Remote Service for High Precision Food Packaging Machines with eWON and Talk2M Pro
The possibility of controlling the plants remotely and doing maintenance from a distance has quickly become a necessity, stemming from the client’s need for rapid support interventions. After a first attempt using traditional modems, Zacmi selected eWON’s Talk2M Pro service, in combination with eWON 2005CD hardware modules for its remote access needs. eWON and the Talk2M services are distributed in Italy by EFA Automazione.
Zanichelli Meccanica (Zacmi) was founded in 1954 in Parma by Giuseppe Zanichelli and is still family-owned. The company designs and builds machines and complete plants for the food industry. Over the last few decades Zacmi specialized in line filling and closing installations for food products, non-food products and beverages. The company also manufactures machines that are capable of accurate dosing. This was considered as very challenging in the past, or even impossible, mostly because of the very high accuracy often specified in such applications. Zacmi also builds and delivers complete processing plants, especially for pasteurisation and sterilisation of food products prior to packaging, or for pasteurisation treatment of products which are already boxed in flexible containers, tins or bottles. In addition, Zacmi’s business includes fruit and vegetable product transformation plants. Production monitoring through the internet is an ideal, low-cost and fast solution.
PLC REMOTE ACCESS REDUCES INTERVENTION TIMES
«Over the years [the complexity of] these programmable components have increased exponentially and the potential problems that can arise during commissioning have also increased proportionally. In the past the procedure required an engineer to be sent out to fix the problems or faults in the plant, often with very long
transfer times, even for simple and brief operations ». «Working with EFA Automazione, we developed a remote connectivity project to allow PLC remote support for the plants. Our goal is to be able, in the next few years, to have a connection that allows us to address small problems, which may arise in the systems or remain after commissioning and start-up, without having to send programmers in support. Since adopting the Talk2M & eWON solution, intervention times have decreased significantly. Access via internet allows the engineer to be virtually projected onsite, where the machine with the fault is installed, and, even though the communication speed also depends on the remote site’s infrastructure, the operation
is undoubtedly quicker».
EASE OF USE
The selection of eWON came after clear operational needs which the product proposed by EFA fully met: «We discovered eWON products at a trade show and we were impressed, first and foremost, by the ease of installation of eWON, which is, so to say, basically automatic or at any rate very easy and requires just a few steps. Also, once a configuration is defined and the expectations from the instrument are established, the system is extremely reliable. The third factor which influenced our choice was the excellent quality/price ratio, just perfect for our needs». Another fundamental characteristic of eWON is its complete compatibility: because it is not exclusively tied to any product, a communication interface can be created with any plant or component. Scrivani points out: «eWON, being compatible with any manufacturer, allowed us in particular to take advantage of the potential of Rockwell Automation products used in various applications». In fact, as a standard, Zacmi uses a range of Rockwell products (PLC Control Logix, PLC Compact Logix, Panel View Plus CE, Switch Inverter, Kinetix 6K for motion control) in manufacturing the machines to be shipped to many geographical areas.
TALK2M, REMOTE ACCESS IN THE CLOUD
The Talk2M Pro service was chosen after a careful analysis of the architecture requirements, in order to provide a support service from remote. «Initially we had thought about managing the system server and software ourselves completely, but that turned out to be a way too demanding project», says Scrivani, «when, a structure like the one that Talk2M offers allows us to guarantee service interventions, in the event of faults, very quickly, at any moment or any time of day, by connecting to the machine network from any computer even when the company is closed».
FRUITFUL JOIN COLLABORATION WITH THE EWON DISTRIBUTOR
Last, but not least, Scrivani recalls how the selection of eWON products was also influenced by the relationship with the distributor. «EFA Automazione supported us and guided us from the beginning in a very careful and consistent way. We always had quick and efficient answers to our requests and expectations, to the point that we are thinking of expanding our cooperation with EFA to other applications».