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Machine Control

Machine Control

Machine control plays an important role in system integration, improving operations and increasing productivity. There is no single solution for machine control, and so it is vital for those working on system integration to have the expertise to design and deliver custom solutions for every single scenario.

The experienced team at MESH Automation is in a perfect position to tailor the full range of automation control solutions, from simple to advanced, geared specifically for individual manufacturing needs.

Our team comprises experienced electrical engineers and technicians who are able to design systems that meet best-in-class standards, using numerous technologies and subsystems to make your machines function as a complete unit.

There are a number of elements that play a role in machine control including:

  1. Networking
  2. Hardware
  3. Safety
  4. Electrical design
  5. Software
  6. System testing

Networking for Machine Control

We generally use distributed control solutions with inputs and outputs localized near the point of operation for medium to large machines. This reduces wiring time and cost and also provides ease of troubleshooting due to local indications.

We utilize industry-standard networks such as Ethernet IP, Profinet, DeviceNet, Profibus, and AS-I; and we use Ethernet for human-machine interface (HMI) connectivity.

Hardware for Machine Control

MESH teams work closely with customers to choose the best hardware for each application. We review scalability, economics, communication capability, ease of troubleshooting and reliability. We often use Rockwell/Allen-Bradley, Siemens or Omron programmable logic controllers (PLCs) but are willing to adhere to customers’ specified brands or standards of hardware when required.

We also have considerable experience coupled with specialized expertise in PLC hardware and software retrofits reusing customers existing enclosures and wiring.

Safety for Machine Control Systems

MESH Automation engineers stay abreast of current safety standards to make sure these are incorporated into all of our designs. We only use industry-standard, safety-rated components in our machine control systems.

Safety relays, safety PLCs, or configurable safety controllers are used depending on the scale and functionality of the safety requirement.

Electrical design of Machine Control Systems

The MESH team uses AutoCad software to create the electrical schematics, panel layouts, communication layouts, device details, and cable-interconnect drawings for our control systems. We use the JIC or NFPA 79 standard of electrical schematics. This allows for organized, easy-to-follow, and flexible designs that work well with different hardware brands and platforms. It also makes troubleshooting easier for technicians.

All electrical designs are reviewed by senior MESH engineers, and released to customers at their request for review prior to manufacture.

During the manufacture and testing process, the drawings are marked up for any changes that occur, and a set of final, completed drawings are presented to customers at the end of projects.

Software Required for Machine Control

We use standard software templates for typical program structures such as alarming, sequencing, manual control, and communication. However, we are continuously developing these templates as we work with different hardware and software platforms to meet customers’ needs.

System Testing of Machine Control Systems

We test our control systems at various phases of development and are always ready to make improvements at any stage if these are needed. Typical testing procedures include:

  • Verification of machine control systems during the commissioning phase.
  • Verification of panel manufacture prior to installation on the machine.
  • Verification of field wiring connections during an input/output checkout.
  • Testing of alarms during the commissioning phase with additional alarms added to ease troubleshooting if needed.
  • Verification of machine manual operation and testing of automatic sequencing.

Machines are also run dry for numerous cycles and then tested with products to confirm proper operation and capability.

Machine control plays an important role in system integration, together with factory communication. If you’d like to know more, contact us for details.