First COMbricks™ installation in UK
This is my site Written by Andy Verwer on 6 August 2011 – 4:59 pm

Verwer Training & Consultancy Ltd has installed the first of a new type of PROFIBUS network repeater and monitoring tool into the automated wheel & tyre assembly plant run by Voith Industrial Services at Vauxhall’s car manufacturing complex at Ellsemere Port.

The plant supplies wheel sets for Vauxhall’s assembly line on a just-in-time sequenced schedule that is synchronized with Vauxhall’s production. In such a situation the reliable operation of the plant is paramount. The wheel and tyre plant is highly automated and has a number of PROFIBUS networks involved with plant control and operation. Previously, device and network failures have caused pauses in production that have been costly. The Voith engineers have undergone Certified PROFIBUS Training to learn the techniques for network health checking and rapid fault finding. However, Voith Industrial services ideally wanted a permanent monitoring system that gave pre-warning of impending failures before they cause a break down in production.

Verwer Training & Consultancy Ltd were asked to advise on how best to achieve the required goals and the result was the first UK installation of a COMbricks™ unit. After a short site survey, the COMbricks unit was fitted to the automated wheel balancing control system. The unit was set up to monitor two PROFIBUS networks and also to provide two-channel repeater functionality for one of the networks. Ethernet connection to Voith’s IT network now enables their engineers to obtain network status and health monitoring statistics directly from workstations anywhere within the facility. Further the COMbricks™ unit has been set up to automatically transmit emails to the automation engineer responsible for this plant.

COMbricks™ image

This trial installation has been a great success, providing 24/7 monitoring and pre-warning should network performance deteriorate. For example any illegal, corrupted or repeated messages are automatically logged and an email issued to give warning of the failure.

Voith have now decided to extend the monitoring system by installing a second COMbricks™ unit to monitor four additional networks in the wheel & tyre assembly plant.

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