engineering summarized the Men’s Wearhouse and similar projects with these thoughts: “As today’s plants and distribution centers struggle with aging infrastructure and increasingly stringent regulations as well as escalating operations and energy costs, they are searching for cost-effective ways to upgrade their plants to meet current and future requirements. When evaluating the need to rehabilitate, retrofit, upgrade or expand existing assets, Patti Engineering offers sustainable solutions that help plants reduce costs, improve operations, comply with new regulations, and save energy. The Men’s Wearhouse project exemplifies our intuitive ability to tackle difficult programming tasks and our commitment to our customers to get the job done right.”

Related categories: Blog Control Systems Integration

Nick Hitchcock's Bio

Texas Director of Operations

Hired in 2008, Nick Hitchcock has served in several engineering and management roles in the company’s Austin office. Starting out at the Michigan office, and moving to Texas in July 2010, he now serves as the Director of Texas Operations.