On the right track
A clear understanding of the real energy consumption in production has become more and more important. Producers base their investment decisions in new equipment on hard facts with a clear return-on-investment scenario. That is why ROMI, the leading Brazilian plastics machine builder, has implemented a continuous energy analysis tool inside its standard machine control solution to allow continuous tracking of energy consumption in order to optimize production cycles.
Founded in 1930 in Santa Bárbara d’Oeste, Brazil, ROMI has grown to become a global leader in machine tools, plastic processing machines and rough or machined castings. Its products and services are marketed domestically and exported to all continents for industries such as automobile and automotive components manufacturing, consumer goods, agricultural machinery and implements, and industrial machinery and equipment.
ROMI's portfolio of plastics machinery covers injection molding machines from 80 – 1,500 tons and blow molding machines from 10ml up to 100l. The machines are equipped with cutting-edge technology like servo-hydraulics, full-electric machine control, touch screen operations and remote diagnostics. The latest generation of machine control is equipped with a 10 or 15-inch operator panel and an economic I/O system.
For more than 15 years ROMI uses B&R panels and controllers as the central automation technology inside the plastic machines. The latest innovation integrated in the injection molding machines is the permanent energy monitoring capability.
"Producers have learned that the energy consumption has become an important factor in production costs, so they need to know real figures," states William dos Reis, industrial director for plastic machines. "We have been searching for an acceptable market price solution and have found it in the B&R X20 portfolio. The module fits perfectly into the existing cabinet and can be easily offered as an option without changing the design of the I/O system."
For interfacing with the sensors ROMI uses the X20 standard module X20AP3131, which allows constant scanning of 3 phases 480V (AC) and 4 inputs up to 5A (AC). The module itself is capable of calculating the effective, apparent and reactive power and energy and also calculates RMS values automatically. "Since the module handles the calculations internally, there are no effects for the main controller or the application performance, and software integration is quite easy," says dos Reis.
ROMI offers energy monitoring to producers as an option for their EL lines. From a physical standpoint, the module is an additional slice in the machine control rack, so the solution can be integrated on a very small footprint.
"We have performed field tests with some key customers and have seen energy savings of up to 75 percent compared to machines installed 10 or more years ago," explains dos Reis. This is a persuasive argument for producers facing investment decisions, with energy consumption playing a significant role in the ROI of a newly installed machine. In addition, the built-in energy monitoring options allow producers to take advantage of the data to continuously improve their production cycles, an advantage you miss out on with a one-time analysis.
Massive installed base
"Here in Brazil there is a massive installed base of machines that run far from energy efficient," says dos Reis. Since Brazil is amongst the top plastic producers world-wide, the installed base of injection molding machines is estimated to be more than 40,000. "The future is bright for energy monitoring solutions, and with ROMI machines we're offering the solution today."
Automation Studio is used to configure and program all B&R control components. Core issues include getting a clear overview of all product groups, initial commissioning of a controller, understanding the functions of the runtime environment and knowing the options for integrated configuration and diagnostics.