Labatt drives toward networked bottling lines (sidebar)

Sophisticated HMI

Used on all four Labatt production lines, the HMI system with Rockwell Automation’s RSView32 software includes graphic menus that allow operators to simply touch icons of line locations. It allows the operator to view the status of all line equipment—bottle washers, filler, labeler and pasteurizer—as well as brewhouse tank selection and downtime monitoring. It also communicates with the drives.

The HMI can be used to preset production quantities; for example, a production run of 50ꯠ bottles could be set, and the filler would stop automatically when this number had been reached.

The RSView software can also capture and store data for trending performance. It displays continuously updated trending for the past eight hours, which gives the operator enough history to make the proper adjustments. Data are stored if additional historical analysis is required. It is typically used for tracking key filler-related process control parameters such as fill temperature.

RSView communicates directly with the PLCs through Rockwell Automation’s Data Highway Plus. On the plant’s newest line, started up in April, networking is via DH-Plus and ControlNet™. ControlNet enables even faster communications, with a guarantee of fewer than five milliseconds, explains Fritz van Vlymen, senior electrical designer with system integrator SNA Automation. Prior, he explains, due to the number of nodes and messages sent over the network, this response time in the past could be as long as one second.

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