Industry 4.0 is gradually becoming a reality and manufacturers are actively transforming their production process into intelligent manufacturing systems by leveraging Information Technology (IT) and Operations Technology (OT). The main concept of Industry 4.0 is to realize transparent vertical and horizontal integration from the production line to management level so as to increase productivity and efficiency. In other words, the resources available throughout the entire production process must be digitalized and networked so that they can be visible and completely availability.
China's Yutong Bus Group is a large-scale manufacturing company. It's enterprise scale and sales performance continuously ranks first in the nation's bus industry and its bus products are exported to more than a hundred countries and regions. In order to improve the manufacturing process and carry out the transparent production control, the company planned to upgrade the existing manufacturing floor into an advanced and efficient factory. In addition to using MES as the production management system, it was also necessary to adopt panel PCs as the HMI and to establish network communication in the manufacturing site. Due to stability, the IT department of this company excluded commercial computers and decided to choose the industrial product which has the advantages of high-performance and low failure rates. The factory is a complex and harsh environment, so this project required providing different kinds of panel computers and rugged features for different machine uses, offering wired and wireless network devices to create a complete communication link and the related modules to acquire peripheral data. Therefore, to ensure the stability, the system integrator used industrial grade wireless devices with wider network coverage and higher power output.
The hardware had to be small and robust enough to survive in the harsh factory environment. It was also essential that there wouldn't be any breakdown in communication between the LGV and the control room. For the purposes of collecting information about on-site equipment, the HMI total solution included the customer's required products to achieve the optimal production control and management.
Two models of panel computers, the TPC-1551T and the TPC-1581WP were selected as the on-site terminals. The TPC-1551T is used to receive real-time production data and work orders form key machines and the TPC-1581WP is for manufacturing machines that need to display high-resolution images and 3D drawings while delivering live production information.
Both products have the reliability and durability to ensure operation in harsh environments. They have fanless and true-flat design with IP66 approved front panel protection to avoid dust or foreign matter damaging the computer. Also, they have a wide operating temperature range to endure high temperature welding conditions, chassis grounding to resist lighting/elector static discharge/electric fast transient and international certification (BSMI, CCC, CE, FCC Class A and UL) to protect devices against electromagnetic interference. They can connect to a variety of peripherals such as printers, scanners, and data acquisition modules and support Advantech's iDoor technology enabling flexibility to expand system functions. In this specific project, they were equipped with the PCM-24S2WF communication Wi-Fi module to have wireless functionality without purchasing extra devices.
As well as installing the TPC as the interface, Advantech also provided network devices and data acquisition modules. The EKI series of wired and wireless products were used to establish an industrial grade network infrastructure and the ADAM-4055 was installed to acquire digital I/O signals, this solution is able to make production machines networked devices while allowing for upward and downward integration.