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One of Patti Engineering’s customers in the heavy equipment manufacturing industry came to us with a
project to upgrade the controls program for a piston ringer assembly. The fully-automated subsystem
contains a 6-axis robot and 6 rotary tables which install 3 piston rings on each piston set. The assembly process was as follows:
The customer requested some improvements on the automation system. The decision was made to address the following known issues:
The existing control system code was not easy to trace or debug, so it was more efficient to rewrite the entire logic in order to address the known issues and to optimize the process and machine motions. The recipe transactions were handled by the upper layer production system PLC rather than transferring them indirectly through the adjunct PLC.
After implementing the project, the cycle time for a single piston pallet was 55 seconds, down from 70 seconds, when the robot runs at 100% speed. The customer was very happy with the implementation of the new controls program for the piston ringer assembly. The operations team reported that the system is running faster and with fewer problems than before the upgrade. The new recovery feature makes it easier and faster for the operator to get the machine back online after a mechanical jam. The new controls program was written with the ladder logic sequence approach, which makes troubleshooting and debugging quick and painless.
These are the days of digitalization – for manufacturers, digitalization means using digital tools such as IoT devices, AI, and edge/cloud computing to gain better...
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