Case Studies

Intelligent Automotive Overhead Conveyor

Posted in Allen Bradley PLC, Automotive, Manufacturing Automation and Intelligence, PLC Programming


DMC programmed a highly intelligent overhead conveyor solution for a leading automotive supplier. 

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Overhead Conveyor Product Counting


DMC’s client, a leading supplier in the automotive industry, needed an extremely intelligent and expandable system to control an extensive overhead conveyor system. DMC integrated control between the MagneMotion intelligent conveyor system and the PLC and HMI process control system. The system consists of 9 node controllers with 80 paths, and 78 complex intersections (terminus nodes) to support moving paths.

The extensive conveyor track system consists of up to 40 vehicles that transport a variety of parts from fabrication equipment on one end of the track to downstream processing equipment on the other end. System control logic was programmed on the PLC side and integrated heavily with the MagneMotion Track. DMC enhanced MagneMotion’s PLC integration library, adding new modular functions (Rockwell AOIs) to manage complex, moving intersections of the track. A custom user logins and permissions solution was developed to centralize user credentials across all 6 HMI terminals.

DMC’s solution interfaces with upstream and downstream equipment as well as robots for loading and unloading parts. Ethernet/IP communication also included safety signals to those systems. Multiple vehicles are controlled simultaneously, routing them from many sources to many destinations and controlling traffic. Vehicles are dynamically rerouted if necessary. 

The MagneMotion controller simulation mode was particularly helpful in testing the track ahead of commissioning at the end user location. DMC utilized heavy simulation testing that confirmed our communication from the PLC to the MagneMotion controller. As part of the simulation, DMC developed custom animations to animate the track, display status, and track vehicle locations all on our HMI. This simulation helped save time on commissioning our controls and programming. 

DMC’s engineers became an extension of the onsite installation team and managed the day-to-day controls commissioning and testing tasks. DMC provided help coordinating with programming teams for other equipment. We also assisted in driving standardization using the end customers’ control standardization documents. 

In the interest of future growth, this extensive conveying system is designed to be easily expandable. The modular, flexible, programming style includes modular code for repeated sections of conveyor so that adding more upstream and downstream equipment interfaces can be easily broadened. 

Learn more about DMC's Rockwell Automation and Allen Bradley PLC programming services.

Customer Benefits

  • Control system optimizes traffic and throughput to avoid bottlenecks and ensure maximum equipment utilization
  • Track and trace of part data for all loaded vehicles in system
  • Attractive user interface animations that monitor and control the whole system from any operator station
  • Zoned safety system allows maximum uptime
  • Expert commissioning support
  • Employee training for future maintenance and expansion