SCADA Improvement For Wastewater Treatment Facility

Project Summary Highlights:

Hardware/Software implemented:

  • Inductive Automation – Ignition HMI
  • Rockwell – CompactLogix PAC
  • Custom Control Panels

Key Improvements:

  • Obsolescence avoidance
  • Migration planning
  • Network design
  • PLC programming
  • HMI design
  • Reporting
  • Alarm management

A large public sewer authority, comprised of a wastewater treatment facility and 28 remote pumping stations, was using a legacy SCADA system with little visibility and central control of their system.  Only the remote pumping stations and a few critical plant flow signals were connected to the SCADA system.  The authority was aware of the expected remaining service life of the system, knew of the capabilities of present-day SCADA systems, and the new regulations required for their industry.  These needs had to be balanced against their budget.    PDA was consulted to provide a long-term solution that could help them achieve a balance.  Considering the limited budget available to the sewer authority, PDA provided a systematic approach to the upgrade, planning the work in phases.

Before improvements could begin, the sewer authority requested that a parallel control system be implemented.  This would provide the plant with consistent operation and ease learning of the new system until the legacy controls were all replaced.  To assist in the design, a tour and client workshop were arranged by PDA with a similar, successful project at a participating regional client.  This arrangement removed any reservations within the authority regarding the new SCADA application.  Sample HMI screens were built allowing the plant operators to gain experience with the conversion.

Overall, Phase One of the project went very smoothly.  Challenges on the project included harmonizing legacy and modern controllers and networks while limiting rework in future phases.  The remote sites currently are communicating through leased copper lines.  Although cellular was considered for future phases, the authority now plans on installing fiber to each remote site.  This will change the communications to Ethernet and will be able to connect each site directly to the SCADA system.  phases will include upgrading these to a consistent, industry-standard hardware, at which time a fiber-based network from a local service provider will be introduced.  PDA planned to ease the Authority into the changes, giving them exactly what they wanted, but minimizing scarring on the project.  Project scarring is most common when upgrades are phased. This means you must complete engineering to a certain level to achieve system functionality during a phase. The next phase may require rework from the first phase to continue advancements. This work is known as project scarring. PDA engineered the project phases to minimize the scarring while designing each phase to fit within a municipal’s budget constraints. This allows municipals to enhance their systems while making each phase financially manageable.

The next phase will involve the addition of Secondary Gate Actuators to be PLC controlled.  Presently to operate these gates someone has go to the blower building and physically open and close the gate.  These operations are major safety hazards due to some of the weather conditions involved and must be eliminated.   In addition, in this phase, PDA will also introduce more signals to the SCADA system in the plant which are currently not visible.  The New HMI (Ignition) screens will be created to show the same data found on the existing legacy screens.  To minimize project scarring, and to conserve budget, PDA will be able to use the same tags and registers in the SCADA screens.  Facility Managers have options when working with PDA regarding SCADA screens. They can choose to mirror the existing screens to minimize operator change management, redevelop the screens to a new templated-based screen development allowing for ease of implementation across a SCADA system, or adopt new standards such as High-Performance HMI visualization. Any option that is chosen will undergo a thorough review of the screens as they are developed in the new platform. PDA hosts HMI workshops that promote functionality checks and review with the municipality as the screens are being developed to ensure that all parties are satisfied with the look/feel of the screens. Overall, these solutions will provide a better (safer) work environment.

No technical roadblocks have been encountered in Phase Two.  The largest challenge was to adapt the scope of the phase to meet the Authority’s approved budget.  PDA led open and iterative planning sessions with the client to triage the highest priority items into the budget allotment.

Future phases will include the upgrade of the control systems at each of the 28 locations.  Also, the installed fiber communication will allow direct control from SCADA to any of these remote sites. Finally, the original alarming notification was very basic. There was one person on the call list and the information provided on the call-out was vague.  The person had to go to the plant to see what the alarm was before addressing it. Now with the alarms going through the Ignition call out, the person who is at the top of the roster gets the exact description of the alarm and can travel directly to the location instead of having to go to the plant to determine the issue. At the end of the projects, the Authority will have a single source of information for their entire operations.  All necessary operations and notifications will be visible to those who need it, when they need it.

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Digitalization Digest: Lines Configuration

A problem, facing a large beverage manufacturer, was the installed network operating at the plant, connecting the equipment on the production line.  The approach that had been adopted was a hodgepodge that had grown with the plant.  This resulted in the existence of multiple lines on a single network, an arrangement that worked for a while but clearly was not the best practice going forward. For instance, an obvious limitation was the availability of IP addresses and outages to several lines due to unrelated machine issues on the shared network.  New sub-networks were created to accommodate additional lines, but the problem remained in that the original network still serviced multiple different lines.

Process and Data Automation (PDA) was hired to reorganize the existing network and to isolate this equipment from other networks. This required PDA to work with the Client’s IT team to define the new architecture, installers to provide new media (creating a new physical network), and other OEMs to provide the client the correct hardware and programming to meet the client’s new corporate standards.

PDA engineers initially undertook a pre-planning phase, a type of network architecture overview.  The preplanning phase involved choosing and assigning IP addresses for each of the machine centers based on the new machine orientation.  PDA engineers worked with the key stakeholders (Client, contractors, and OEMs) to provide a roadmap leading from the singular, overlapping network to independent networks for the new, independent lines.  That the company intended to simultaneously move an entire network proved to be advantageous since it allowed the rearrangement of things.

The selection of IP addresses followed a pattern that was logical to the actual flow of the line, i.e., machines at the beginning of the line would go to the top of the IP address range.  Much of this work utilized an Excel spreadsheet and was done with the technical knowledge of what the IP addresses represented and how they were to be used.  PDA engineers went on site to use the new IP addresses that had been selected.  This involved accessing the machine centers to reconfigure them to use the new IP addresses.  This did require updating not only hardware addresses in network equipment-line network switches, PLCs, HMIs, and gateways. Machine logic for communications also needed to be updated as messages between machinery followed new paths. As needed to assist the Client in meeting its new standards hardware was replaced.  This resulted in the need to commission the new switches on this new network.

A significant challenge to the work arose from the fact that the company was completing physical changes to the line while PDA was disentangling the IP addresses.  For example, the equipment from one line was disassociated with its former line and reused on the second while needing to minimize downtime.  This interfered with the ability of PDA to focus on just one line, and it became necessary to consider both lines since changes were occurring simultaneously.  A further challenge arose with the changing of some switches, for which the available documentation did not match the actual reality.  It was found that for some older switches it was necessary to reset them before changes could be made.  PDA corrected the documentation where it was necessary, i.e., when it did not match reality, and labeled the equipment to simplify further work on the network.

PDA engineers successfully untangled the lines and networks, taking it all back to its’ roots and rebuilding to give better isolation between the systems.  The changes made by PDA have represented a significant improvement, providing reliability, and eliminating any dependency of one line upon another.  The operation of the machines has also improved.  From the standpoint of administration and management, the changes realized an improvement due to the clear separation of the lines.  Future upgrades would be to improve operator visibility, possibly deploying a comprehensive level package SCADA or MES.

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Process and Data Automation Welcome Krones’ Digitalization Expert, Doug Brooks, to the Team

 

January 2021 – Process and Data Automation (PDA) is excited to officially welcome Doug Brooks, MES Project Manager, to our team. Doug has spent the past five years building the Digitalization team for Krones and has worked with us at PDA since the integration of our two companies. Having him on the PDA team full-time will benefit our clients greatly and we are thrilled to have him with us.

While at Krones, Doug was involved in every aspect of the Digitalization efforts, from pre-sales all the way through Post Go-Live support. Prior to Krones, he spent 12 years as an ERP Consultant/Project Manager with a software company (partnered with Sage Software) based in the Charlotte area. He oversaw projects including Financials, Manufacturing, Warehouse Automation, MRP, Point of Sale, Inventory Control, and Supply Chain Management. They did not have MES software, so making the move to Krones was an opportunity for growth.

PDA President, Jeremy Anderson shared, “Doug has been part of our extended workbench since our integration into the Network of Krones. His professionalism and client-first focus are a perfect fit with PDA’s culture.  While the extended workbench philosophy was good, having Doug as a direct employee is better as this allows for tighter control of projects that Doug will manage and provide him (and ultimately the customer) better access to our entire team.”

When asked what the driving force was for coming to PDA was, Doug replied, “The original plan was to build a Digitalization team within Krones, Inc, however the acquisition of PDA changed that approach overnight.  I was the lone person remaining in the KINC Digitalization group, so it just made sense to move over to the PDA side of the House of Krones. The vast majority of the MES projects and support that I have worked on in the past few years has been with PDA team members, so I felt very comfortable in making the move from a personal and professional standpoint.”

And what is Doug looking forward to most with PDA and transitioning from Krones?  “When I was hired by Krones, the only other person on the Digitalization team was a salesman.  Since we were a new group within Krones, they didn’t have a defined place on the organization chart for us, so they attached me to the New Machine Sales group alongside my counterpart salesman. Although I met a lot of great people and learned a lot about the sales process, I was always a fish out of water in the sales meetings, conferences, etc. simply because the work I was doing was so vastly different than the other members of the NMS group. By moving to PDA, I am now part of a team of like-minded people all driving in the same direction to get projects completed and satisfy our customers.”, Doug said.

We look forward to working with Doug and building a stronger team for our clients with his expertise.

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Optimize Production Operations with Share2Act

Digitalization is revolutionizing the world. Share2Act is revolutionizing the beverage industry and rendering its production operations intelligent and efficient. Share2Act networks staff, machines, and IT systems, and is thus the ideal open platform for applications and analyses.

Share2Act is a social media platform developed specifically for companies in the food and beverage industries. It networks all the people, machines, and IT systems involved in the production process – and thus gets us a whole lot closer to our goal: you see, the app enables procedures to be streamlined, communication paths shortened, and downtimes reduced. It groups together all a plant’s information on a central interactive platform. From automatically generated production data to empirical feedback from the staff, a huge array of different contents can be imaged, exchanged, discussed, and jointly edited.

Share2Act networks staff, machines, and dietary systems and is thus the ideal open platform for applications and analyses. All the systems connected can access a comprehensive base of data, which are aggregated and computed using edge devices. Machines and lines can be linked together irrespective of the manufacturer involved, and already existing IT systems integrated through interfaces. Thanks to the modularized structure of Share2Act, the various services involved can be individually and flexibly put together to suit the production requirements concerned. The aim is to cut costs and upgrade quality and productivity. This is accomplished using data-driven decision making, mathematical models that run in the background, and on-the-basis of data to help to make the right decisions. Thus, the user automatically receives information specifically tailored to his/her job precisely when he/she needs it.

In shift operation, for example, by utilizing Share2Act, an operator comes to work and uses his/her terminal to log on to the platform. The shift manager can see in Share2Act which operators are available and allocate tasks accordingly. The shift manager can then monitor the entire integrated production operation using the live visualization feature in Share2Act. The operator sees his/her allocated tasks immediately on the dashboard. On the dashboard and in the timelines of the machines, the operator can also check everything that happened in the previous shift.

Tasks are also generated by the machines themselves, not just from maintenance intervals and error messages. In addition, the machines can output maintenance tasks themselves, which are then assigned to the operator either automatically or by the shift manager. The maintenance tasks are supplemented by SOPs, which describe step-by-step instructions on how the preventative maintenance routine must be carried out. If the operator cannot carry out the maintenance routine himself, he/she can use smart glasses for live support from the machinery manufacturer’s service team. The completed maintenance of the machine is then posted automatically in the timeline and the shift manager is informed by a push notification.

Additional tasks can be scheduled in the calendar, enabling all staff to see what task is currently being performed. After each shift, a shift report is created automatically, which the shift manager can view at will. By using Share2Act, the managers and operators can significantly optimize everyday production operations!

To review more of the features and benefits of Share2Act click HERE.

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Meet Our Newest Engineer, Mr. Geoffrey Sanko

Process and Data Automation (PDA) is proud to introduce you to our newest Engineer, Geoffrey Sanko. Geoff brings nearly 10 years of skill and experience with him making him a great addition to the PDA team.

PDA’s Vice President, Tim Andrews, shared his enthusiasm by saying, “I am very excited to have a person of Geoff’s attitude and talents join our PDA family. Along with his positive attitude and great personality, Geoff has nearly 10 years of experience in engineering, design, and project management. With his experience and skillset, Geoff will make an immediate impact at PDA and in servicing our clients.”

Geoff has both a BA in Economics and a BS in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from Penn State Behrend. His previous employment has included working for RoviSys as a System Integrator and for Great Lakes Automation Services as an Assembly and Inspection Machine Builder.

Geoff is excited to be back in the Erie area as both and his wife are from the area and knew that this was where they wanted to raise a family. He shared, “My wife and I both grew up in Erie. After moving away, we came to miss everything you take for granted while living here. We really wanted to start our family here in Erie, and the opportunity from PDA came at the perfect time. PDA offered a stimulating work environment as well as allowing for the work-life balance, which allows us to enjoy coming back to this area.”

When asked about why he is excited to work at PDA he said, “I am excited to continue growing as a project manager and as an engineer. In today’s technology-driven society, if you are not always pushing yourself to learn and do more, then you are falling behind. PDA also services a wide breadth of customers, and each customer has unique products and systems. Each new site is like experiencing a new episode of How It’s Made.”

Join us in welcoming Geoff to the team!

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Process and Data Automation, a Member of the KRONES Group is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm while being Krones’ North American Industrial IT Provider and SYSKRON’s execution arm. PDA’s Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. PDA also features a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

 

 

 

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Process and Data Automation Announce a New Vice President of Operations

June 22, 2020 – Process and Data Automation (PDA) is proud to announce that Jeremy Anderson has been promoted to Vice President of Operations. This is a newly created position in the company and Jeremy will be the perfect inaugural leader to help blaze this new trail.

When asked why Jeremy was the right fit for this new role, Process and Data President, Joe Snyder shared this, “Jeremy has been a pivotal figure for most Process and Data Automation clients as established in his prior roles as Outside Sales and later as Service Manager. The ability to make and maintain relationships while driving positive change inside of Process and Data Automation are characteristics that we felt were keys to success as we expanded to this role. These traits, along with Jeremy’s general business acumen and desire to deliver successful results for clients, made the decision obvious that he was the correct person for this position.”

Jeremy has been a member of the PDA team for 10+ years. In that time, he has worked as a Sales Engineer, Project Manager, and most recently, the Service Manager. He has excelled in all these positions and they have given him a deep understanding of how the operation works best at PDA. Prior to joining the team at PDA, he was an Industrial Control Specialist at Erie Bearings Co.

Excited about his new role, Jeremy confided, “Having been fortunate enough to work closely with everyone here at PDA has been one of the best experiences of my career. It has helped me develop a deep appreciation for the entire PDA team, our staff, our clients, and all of the other external partners. My goal in this new position is to strengthen those bonds and continue to assist in the growth of this company and our people.”

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About Process and Data Automation:

Process and Data Automation, a Member of the KRONES Group is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm while being Krones’ North American Industrial IT Provider and SYSKRON’s execution arm. PDA’s Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. PDA also features a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

 

 

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Digitalization Digest: Upgrade to a Food & Beverage Plant

The next entry in our Digitalization Digest, articles and thoughts regarding manufacturing plant digitalization, focuses on a project for an international manufacturer of private label food and beverages across North America and Italy for retail grocery, food service, and industrial customers.

Limited production capacity, due in part to an obsolescent network within the plant, had become a major problem. Process and Data Automation (PDA) commissioned and tested the production equipment, as well as evaluated and programmed the control network which included PLC and HMI work. During the evaluation step, it was established that the existing pumps in the plant and their VFD controls were unable to meet production needs and should be replaced. In addition, the existing controls operated on DeviceNet, a system that the plant had already decided to phase out, represented a further limitation.

PDA recommended the installation of an Ethernet control system with retention and careful use of the existing legacy PLC processor. Upon further discussion and evaluation, it was then determined that network evaluation, together with a segregation strategy, was essential to ensure that the increased traffic from the new equipment would not interfere with other operations in the plant. PDA provided the engineering and hardware for the PLC programming to integrate two new SPXFlow Universal TS series pumps and replace two Powerflex 40 drives with Powerflex 525 drives.

During the project, problems associated with merging new technologies with the aging infrastructure were successfully overcome by being able to provide the plant with a more modular system, as well as the capability to meet the production demands.  Also, by using the approach of retaining functional legacy equipment, the overall cost of the project was significantly reduced.

Overall, the changes to the plant simply represented an upgrade to the existing processing system and replacement of the older controls that had operated at a lower feed rate. The new equipment provided enhanced diagnostic capabilities that allow both tracking and recovery of data. PDA discussed with the client the need for future improvements in the plant, including:

  • Upgrading the obsolete PLCs
  • Line Diagnostics/OEE
  • Network migration (DeviceNet to Ethernet) for the remaining legacy equipment

PDA is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm. The Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. PDA also features a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

Read More | Posted In: Digitalization Digest, News

Application Story: Upgrade of a Brewhouse Control System

The project was completed at the facilities of the Founders Brewing Company, with headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a globally recognized brewing company, and one of the top 10 largest craft brewers in the US. According to Alec Mull, Vice President of Brewing Operations at Founders Brewing, the project was critical, “As we grew and matured as a brewery, it was important for us to decrease our digital risk and increase our security and reliability of our most important software and network.” Alec went on to say that, “Virtualization, though not common among our brewing peers, was developed and implemented with a cooperative between our brilliant Founders OT/IT teams, the great brewing minds at Krones, and the incredible people at PDA. This project, though challenging, was handled with the utmost skill and professionalism, culminating in an outcome we are all proud of. Hats off to our colleagues at Krones and PDA for executing this exciting improvement.”

The project consisted of two isolated brewing control systems, referred to as “Gigantor” and “CombiCube” were operating at the facility, the first with a BOTEC F1 License installed on two redundant servers and four clients. The second system is operating with a BOTEC Classic license installed on one server.

The upgrade would involve combining the two systems to allow an operator to control any portion, according to security credentials, from any HMI in the plant. This required merging the equipment and software currently used on the Gigantor process control system with that of the CombiCube control system. To achieve this merger, it was necessary to create a system with two redundant virtual server pairs in separate locations with a virtual SQL Server and several client machines.

The project involves three phases (with the third to be completed in 2021):      

  1. Implementation of a virtualized system, BOTEC process data servers, and a SQL server to reduce risk.
  2. Upgrade from BOTEC Classic to BOTEC F1 and merge applications. The brewhouse has been running on BOTEC Classic, operating on an unsupported system without a backup for that system. By upgrading to BOTEC F1 (which is in use at the company’s larger brewhouse) and merging into one cohesive system, the brewers were able to control multiple areas of the facility (such as the 300 bbl and 80 bbl brewhouses, or the cellar) from any of the server stations and/or client screens.
  3. Upgrade the visualization system (to be completed 2021) from Iltis V2 to Iltis WPF. The former is an older version of visualization and is not supported for new features on the BOTEC roadmap. In contrast, Iltis WPF uses open format Windows standards and incorporates enhanced features related to trending, screen manipulation, and troubleshooting issues.

The first phase provided several advantages, migrating the process data server and SQL server to a virtual machine, to:

  • Reduce the time required the recover from hardware failures
  • Allow periodic backup of the virtual machines
  • Split the load across multiple servers thus reducing redundancy
  • Create a system that is controllable from any server location

The upgrade from BOTEC Classic to BOTEC F1 and merger of the applications effectively replaced an obsolete product, as well as providing the capability to control all the systems from anywhere in the plant.

In the future, upgrading from Iltis V2 to Iltis WPF will add new features, together with the ability to add improvements as they may be developed. This approach will bring all the automated brewhouses to the same visual system giving the brewers more familiarity with all the brewhouses.

The most difficult part of the project was the coordination of available downtime in the brewhouse with completing the changeover from a physical server configuration to virtual. With only a short window of time available, this changeover was successfully completed without any unexpected impact on the brewing schedule. This represented a substantial amount of work, being completed in a single shift of downtime.

Data from the Combicube brewhouse is now recorded in the same way as that for the larger (Gigantor) brewhouse and the SQL database, which includes recipes, is backed up daily. The system, completely reprogrammed to function with BOTEC F1, operates as it did previously but now includes the added features of BOTEC F1. Upgraded development programs from Krones for both BOTEC F1 and the visualization system may be implemented in the future.

When asked about the project, Eric Williams, Project Lead at Process and Data Automation said, “It was a real pleasure to work with the Founders team in executing these upgrades.  We had the opportunity to work with everyone from Admin to the key team members of the IT/OT group and brewers, all of whom worked diligently to support our endeavors towards the upgrade and were eager to accept the system once implemented.

The virtualization portion of the project was only to be considered a success if completed within the downtime window and without notice by the brewers.  We totally changed the back end of the system and brought the brewhouse back online after only one shift.  The brewers were back to crafting delicious brews without our assistance that evening, I am very proud of this successful project.

The Combicube was taken down for only one week.  We worked closely with the Founders technicians and brewers to completely recommission the brewhouse.  Due to solid planning, tight coordination of all involved, and the team’s dedication we were running CIPs by the third day and water brews by the fourth.  As planned, the brewhouse was back to running production brews with only minor parameter tweaks required the following week.” 

According to Alec Mull, “Our road to a more consistent and automated brewing process started in 2011 with our first Krones/Steinecker brewhouse operating under the BOTEC Classic program. It was an incredible improvement for us in technology that helped us to further develop world-class beers that were even more consistent and reliable. A few years later in 2015, the world demanded even more Founders beer, and our obvious choice was to once again lean on the experts at Krones to build us a world-class customized brewhouse and cellar, though this time operating BOTEC F1. Our team found tremendous value in this updated software, so we reached out to PDA to execute an upgrade of our BOTEC Classic to F1. While this sounds easy, it was clearly a large project, as we needed to execute this upgrade and virtualization simultaneously due to brewing demand. I am amazed at the skill and professionalism of our colleagues at PDA, who seamlessly integrated this software upgrade and virtualization project with minimal downtime. We didn’t miss a beat, and we really appreciate the opportunity to work with PDA and Krones on these exciting upgrades.”

Download this Application Story HERE!

About Founders Brewing

Founders Brewing Co is one of the top 10 largest craft brewers in the US with global recognition for many of their quality beers. Founders Brewing Co. has evolved into one of the highest recognized breweries in the United States. They have been ranked in the top breweries in the world by Ratebeer.com for the last five years, and have several beers listed in the top 100 beers of the world on Beeradvocate.com. Founders Brewing is now among the top ten largest craft breweries in the country and considered one of the fastest-growing.

About Process and Data Automation

Process and Data Automation (PDA) is Krones’ North American Industrial IT Provider and SYSKRON’s Execution Arm. PDA is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm. The Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. PDA also features a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

 

 

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Process and Data Automation Announces Vice President’s Retirement and Replacement

April 28, 2020 — After 17 years helping to build Process and Data Automation (PDA) into the company it is today, Vice President and Co-founder, Michael Benedict, is announcing his retirement beginning May 1st, 2020. From humble beginnings in 2002, PDA President Joe Snyder and Mike began building a company with a solid reputation of professional solutions and promises delivered.

Mike shared, “Over the years of growing this company we have had a great time mentoring many to have successful careers in the automation field.  That is what I will miss the most. Automation is a field in which one will never get bored and will always be challenged. I look forward to reports of continued Process and Data Automation success and great customer satisfaction.”

Mike’s retirement plans include motorhome travel, more time with his grandchildren, fishing, camping, hunting, and some overseas adventures. Everyone at PDA will miss him and looks forward to hearing about his new retirement lifestyle.

Filling Mike’s position will be PDA’s current Electrical Engineering Manager, Tim Andrews. Tim, a Penn State Electrical Engineering graduate, joined PDA in 2004. In his first 16 years with the company, he has honed his engineering skills, built lasting internal and external relationships, sharpened his project management talents, and become part of the management team leading PDA through constant growth. In his new role as Vice President of Engineering, he will be an important part of PDA’s future development.

“I truly cannot wait to lead and work alongside our talented staff into the future of factory automation”, Tim said. “The needs of our current and future clients will continue to require bringing cutting edge technology to the factory floor, and PDA will remain a leader in delivering these solutions. I am ready to get started on this next chapter in my career and help the gifted PDA team provide the best solutions to our clients.”

About Process and Data Automation:

Process and Data Automation, a Member of the KRONES Group is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm while being Krones’ North American Industrial IT Provider and SYSKRON’s execution arm. PDA’s Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. PDA also features a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

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PDA Lends Expertise to Conveyor Controls Project

Process and Data Automation (PDA) provided engineering expertise for a conveyor controls project at a beverage company based in the Great Lakes region. This expertise was directed at the design and implementation of new programming of the OEM and plant provided PLC, HMI and motor controls in order to integrate the plant’s existing processing systems and conveyors into a new line configuration with OEM controls. The client requested that the motors be controlled by new Allen-Bradley Power Flex 525 Series VFDs communicating via ethernet, within new control panels designed and built by Krones Inc.

The engineering group at PDA provided the labor necessary to write the controls code that was integrated with the PLC supplied by Krones. While the PLC and HMI code was what the project required, what was necessary was this and additional, engineering for the final design and project administration to incorporate the needs of both client and OEM.

The project was organized for PDA to provide engineering to coordinate and control the existing conveyor and machine centers that were necessary for the operation of the bottling line, and where the existing centers had not been upgraded. This involved blending equipment from multiple manufacturers into a functioning system, coordinating installation, start-up and runout testing between multiple trades. In addition, PDA acted as a resource to both the equipment supplier and the end-client to triage and resolve issues that were outside the scope of one single party. This role was essential in this project because PDA acted as the glue or connection between the new machine centers provided by Krones, and the original hardware installed in the plant. The involvement of PDA allowed the other parties to focus on their core responsibilities.

The solution provided by PDA has led to increased throughput, a more modular system, and reduced project costs. The integration of the OEE data from the machine centers into the line information system (LIS) now allows data to be readily obtained or tracked by the end-client.

Future upgrades the end client is considering are:

  • Line Balancing
  • Control Zoning (currently there is only one zone)
  • Line Diagnostics LD
  • Line Management Systems LMS

 

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