Tier I Supplier Upgrades IMMS

Mitsubishi, wishing to overhaul its injection molding machines (IMMs) for bumpers, brought in Patti Engineering. As reported by Automation World, the Detroit-based company was charged with replacing Mitsubishi Electric A Series programmable logic controllers (PLCs) with Mitsubishi’s Melsec-Q Series PLCs. Patti Engineering also was to upgrade the machines’ human-machine interfaces (HMIs) to the InduSoft Web Studio platform. The HMI hardware was replaced, bumping up the processing speed to 64 bit and a Windows 7 operating system was installed.

Mitsubishi, a Tier 1 supplier, “wanted a retrofit of the controls, HMI software and machine components instead of buying three new injection molding machines,” said Joe Palace, senior electrical engineer at Patti Engineering.

There were four areas of concern: the main control panel, hot runner panel, shuttle-table panel and operator station. “Each machine has multiple HMI panels,” reports Automation World, “with one operator station for dedicated control and monitoring that uses serial communication (RS-485) to send and receive operational data from the main PLC. The operator station provides an added dual-output serial card in a PCI expansion slot.”

Embedded HMI software was removed and replaced with the InduSoft Web Studio that moves machine data quickly to IT-enterprise business platforms. The software platform gives the supplier more options, including thin-client capability, OPC UA built-in functionality, better graphics and Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) worksheets. With the ODBC worksheet, an operator can select the data needed from a specific production cell in an Excel workbook before importing it into a SQL server.