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CIM & controls.

Controls get smaller and smarter, while CIM and MRP gain new features and suppliers.

The steadily growing popularity CIM systems for real-time process and production monitoring is bringing many new systems and enhancements to the show and some new suppliers to this field. Likewise, show-goers can expect to see new names among MRP software suppliers, as well as new features, such as EDI and bar coding.

In process controls, a new source of total machine-control systems is making its debut. And there will be a vast array of temperature and pressure sensors and controls, several utilizing "fuzzy logic" and others packing more features into a tinier package than ever before.


CIM systems from at least two new sources will debut at the show. A new three-level process and production monitoring system for injection molders will be introduced by Nicollet Process Engineering, Inc., Minneapolis, Minn. The new "PMM" system reportedly was developed over three years of working with captive and custom molders, both large and small. It starts with the PMM240 single-machine process monitor, an industrial PC running Windows. It offers graphic displays of process parameters, SPC charting of up to 24 parameters, and an extensive job and machine setup database.

There's also a PMW140 work-cell monitoring station for keeping tabs on four injection machines simultaneously. And then there's the PV1000 plantwide monitoring station for up to 70 machines. Nicollet also offers a PC-based PMA360 machine-capability analyzer. Developed jointly with 3M Co.'s Molding Technology Center in St. Paul, Minn., the unit monitors more than 60 parameters, scanning at up to 100,000 samples/sec, and includes SPC calculations.

Another new plantwide production and process monitoring system is called DARTnet by RJG Technologies, Inc., Traverse City, Mich. DARTnet links up to 255 DART-1000 single-channel data-acquisition modules (each monitoring a single parameter on a single machine) to a remote IBM-compatible PC. The overview screen shows production status by mold and machine number, indicating "start-up," "running," and "down." Good and bad part counts, cycle counts, parts left to complete the job, standard cycle, and actual cycle of the last shot are displayed, as are waveform profiles, peaks, fill times, cycle times, areas under the curves, and trend data for each input variable. The monitor also classifies shots as good or bad, turns on an alarm at the affected machine, and activates a part-sorting mechanism at that machine. This system lets the user control cost and complexity by installing DART modules only for those parameters he wants to monitor. RJG also offers a DART-based portable machine analyzer.

Several brand-new developments will debut from Syscon-PlantStar, South Bend, Ind. One is a low-cost, entry-level version of the Focus-100 CIM system. Called Focus-Lite, it's a fully functional production monitoring system for up to 16 machines, costing just $6000. It consists of a single M-CIM16L data-acquisition box and any IBM-compatible PC. Four M-CIM16L units and four PCs can be linked to monitor 64 machines. Focus-Lite is fully compatible with and upgradable to the company's Focus-100 and Focus-2000 systems. It offers production reporting, downtime and reject tracing, real-time scheduling, material forecasting, job tracking, and efficiency reporting by job and shift.

New Version 2.0 of PlantStar's Windows-based Focus-2000 CIM system has been expanded to allow process-variable and SPC settings that vary by tool, machine, product--or any combination of the three. This is said to ease set-up and provide greater flexibility with process standards. More user-definable display features and real-time SPC alarms have also been added.

PlantStar has also released a new version 8.11 of the Focus-100 CIM system. It now includes real-time SPC alarms (at the PC and the machine-interface module), an alarm-overview screen, and ability to chart different high-speed process variables against each other on the same graph. Alarms at one machine can be used to activate lights at another press in plants where one operator supervises several machines. Focus-100 also now can upload and download complete machine setups to and from Van Dorn Demag's Pathfinder series of controls. And interfaces have been added for direct RS-232 or RS-485 links to Toyo, Netstal, and Battenfeld injection presses.

PlantStar also is launching a new color version of its EL touchscreen M-CIM machine-interface display.

Hunkar Laboratories Inc., Cincinnati, has added new hardware and software features to its CIM-III system. New software includes automatic machine-capability classification on a nine-level scale. The software performs the analysis automatically each day or shift, and generates a report only if there has been a change in the machine's quality class (see PT, April '93, p. 15.) Also new is automatic correlation of part-attribute data (weights or dimensions) with process variables during the same cycle. Charts of part and process data can now be overlaid on the screen.

On the hardware side, Hunkar has introduced a new Smart Box stand-alone machine controller/monitor with touch-screen EL display. The box has limited direct process-control functions, but also includes the full SPC-PRO software of the CIM-III system, so it can provide the individual machine operator with virtually all the types of information and displays normally seen only at the central supervisory station of a CIM-III network. These include full process, production, and SPC monitoring with automatic alarms; automatic setting of control limits for all variables; good/bad parts discrimination; single or multiple process-parameter traces; and production tracking and cycle efficiencies, with Pareto charts and other aids to analyzing causes of downtime, rejects, and process alarms. It can store job setups and process limits, accepts bar-code input, and also accepts q-c gauge input to automatically correlate process parameters with part weights or dimensions. A built-in "expert" program suggests solutions to common problems. Portable versions of the Smart Boxes can serve as comprehensive machine analyzers with built-in PC.

At the show, Hunkar will exhibit Smart Boxes tailored for injection and blow molding (see Blow Molding section). One for transfer molding (electronic encapsulation) will come out later.

EPOS Corp., Auburn, Ala. will augment its CIM system with the new EPM series 6000 machine interface, which incorporates a 386 processor and high-resolution LCD panel that can display graphical images. Up to 32 machine process parameters may be monitored.

A new Unix-based "open-architecture" CIM system will be introduced by Mattec Corp., Loveland, Ohio. It's designed for convenient integration and communication with complex networks of various computers, PLCs, and operating systems. This multi-user, multi-tasking system is readily expandable.

Mattec also will present a new MIU 8X machine-interface unit for shop-floor data collection. It can store and overlay injection-pressure and velocity curves for analysis. Other new products will include CIM software for extrusion and bar coding for vendor traceability.

A new Monitoring System from Engel Canada, Guelph, Ont., is a local-area network (LAN) that provides real-time monitoring from a remote PC of all user-selected screen pages on individual machine controls or monitoring of a group of machines simultaneously.

T.G. Branden Corp., Wilsonville, Ore., has added a customer report design package and VGA display to its Shotscope process monitoring system.

And a new low-cost PM series central monitoring system will be demonstrated by Nissei America, Inc., Anaheim, Calif.

A new software package for technicians will be introduced by Spirex Corp., Youngstown, Ohio. It uses graphics extensively and exhibits frequently used formulas, engineering data, and resin data.


Manufacturing management software developed by and for custom injection molders will be shown publicly for the first time by Unified Software, Markham, Ont. The Plastics Business Manager (PBM) system for PCs (Windows or DOS) consists of numerous modules for quotation, order entry and invoicing, inventory control, production scheduling, sales analysis, accounting, and tooling, as well as a complete set of database-management tools (see PT, Feb. '94, p. 14).

Another new "plastics management system" developed specifically for molders is BLIS-400 from B&L Information Systems, Inc., Bridgman, Mich. It's an integrated suite of modules for order processing, shipping/invoicing, production scheduling, inventory control, payroll, accounting, cost estimating, job costing, efficiency tracking, equipment utilization, quality control, process instructions, tooling, maintenance management, forecasting, and capacity planning.

Agape Computer Systems, Inc., Bedford, Pa., which has offered modular plastics-management software packages for some time, has added new bar-coding and EDI (electronic data interchange) capabilities to its PowerPaks MRP-II package. Other relatively new modules in this family include Power Fax, which sends faxes from a computer to a fax machine; and Power Tracking, which provides lot-number tracking of finished products and raw materials from purchasing through manufacturing and shipping.

EDI capabilities that allow multiple plants to communicate across several networks are featured in the new IQ/Genesis CIM-system update from IQ Management Systems, Ontario, Calif. Also on hand will be relatively new IQ Real Time software, which monitors total cycles, production time, downtime, and shift changes on molding machines.

Data Technical Research, Jacksonville, Fla., has expanded its Manufacturing Manager integrated software to run on new platforms and operating systems, including SCO Unix, IBM's RS/6000 AIX Unix, and Hewlett-Packard UX Unix. A software release for Windows NT is planned for later this year.

EDI and bar coding are among the latest enhancements to the shop-floor monitoring and MRP-II systems from Intrac Systems, Erie, Pa. In addition, Intrac's Molders Office+ MRP-II system now can run on PC networks and not just the IBM AS/400 minicomputer.

C.A.E. Services Corp., Bloomingdale, Ill., will present upgrades to its cost-estimating and part-weight estimating software packages for injection molders. Part-Weight estimator has increased its repertoire of basic geometries from 60 to 120.


The first product series from the newly established Syscon-Control Star Div. (see Industry Newsfocus) is the Farex-SR series of total machine control systems for injection molding, blown film, and other extrusion. The controllers consist of PLC modules for temperature and sequence control, analog and digital I/O, CPU, communications, and a choice of six different touchscreen operator interfaces, ranging from monochrome LCD to color EL.

Barber-Colman Co.'s Industrial Instruments Dip., Loves Park, Ill., will show its new generation of MACO high-speed machine controllers based on the compact Alpha platform. Versions will be shown for injection, extrusion, and blow molding (see other sections of this report and PT, April '94, p. 23).

A relatively new single-platform control system based on the Simatic TI line of controllers together with monochrome LCD operator panel and process-control software, will be exhibited by Siemens Industrial Automation, Inc., Alpharetta, Ga.


"Fuzzy logic" and ever smaller size are two common elements in several of the temperature- and pressure-control products to be introduced at NPE. Suppliers claim that fuzzy logic is particularly valuable for preventing setpoint overshoot.

Both themes are exemplified by the new REX-D100 1/16-DIN fuzzy-logic process controller from Syscon-RKC, South Bend, Ind. This high-accuracy/fast-sampling unit accepts thermocouple, RTD, voltage, and current inputs. Also equipped with fuzzy-logic capability is the new REX-FZ series of autotuning temperature controllers that reportedly achieves fast recovery after process upsets and setpoint changes. In addition, the new REX-B800 multi-zone temperature controller accepts up to eight thermocouple or RTD inputs. It has autotuning, heat/cool option, dual alarms on each channel, and memory to store setups.

A line of Fuji Electric fuzzy-logic temperature controllers will also be introduced by Total Temperature Instrumentation Inc., Williston, Vt. The PYX series comes in 1/16-DIN size with autotuning and universal input, and costs about the same as standard PID autotune controllers.

A fuzzy-logic approach to on-line tuning is also taken by the new Maestro series 1/8- and 1/16-DIN temperature controllers to be introduced by Fast Heat, Elmhurst, Ill. The controllers are designed for applications that do not require full-featured diagnostics.

A new level of miniaturization in temperature controls has been reached with the introduction of 1/32-DIN sizes from two suppliers. Cal Controls Inc., Libertyville, Ill., has an autotuning version with dual outputs. Watlow Electric Manufacturing Co., St. Louis, will introduce the Series 935 in this new tiny size.

Here's what else is new:

* Watlow also has a new Series 365 controller with factory-selectable analog latching limit, on/off, or PI control. The new Series 988 has a broad range of input and output options. The company says it's the only 18-DIN control that allows single-unit cascade control of a process.

* A new line of 1/4-DIN temperature controllers from Love Controls Div. of Dwyer Instruments, Inc., Wheeling, Ill., includes a built-in barrier that keeps foreign particles from interfering with the temperature control.

* A new universal-I/O, 1/16-DIN microprocessor-based process/temperature controller and new 1/4-DIN process controllers will be shown by West Instruments, Greenwich, R.I.

* Industrial Sensors Inc. (ISI), Winchester, Mass., is showing a new 1/4-DIN pressure indicator, 1/4-DIN dual melt-pressure and temperature indicator, and 1/8-DIN pressure indicator with two alarms.

* New series 10Q 1/4-DIN and Series 10E 1/8-DIN single-zone temperature controllers, as well as multi-zone modules, will be introduced by Barber-Colman Co. (PT, April '94, p. 23).

* CMC Technologies, Buffalo, N.Y., will introduce a pressure-based five-display, four-channel monitoring and control instrument, model MMC5, which controls either one or a combination of parameters. It's suitable for tiebar balancing and monitoring mold-mating force. Other new introductions will include a CFSG2 extensometer for tiebars and CMC-DAQ data-acquisition system.


For the environmentally conscious, several non-mercury-filled pressure transducers will debut at the show. Industrial Sensors is introducing one, as are Gneuss, Inc., Matthews, N.C., and Sensotron, Inc., Huntington Beach, Calif. Sensotron's non-mercury transducers can measure both melt pressure and temperature.

Both pressure and temperature can also be measured with a new flush-mount nozzle transducer probe from Sensotron. The 30,000-psi/750 F sensor is intended for use in direct closed-loop control of injection and packing pressures.

Expect to see new infrared temperature instruments, as well. The small, affordable ($199) IR Junior sensor from Watlow has six selectable output types and a sensing range from 32 to 1000 F. Ircon, Inc., Niles, Ill., is introducing an i-r thermometer to measure the temperature of thin films, particularly PE. And Sensotron will display a new line of NIR, MIR, and Raman infrared optical probes for on-line compositional analysis of polymers at temperatures up to 750 F.

Here's a quick rundown of various new temperature, pressure, position, and other sensors to look for:

* An expanded Unisens (uniform sensitivity) series of flushmount transducers will be shown by Kistler Instrument Corp., Amhurst, N.Y. Additional sizes from 2.5 to 6.0 mm and pressure ranges up to 29,000 psi are now available. Also, Kistler will present an updated Dataflowplus data-acquisition system for injection molding.

* A new pressure transducer for extrusion, and an in-mold mini-cavity pressure sensor for complex parts will be introduced by Dynisco Instruments, Sharon, Mass.

* Sensotron will bring a new "Smart" melt-pressure transducer that uses an on-diaphragm RTD to apply EPROM temperature correction.

* GP:50 New York, Grand Island, N.Y., has a new option JJ on its model 211 transducer, offering quick (0.5-millisec) response for hydraulic-pressure measurement.

* New Temposonics TLS-P100 single-axis programmable limit switch from MTS Systems Corp., Research Triangle Park, N.C., is designed to replace standard limit switches on injection molding machines. It allows the operator to program setup parameters on-screen just once and recall them later as needed.

* The new Thinswitch limit switch from Burger Engineering, Inc., Olathe, Kans., is said to prevent costly mold damage by preventing the mold from closing for the next shot before the ejector plate has fully returned.

What to Look For

* More suppliers are offering CIM systems, some at very low cost.

* Full CIM monitoring features are now available in a stand-alone machine data terminal.

* Portable machine analyzers proliferate.

* MRP software packages add bar coding and EDI.

* Temperature controllers keep shrinking, use "fuzzy logic" to avoid overshoot.

* Pressure sensors eliminate mercury.
COPYRIGHT 1994 Gardner Publications, Inc.
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Copyright 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Special Show Preview: NPE '94; computer integrated manufacturing
Author:Gaspari, John De
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:May 1, 1994
Previous Article:Compounding & mixing.
Next Article:CAD & CAE.

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