DMC previously worked with the client, a high volume manufacturer of single-use plastic dishware and foamware, to standardize their Siemens SIMOTION logic and configuration. For this project, the client needed to centralize their recipe management system across all of their lines and facilities nationwide, while standardizing their operator interfaces to make it easier for their production and maintenance teams to operate and support their lines.
To do so, DMC replaced their existing stand alone panel HMIs with a network of Ignition Edge panels running on Siemens IPCs that will function as a centralized system or independently in the case of a network outage.
DMC replaced the client’s existing production line HMIs with Siemens Panel IPCs that run Ignition Edge. Each panel runs both the Ignition Edge server and the Ignition client that operators use to view and control the machine. Each panel is an independent unit, but also interfaces with a central server and data storage to receive software updates, load recipes, or log process data. This DMC developed architecture allows the panels to operate independently in the event of a plant to plant network failure.
With our expertise in Ignition, DMC was able to directly integrate all of client's Siemens SIMOTION controllers with the Ignition Edge IPC with data then being transmitted up to the central Ignition server. We tested different communications strategies and opted to use the SIMOTION controller’s built-in OPC-UA server to transmit data.
We used Ignition’s Hub and Spoke Architecture, which allows the client to have one central Ignition server and multiple Ignition Edge servers for the different lines. To link the central and Edge servers, we use the Enterprise Administration Module (EAM) and Edge Sync Services. EAM is used to synchronize data such as updates and program versions across the Edge panels so we can edit once and deploy changes to all lines across the country. Edge Sync is used to send data from the individual Edge panels back to the central server.
DMC's combined experience in Siemens automation & motion control and Ignition SCADA allowed us to successfully standardized the client’s panels, recipes, and the automation programs themselves. The client can now centrally monitor and manage all of their lines without the need to maintain code and data for each facility and machine.
The system DMC developed allows the client to store, maintain, and compare their recipes without having to go to every individual line. The client can modify those recipes from any where in their plants, and can now maintain a higher level of consistency and quality for all of their products. And with the architecture DMC deployed, the panels can work together with the central server, or, in the instance of a network failure, may fail over to the local Ignition Edge HMI.
The client is continuing to gain extra benefits from this centralized system. After project completion, they were able to replace an additional datalogging system with Ignition’s built-in solution: the SQL Bridge Module. They are also working to integrate Active Directory authentication to standardize operator login credentials across all panels in the plant. These additional advantages of Ignition were only realized after the system was already deployed.