EXTRUSION: Line Control Has Industry 4.0 Features

Fulfills future requirements for connectivity with servers and mobile appliances

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The BCtouch UX is a new extrusion control platform from Battenfeld-Cincinnati USA, McPherson, Kan., that supports efficient production planning and preventive maintenance intervals, and fulfills future requirements for connectivity with servers and mobile appliances. In this way, it also provides the prerequisites for comprehensive process data acquisition and evaluation, and for vertical integration according to the Industry 4.0 concept, the supplier says.

A modern user interface recalls familiar operating concepts of tablets or cell phones and offers multi-touch zoom as well as move and slide functions. In addition to the central operating terminal, additional terminals can be integrated without any problems along the line. Thanks to a new type of cockpit view, the process status of the entire line can be viewed at a glance. The design of the overview page and the navigation through the menu are derived directly from the line configuration.

Additional features of the new operating terminal are the RFID access control system, which enables easy identification by chip card, and a context-sensitive help system.

All process parameters are monitored centrally. This enables line operators not only to carry out energy monitoring, but to calculate energy diagrams over time and on the basis of freely selectable production parameters as well. This, in turn, makes it possible to find an operating point where the line can be run with optimal resource efficiency in terms of both material and energy consumption. Since maintenance intervals for all line components are recorded in the control system, it supports the necessary preventive maintenance actions, thus increasing line uptime and consequently overall efficiency.

The control system’s facilities for communicating with other units, generally described as connectivity, all line and process parameters included and evaluated in the system can be centrally tapped by an ERP system.