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BUSY DAYS

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A few busy weeks have past.

We have different and interesting projects at ControlX. From something simple on our PLC test bench to highly production-significant 3.3kV 1MW machines.

We are the professionals on PLC and SCADA level, however Industry 4.0 is something we need to master. On the next project we are going to implement our knowledge in IIoT technology and work with MQTT protocol.

It is clear for us how technologies of Industry 4.0 can help companies to unlock full potential in the industries we work in (process, manufacturing and mining). Very soon we will be ready to digitally transform organisations by working on the entire automation stack, from PLC to ERP.

QLD DROP TABLE CONTROLS UPGRADE

Another commissioning is done and left our client and their client happy.

As usual, commissioning brings an unexpected. We had a few challenges which made us worried about the success of finishing the commissioning on time. However, with the right team and the right tools everything is solvable.

Our part of the project was to upgrade the control system of this drop table. We replaced the PLC with Siemens S7-1200 and added an IIoT gateway for remote monitoring. The project was delivered on time and as per client’s specification.

The credits go to our controls engineer William for re-writing and testing the PLC program!

CLOUD SERVICES IS A MESS

Cloud is an essential part for some of our engineered solutions. We use cloud services for VPN routing to remotely access PLCs, endpoints to connect APIs of different software packages, compute instances to run MQTT brokers, SQL and NoSQL databases or we host the entire solution for our clients.

We use Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Services (AWS). GCP and AWS combined have over 300 unique services. This raises a big problem for the user: what do all these services do and which should I use?

Below is the link to a youtube video (our favourite youtube channel) which includes 50+ well described AWS services in a fun and entertaining manner.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIbIYCM48to

PS. There are a few best solutions for the industry not mentioned in the video: IoT SiteWise and IoT Greengrass


THE WORK KEEPS US HAPPY

Finally, out for commissioning.

Working on lots of software projects recently. The software projects kept us mostly in the office, so it was fun to be back in the field. The site work is always about adjusting PLC code, setting transmitters up, adjusting position of sensors and, in general, troubleshooting and commissioning.

In the photo it’s around 7pm and we are still happy and full of energy.

CONTROLX AT A GLANCE

ControlX Engineering is so lucky to have these engineers. Our team is:

• Young, but skilled and knowledgeable:

☑ PLCs: Alen Bradley, Siemens, Omron

☑ SCADA: Ignition, Citect, Movicon

☑ IIoT Implementation: MQTT, JavaScript, Python

• Small, but fast moving:

☑ Deliver on time as promised

☑ Design the best solution for the client - software/hardware agnostic

☑ Effective communications with the clients

• Get the job done, but remember:

☑ Safety first (experienced in mining and oil industries)

☑ Production is “the king” (applies to any industry)

☑ Keep it simple, so the client can alter/adjust settings

SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IS A BIG PART OF OUR PROJECTS

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This job is an example of when very advanced software comes with very simple hardware. There is nothing exciting when looking at this electrical enclosure. When the software is precisely orchestrating 12 motors via EtherCAT protocol.

At this job we matched the budget and timeline of our client’s requirements. Utilising RPI 4 we developed a communication module and motor control system. Developed module was integrated into open source framework Node-RED. All the complexity of the EtherCAT implementation was hidden behind a simple-to-use node. After a simple demonstration on how to use the node our client is capable of modifying and adjusting the system so it perfectly fits the requirements.

MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY IS EXCITING

Another project in manufacturing!

We love manufacturing and everything at the production facilities. Both machinery and people make these facilities exciting to come back to. The machines give us challenges (not always easily solvable) and the operators help us navigate through these challenges.

In this project we are planning to build a digital MES to increase efficiency in operations. However, the first step is going to be a downtime tracking system, as one of the machines (the oven in the photo) is giving lots of headaches.

The downtime tracking system is a part of a bigger project. The following steps will be the foundation for future systems and for the MES:

• Connect the intelligence (PLCs) to network

• Create Unified Namespace UNS (standard ISA95)

• Integrate intelligence to the unified namespace

• Present information - Downtime Dashboards, Reports

This will be interesting to work on!

DESIGN PANELS FROM SCRATCH

Another project coming to its end. Factory and acceptance testing are in progress.

The project is to supply an electrical control system. We designed the control system, sourced all required components, built (outsourced to one of the best electrical panel builders in Newcastle) the enclosure, managed the changes and some minor variations. As with any project there were a few roadblocks and challenges. All challenges are resolved and the equipment is tested. Next is the client's site testing and commissioning.

DROP TABLE CONTROL SYSTEM UPGRADE

Successful project on control system upgrade.

In this project, Sydney Trains have received an overhauled Bogie Drop Table, on time and as per the desired specification. Bogie drop table is an equipment to facilitate the removal of bogies and traction motor wheelset assemblies from locomotives and train cars.

Mechanical part of the overhaul is done by Electro-Mechanical Services and the control system is done by us.