How can mixing and dosing systems become more modular, connected and easier to operate? Reinhardt-Technik has found the answer to this question in an automation solution from B&R.
Reinhardt-Technik revolutionized the world of liquid silicone dosing with the launch of its LSR eTwin series nearly a decade ago. The LSR eTwin was truly unique on the market at the time, and to this day it remains one of the most innovative machines around. "But, even the best machines need to be optimized for new market requirements," says Jens Dickel, key technology manager LSR at Reinhardt-Technik.
In close cooperation with manufacturers of injection molding machines, LSR processing companies and material manufacturers, Reinhardt-Technik compiled an extensive list of requirements and developed a new generation of machines to fulfill them. "For our new eTwin Connect, we decided to keep the robust and precise process technology with electrically driven piston pumps," says Dickel. The rest of the machine was fully modernized.
- Requirements of the LSR eTwin Connect
- Modular design
- Easy retrofit
- Industry 4.0 ready, including OPC UA
- Intuitive operation
"A modernization project like this can be very time-consuming and requires a lot of resources," says Dickel. Therefore, Reinhardt-Technik was looking for a partner who would be able to support the project in all areas – from I/O and drives to HMI and connectivity. "B&R proved to be exactly the partner we were looking for," says Dickel.
"In order to speed up the development process, we used sample projects from B&R. That cut our programming time in half," says Marcus Naber, programmer at Reinhardt-Technik. What's decisive here is that the existing code as well as structures and programming principles can be transferred to other projects.
For the new recipe management system, design decisions made in the past meant that only about 30% of the sample code could be applied. "Even so," says Naber, "without B&R's sample projects, implementation would have taken at least twice, if not three times as long."
It wasn't only during development that B&R technology allowed more efficient use of available resources. Thanks to the modular design of the machine, Reinhardt-Technik was able to develop numerous configuration options for the LSR eTwin Connect that can be retrofitted at any time.
Since all the options are already included in the software project, Reinhardt-Technik is able to do that without any programming or extensive logistics overhead. Instead, they can simply enable the retrofitted option. "All you need is a USB flash drive with the corresponding configuration file," says Naber. An integrated function allows users to backup or restore the configuration of their machines as well as independently upload and enable the new configuration.
In addition to modularity, connectivity was another priority of the modernization project. Reinhardt-Technik has integrated the OPC UA companion specification EUROMAP 82.3 into the LSR eTwin Connect, making it possible to connect injection molding machines without any additional effort.
EUROMAP 82.3 was specially defined for the safe integration of LSR dosing machines into the control system of the injection molding machine. Relevant parameters such as material pressure, coloring and additive settings and remaining run times can thus be transferred transparently and easily to the higher-level control system.
To make operation of the LSR eTwin Connect as simple as possible, Reinhardt-Technik decided on an HTML5-based solution. "Since the HMI application should not only simplify operation but also be future-proof, it quickly became clear that HTML5 was the right choice. B&R's mapp View software proved to be the perfect solution for this," explains Naber.
mapp View makes it easy to create intuitive web-based HMI pages without having to deal with web technologies themselves. These technologies are encapsulated in widgets, which are simply dragged and dropped into place and configured. "The wide range of available mapp View widgets made it possible to quickly and easily set up user interfaces. This was one of the main reasons why we went for this B&R solution," says Naber.
For the new HMI application of the LSR eTwin Connect, Reinhardt-Technik installed a 15.6" operating panel from B&R in the machine, nearly tripling the screen size. The generous touch screen with its central operating elements blends seamlessly into the machine's appealing industrial design.
"B&R proved to be the perfect partner for our project. The B&R technology package offers us maximum flexibility. It allows us to handle all types of plants, from those with basic functionality to those with a high level of digitization and connectivity, without costs getting out of control. This is a key factor for long-term success, especially in series production and in price-sensitive markets," says Dickel.
Key Technology Manager, Reinhardt-Technik
"B&R proved to be the perfect partner for our project. The B&R technology package offers us maximum flexibility. It allows us to handle all types of plants, from those with basic functionality to those with a high level of digitization and connectivity, without costs getting out of control."