“We are not a cost-based company,” said the soft-spoken vice president of operations in charge of more than 60 bottling plants for a major soft drink brand. His words were directed to no one in particular, but his message was well received by all present: Do it! “If we think we cannot afford to buy the equipment we need,” he continued, leaning back in his conference room chair, “We have the wrong people in place.”
Fast-forward a year and a half. The plant manager and the production supervisor of the Midwest bottling facility have finally achieved continuous peak production rates after working together with integrators to upgrade the plant’s dated control equipment and install a state-of-the-art production monitoring system. The newly designed supervisory system uses the DHX OPC Server Suite from Cyberlogic, in Troy, Mich., for reliable data collection. It allows the plant to manage its critical production information in order to schedule different flavor runs and rush cases of the highly profitable beverages to idling delivery trucks.
“People understand different things when you say redundancy,” says Eric Bellas, the architect and champion of the bottling plant’s production monitoring system. “Of course, a truly redundant system has redundancy built into every layer of the topology, not just a little patch here or there,” he adds with a stare, as if he has repeated this quite a few times to quite a few people. “Anybody can sell you two personal computers (PCs) and two OPC Servers. But that’s just part of the picture. What Cyberlogic—and no one else—gives you is the unlimited number and combination of redundant networks and plant-floor devices, built right into its OPC Servers,” continues Bellas. “Right out of the box, it works like a charm!”
Communication link critical
Less than 20 miles away stands a Six Sigma-certified Black Belt in the middle of a loud production area. “It is not sufficient to have redundancy in the PC-based systems alone,” confides Serhat Eren, who has a doctorate degree in Industrial Engineering, and is in charge of corporate quality control at a major tier-one supplier to the automotive industry. “We cannot afford to lose the communication link to our manufacturing networks and devices,” adds Eren. “If a com-link were to go down, without [Cyberlogic’s] auto-switching redundant network technology, all I would have is a bunch of healthy PCs, doing absolutely nothing.”
Cyberlogic OPC Server Suites are integrated, all-in-one products. The built-in reliability features allow the configuration of an unlimited number of redundant networks and backup data sources. The OPC Suites include a Health Monitor that continuously verifies the operation of each network and data source, automatically switching to backups when there is a problem.
“The neat thing is,” says Eren, “when communication is re-established with lost com-links or devices, and after they are verified by the OPC server to be healthy, the software automatically switches back to higher priority data paths. That’s really a cool feature.”
Find out more about Cyberlogic OPC Server Suites at www.cyberlogic.com.