DMC upgraded an existing high temperature, high vacuum, hydrogen furnace system that used a Microbox Panel PC running WinAC RTX and several PC applications. The customer reached out to DMC for a single technology system, that would be easy for their own engineers to maintain and modify for future systems. The solution upgraded the Simatic Manager Software Controller to the TIA Portal Failsafe Software Controller with WinCC RT Advanced and reused the existing hardware.
The client was working to support and upgrade features on their furnaces, but they found it took them too long to update and test the furnaces’ code. All the hardware was working well, and the ET200pro modules were suited for the machine since the IO is distributed and had to be in rugged environments. Converting the controls from Simatic Manager to TIA Portal allowed them to upgrade the software while maintaining the existing hardware.
DMC recreated the system’s functionality on the IPC477 Panel PC with an S7-1507S F Software Controller and WinCC Advanced HMI, directly interfacing with ET200 Remote IO stations and controlling Silicon Control Rectifiers (SCRs) over PROFINET. Replacing the executables running on the IPC with a Software Controller and WinCC RT Advanced makes the control and user interface easier to modify and update as needed.
This new system interacts with the inputs and outputs more easily than before, which is particularly important for the Failsafe IO when controlling high-temperature furnaces with the capability of introducing hydrogen gas during the process.
To facilitate testing and validating the project, DMC implemented a simulation mode that disables physical outputs and allows engineers to simulate inputs to see how the system will react. This simulation mode reduced the time needed to commission and validate safety measure on the system, as well as accelerate future development for other similar furnace systems.
The applications running on the IPC had nice features for Trending, Exporting Data Logs, and Managing Recipes for the machine. However, DMC was able to recreate these with built-in WinCC Advanced Trending, Recipe Management, Historical Data, and scripted functions.
The client now only needs to support and develop code in one programming environment, when before there were three.
Manual Furnace Control Screen, showing the status of the chamber and each device.
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