One of the key functions of system integration is to improve and optimize factory communications.
MESH Automation implements plant-wide data and control systems that incorporate programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Depending on the application, multiple PLCs or a single PLC with distributed input/output systems may be used. We focus on three main areas of functionality:
- Data archiving
System Integration to Improve Networking
MESH designs machine-level control systems so that they are scalable and can interface with a plant-wide network. We also implement systems where machine-level controls are already in place that will poll the existing PLCs for key performance indicators (KPI) data.
We use industry-standard networks such as Ethernet IP, Profinet, DeviceNet, Profibus, and AS-I; and Ethernet for human-machine interface (HMI) connectivity. We also implement serial communication to devices with a native communication interface.
PLCs typically perform peer-to-peer communication to transfer critical data and equipment status in a plant-wide control scheme, and we can develop “gateways” that translate protocols and allow different brands of PLCs to communicate.
We typically isolate the control-level network from the facility business LAN to reduce the office network data from the control level network.
System Integration to Enable Data Archiving
MESH uses server-class PCs to collect and store data that is provided from the machine level PLCs.
Typically the data is stored in a relational database such as MS SQL. The database is an open architecture storage location that can be accessed by many third party applications or by a reporting system that we design to meet customers’ needs.
System Integration to Optimize Reporting Capabilities
Once valuable machine productivity data has been collected from the PLCs and stored in a database, the data can be analyzed and queried by any compatible application.
Typically, the raw data is meaningless to production personnel unless the data is filtered and presented in an organized format. For this reason, we create custom graphical user interfaces (GUI) that allow a user the opportunity to query the stored data and generate reports. These reports may be generated on a shift, daily, monthly, or annual basis and the results filtered by users.
At MESH, we understand that each customer has different requirements. That is why all of the factory communication applications we generate are custom-tailored to each customer’s needs. Contact us to see what we can offer your manufacturing operation.