Case study | Belgian automotive company

Industry 4.0 solutions for a Belgian automotive company

A JCommerce team, including JCommerce PLC and .NET developers, is creating new architecture for the assembly line control system for an automotive company to enable Industry 4.0 solutions.

Country:Belgium
Year:09.2017 - ongoing
Project scope:Creation of the scaled machine control architecture
Technologies:PLC, .Net

The challenge

The legacy control system currently used in the company is only managed by the person who created it 20 years ago. Handling the system, i.e. programming, location of errors, implementation of new models, or modifications, requires the operator to possess broad knowledge in various fields, such as IT, technological processing (e.g. welding), automation (PLC), and robotics, which causes problems with sourcing the appropriate professionals. This solution is also not very scalable – it's hard to transfer the legacy architecture to new machines or implement new models.

Goal of the project

The aim of the project is to create a universal, intelligible and easily scaled machine control architecture for assembly lines, which will additionally be open and easy to modify. The new architecture is being created to enable the implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions, such as:

  • production management from the supervisory control system,
  • sending complete information about the state of the machine,
  • fault prediction,
  • remote fault diagnosis,
  • the possibility of programming using process simulation tools.

Technology

The architecture will consist of:

  • the HMI (Human Machine Interface) application,
  • an application which generates tasks for the PLC (created in .Net technology),
  • PLC controllers (Beckhoff Twincat3),
  • an application which generates a program for robots (in .Net),
  • Panasonic and ABB robots.

Business benefits

By now, the team has created a Proof of Concept of the new architecture and launched it on the first assembly line to conduct testing and optimize the system. The software provided has so far:

  • shortened the time taken to turn on the machine, and demonstrated a partially redacted production downtime,
  • eliminated numerous errors and problems, which has allowed work machine time to increase by 10%, thus improving efficiency.

The expansion of the system to encompass the rest of the machines in the plant is in the planning stage, as is implementing new advanced solutions.

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