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NPE Newsfinder: Control and Monitoring



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Visitors to NPE can get a taste of how the Internet will serve as a gateway connecting processors to their process or linking customers to their orders. Five exhibitors are rolling out “web-enabled” monitoring and management software that is accessible from anywhere via a web browser. Some of these web products do not even require installing any software.

In addition, there are several new control systems for molding and extrusion machinery, a host of hot-runner control entries, and several other new developments in temperature, pressure, and position control.


Managing on the Web

The anywhere/anytime ability of the Internet is being utilized by the newest production-management software to provide customer services such as price quoting or order tracking on-line. In Chicago, Data Technical Research (DTR) Software International, Jacksonville, Fla., will roll out two new enhancements for its Manufacturing Manager software package. One is a business-to-business e-commerce module that allows users to place orders and receive real-time order-status and delivery information via the Internet. Second, users can take advantage of the Internet to access the Manufacturing Manager program on DTR’s own server. That eliminates the user’s costs of buying a server and purchasing, installing, and maintaining the software.

Mascon of Schaumburg, Ill., is also offering a new web-based version of its job-estimating and quoting software. It not only allows molders to generate sales quotes from anywhere in the world, but the system runs on Mascon’s own server rather than on the user’s office system. Mascon will also present new Internet-based customer-service and order-management modules for the AIMS ERP system.

Use of the Internet and a standard web browser to view plant performance data from anywhere is the function of Web Reports, a new software module for the Shotscope process and production monitoring system from Branden Technologies Inc., Wilsonville, Ore. The server-based software runs under Windows NT. Reports encompass plant status, production summaries, downtime details, and scrap itemization. Data on jobs, machines, work shifts, tools, and parts can be accessed.

American MSI Corp., Moorpark, Calif., is expanding beyond hot-runner controls to introduce MSI Cell-Net, which provides Internet access to all devices within a manufacturing cell.

IQ Management Systems Inc. (IQMS), Paso Robles, Calif., will show enhancements to its IQWin32 version 3.0 Enterprise Suite ERP software. One new feature is web-enabled capability for its customer self-service module, IQWebDirect. With this option, IQWin32 users can manage orders; check inventory, production and shipping status; verify payments; and check quality data on-line.

Other IQMS developments include the new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) module, which integrates quoting, order tracking, call tracking, and activity management. The new Executive Information Summary for IQWin32 gives quick access to plant-floor data and financial information. IQWin32 also was recently integrated with financial-reporting and analysis software from the Denver firm FRx Software. New IQForecast helps project plant throughput and resource requirements. IQAlert, an e-mail enabled electronic notification/reminder module, alerts you to events that require attention, like a drop in inventory below a preset level.

One On One Computer Services Inc., Toronto, will introduce its Recovered Inventory & Materials Management (RIMMS) software. It manages inventory and manufacturing for material recyclers.

FullMetrics Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn. (formerly Nicollet Process Engineering), will roll out its updated Production & Process Management System with several new features, including web-based reports, “on-demand” training at the machine, trend alarming, barcode labeling, lot tracking, and archiving of shot profiles. FullMetrics also has updated its DirectConnect machine analyzer with improved portability and enhanced signal conditioning.

In addition, FullMetrics is introducing integration between shop-floor monitoring and ERP-type (enterprise resource planning) corporate management software from Hyperion Solutions Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif. FullMetrics is offering Hyperion’s Activity Based Management (ABM) and Performance Measurement analytical software packages. Hyperion ABM bundles activity-based costing with capacity planning, constraint checking, and scenario planning. Performance Measurement software is a means of comparing business goals—however the user defines them—with actual achievement by means of spreadsheets and color-coded icons.

Three firms have enhanced their plant-wide monitoring systems. RJG Inc., Traverse City, Mich., will introduce its new eDART plant monitoring and analysis system, DartPro production reporting software package, and Molding Assistant process-monitoring software.

New EPM Series Release 5.2 monitoring system from Mattec Corp., Loveland, Ohio, has enhanced real-time screen displays and data import/export capability, plus material lot tracking and complete part-identification software.

Mattec is also introducing touchscreen controls for its Pro-Help Millennium machine-interface unit and will show new software for parts identification and material lot tracing.

Syscon-Plantstar, South Bend, Ind., will introduce the latest releases of Panorama and Portrait series production and process-monitoring systems, which include new labor-tracking and forecasting software, as well as integration with stand-alone systems for manufacturing resource planning (MRP), enterprise resource planning (ERP), document control, and quality control.

Total automation is the focus of the new Smart Maintenance Alert system from Hunkar Laboratories Inc., Cincinnati. It detects process problems in molding machines before bad parts can be made. The unit automatically alerts personnel and suggests solutions and maintenance priorities. The turnkey system requires no client programming or computer knowledge.

Hunkar will also show its new Smart Maintenance Module that helps automatically schedule machine and mold maintenance. It can also recommend another machine suitable for a job if the preferred press is down or its performance has degraded to a point where it should no longer run a certain tool. Hunkar will also roll out a new version of its Portable Machine Analyzer.

Bear Technologies Inc., Rochester, N.Y,. will display a new Windows version of its Tracker process-monitoring system.


New machine controls

Barber-Colman Co. and Eurotherm Controls, both in Reston, Va., have come out with a host of new developments. First on the list is a series of new PC-based operator stations for injection and blow molding and extrusion. They’re marketed as the MACO DS series by Barber-Colman and EM3 by Eurotherm. They come with various monochrome and color displays. Their most important features are the ease of user configuration of displays and their distributed architecture. They replace the now discontinued MACO 8000 system and supplement the MACO 4000, 5000, and 6000 rack-based systems. According to company sources, distributed architecture lowers installed cost by reducing the amount of wiring. Also, wiring directly to the I/O, eliminating terminal strips, reportedly minimizes chances of misconnections or lost connections.

Also, Barber-Colman and Eurotherm have come out with several new network-ready controllers, including two Series 2000 PID temperature controllers and a melt-pressure control with new capabilities for Modbus RTU, Profibus DP, or DeviceNet communications.

Allen-Bradley Co., Mayfield Heights, Ohio, will introduce the RS View 32 operator interface for use with its ProSet 200 injection machine controller. It provides SPC/SQC data at the machine in real time. Other new injection machine controls include the following:

North American introduction of the PC-based Unilog B4 system from Battenfeld of America, West Warwick, R.I. It provides SPC statistics and remote diagnostics via modem as standard.

Low-cost E500 retrofit controller (Barber-Colman platform) from Epco LLC, Fremont, Ohio.

HALC (Hettinga Advanced-Level Control) from Hettinga Technologies, Inc., Des Moines, Iowa.

Cavity-pressure control at lower cost from Dynisco Instruments, Sharon, Mass. It graphically displays two process pressures and compares curves for set vs. actual values.

New 32-bit MC4 control standard on presses from Krauss-Maffei Corp., Florence, Ky. Machine-mounted flat-panel display shows pressure curves, a resin encyclopedia, troubleshooting guides, and SPC.

Mirai controller from Moog Inc., East Aurora, N.Y. It includes new fuzzy-logic automatic adjustment of velocity/pressure transfer.

Control packages for injection and blow molding, extrusion, and thermoforming from Siemens Energy & Automation, Alpharetta, Ga. They include temperature and pressure control for hydraulic or all-electric machines.

New SmartSet retrofit machine controls from Solid Controls, Inc., Hopkins, Minn.

CPK-3 closed-loop fill/pack/hold control from RJG. It’s based on the Allen-Bradley SCC 500 plus a graphical touchscreen. RJG has also introduced the SLC DART card, which accepts inputs of mold or hydraulic pressure or screw position and controls velocity/pressure transfer.

Injection-press motion controllers and blow molding parison controllers from Delta Computer Systems Inc., Vancouver, Wash. Both are designed for Allen-Bradley’s Control Logix PLC.

SKM-M portable clamp-force-measuring system from Baumer Sensopress (formerly Schlaeper Sensors Ltd.) of Zurich, Switzerland. The firm will also show a new mold-protection sensor and amplifier system that detect objects between mold halves.

For blow molding, Moog is showing the new ParCon parison programmer, and Barber-Colman has a 100-point parison programmer and Windows-based display on its new MACO DS controller.


Hot-runner controls

New hot-runner controls will be out in force:

Q-Star controller from ALBA Enterprises Inc., Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., has a touchscreen monitor and up to 250 zones.

Phoenix hot-runner controls are new from American MSI.

Caco Pacific Corp., Covina, Calif., is bringing its new Interactive Process Manager, which mounts right on the mold, eliminating cumbersome cables (PT, Dec. ’99, p. 27).

Three new temperature controllers come from D-M-E Co., Madison Heights, Mich. Its second-generation Smart Series SSM-15-02 module has simultaneous display of setpoint and temperature, “Auto % Power” display, and “bumpless transfer” to keep running when a thermocouple fails. New TAS-05-12/11 temperature/alarm accessory module provides visual/audible alarm indication for 63 zones. D-M-E’s SSH-10-12 single-zone PID temperature controller has also been updated.

Fast Heat Inc., Elmhurst, Ill., is bringing out the Pulse autotuning controller, which has “hot-swappable” modules, storage for 10 set-ups, and graphical display of 24 zones at a glance.

Gammaflux L.P., Sterling, Va., will introduce new Mercury software for its 9500 Series controls that speeds controller start-up and allows the operator to begin programming right away. It also allows the user to add or subtract control features, and it can now graph the last 100 shots. Gammaflux has also added an amperage display to its GLC 2k controller for up to 36 zones. (The latter unit is also sold by Husky Injection Molding Systems, Inc., Bolton, Ont., as the GLC 2000 controller.)

The Temp-Master controller with two to nine zones is being introduced jointly by Mold-Masters Ltd., Georgetown, Ont., and Hasco-Internorm Corp. West, Chatsworth, Calif. It offers PID control and digital communications at a modest price.

Orycon Control Technology Inc., Ocean, N.J., will introduce the PCI-980 Windows-based PC operator interface for its recently introduced 980 Series fuzzy-logic controller. PCI-980 can control up to 120 zones. It comes with a digital camera, so pictures of parts can be saved on the PC together with set-up and QC instructions.

From P.E.T.S., Auburn Hills, Mich., come modular controls that are expandable in units of 12 zones.

Powertech Components, Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., is introducing Powerframe junction boxes, designed for easy wiring maintenance on large numbers of zones, and Micro junction boxes for just one or two zones.


More controls & sensors

Balluff Inc., Florence, Ky., will bring out its Micropulse non-contact, magnetorestrictive linear position sensor with ±0.02% linearity and sub-milli-second update time. It is a drop-in upgrade for potentiometers on injection machines. Also new is the BTM-A module, which provides four channels of position feedback from one transducer.

Dynisco Instruments will unveil its IPX II series pressure transmitter with temperature compensation, piezoelectric cavity-pressure sensors, and its first tiebar strain ring. Also new is a long-lasting injection nozzle pressure transducer that withstands 800 F.

Gentran of Fremont, Calif., will display its new GT791 and GT792 melt-pressure and temperature transducers, said to give accuracy of 1.0% and repeatability of ±1% of full scale.

Syscon-RKC, South Bend, Ind., will show its new SA200 1/32 DIN temperature controller with autotuning, heat/cool control, and Modbus communications. It will also introduce new features on the Farex SR Mini HG multi-zone controller, such as touchscreen display of temperature and PLC sequence variables.

Watlow Electric Manufacturing Co., St. Louis, is introducing a PPC-2040 digital I/O module for its PPC-2000 multi-loop PID controller. Watlow also upgraded its PPC-2000 controller with cascade and ratio control.

A new fuzzy-logic temperature controller is coming to the show from Control & Measurement International, Delray Beach, Fla. It features a new universal output, which allows one stock unit to be used in all applications.

Shinko of America, Aptos, Calif., will show its new C Series multi-channel temperature controls with up to 320 zones and host-computer link. Shinko will also introduce a 1/32 DIN controller with one alarm.

Omega-Newport, Santa Ana, Calif., will show its new iSeries temperature/process controls in 1/8 DIN, 1/16 DIN, and 1/32 DIN sizes.

Pyromation Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind., will present its new 402 series programmable temperature transmitter for RTD and thermocouple inputs.

Micropulse is a new non-contact, magnetorestrictive linear position sensor from Balluff that is a drop-in upgrade for potentiometers on injection machines.

New Model C Series multi-channel temperature controller from Shinko of America provides up to 320 points of control.


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