Smart supervisor for overhead lines

When it comes to coating carried out on overhead lines with high-performance anthropomorphic robots, it is essential today to have a process supervisor, specifically for this type of line.

The name of this special software is SmartWINDOWS.

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An operator interface at line inlet

SmartWINDOWS uses an operator interface to be positioned at the line loading station with dedicated software, fine-tuned over years of direct experience with our customers. This smart system allows you to select for each bar the number of runs to be completed on the line, assigning to each run the processing recipes (flowcoating, sanding, robot) and an individual colour on the flowcoating or robot option.

You can also set minimum drying/humidification times and the corresponding hold time in the drying oven.

How it works

Through a barcode reader it is possible to identify and select for each single piece or single bar the corresponding recipe and the desired colour: in this case, it is not the operator who manually manages the processing phases but an optical reader, sending the code which identifies the bar number, recipe and colour directly to the PC of iGiotto, Cefla Finishing's anthropomorphic coating robot.

The barcode can directly contain the recipe and colour information for each run, or it can be linked to a work file listing the production batches, loaded to the machine at the start of production: by selecting this second option, working with pre-existing barcode systems is possible, and all the information necessary for the coating line will be found in the work file. The work file can be generated by the factory management software and allows total integration with the production flow.

The bars can optionally be tracked through a radio frequency identification system for automatic management of the overhead line. The system includes one or more antennas and TAGs positioned on each bar: the antennas connected to the line PLC monitor the position of the bars and allow the selection of the desired path in several connected loops allowing multi-run line management without any operator action being required.

For each unloaded bar, a file is generated containing the production data: loading and unloading date and time, production batch, drying and humidification temperature and times, processing recipes and colours; this allows full traceability of the data for production monitoring.

Practicality and easy handling

SmartWINDOWS today allows you to:

  • check the production progress of different batches on the line;
  • activate the just-in-time colour changeover command;
  • activate a new work recipe when the production batch requires it;
  • manage multi-run operation and route selection on different loops
  • trace the production data

The operator panel supplies an interactive synoptic chart that shows the actual status of each bar on the line, displays its number and the current run.

The details of the current alarm events and the alarm events log are also available.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does digitizing my factory mean?

Firstly, digitizing your factory means converting production processes by moving away from traditional systems towards highly automated, interconnected ones that also act as a rich data source. As we see it, this digitization makes sense if it allows your company to remain competitive, cut costs and maximise profits.

What data is available to me? What do I need it for?

The available data ranges from traceability data - stored by our cTracker line supervisor which saves all events, alarms and plant parameters, associating them with production batches - to detailed data on individual machines (telemetry) and the production statistics managed by our IoT product, cMaster.

Can my competitors see my data?

Absolutely not! We use commercially available, secure, certified remote assistance software. Security assessments carried out together with our specialised partners ensure top-grade data confidentiality. They also ensure the data is readily available and safely stored.

Can machine downtimes be predicted?

There are several ongoing projects concerning analysis of the data collected by our Ubiquo software tools. The goal is to anticipate any problems and provide services that are both predictive and proactive:
- to improve performance
- to prevent finishing line breakdowns and stops
- to reduce spare part and finished product stocks.

How can I know whether the coating system will cause problems after assembly?

Our unique know-how allows us to process all operational data and extrapolate from it the tasks needed to pro-actively improve the output of coating processes and ensure their stability and repeatability.  Note also that our extensive experience in the field gives our solutions exceptional efficiency.

Is there something that allows me to monitor my coating process?

Of course. At all times cTracker, our line supervisor, lets you:
- set up and check the entire line from a single point
- trace workpieces on the line
- export alarms/production reports
- exchange information with your internal company systems.

How can I know whether the production process is working properly?

Our line supervisor, cTracker, provides you with an OEE/KPI section that lets you monitor line capacity and productivity. And you're not alone! We provide customers with expert technical support both locally and globally. A far-reaching network of branches, agents and affiliates provides authorised, highly qualified technical assistance. We also provide remote assistance by providing immediate answers to on-line questions, thus ensuring real-time situation monitoring and accurate diagnostics as regards both technical aspects and the process.

How can I get an overview of the whole line from a single point?

Our cTracker line supervisor has been specifically designed to control our machines from a single point on the line. In fact, on large-scale lines with multiple machines, it would be unthinkable to manage production changeovers and modify parameters or work recipes via the control panels on each individual machine. That's why the cTracker solution manages everything via a single screen at the beginning of the line.

How can I simulate my production process?

Simulation is a valuable tool, hence the introduction of a pre-sales service called cCloner. More specifically, this line simulator can:
- show a realistic 3D configuration of the line layout: a sound, reliable picture made up of measurements, 3D imaging and objective data.
- provide accurate line operation simulation: to prevent problems, avoid machine downtimes and have more general information right from the design stage.
- simulate real productivity and consumption: finding the best configuration gives you a realistic forecast of the situation, also in terms of productivity and energy/heat consumption.

Is there an alarm system to tell me if something is wrong?

Yes. Alarms are an essential part of the machines as they provide information vital to the prevention of downtimes and the easy pinpointing of problems. Together, the individual machine control panels, cTracker line supervisor and IoT cMaster ensure you have detailed alarm lists available at all times. With cMaster you can also get automatic notifications on your mobile devices to keep you informed wherever you are.

Can I buy spare parts directly via the machine?

Yes, cMaster now features a Spare Parts section (available on enabled machines). This feature lets you put in a request directly via the virtual Web App cart, thus speeding up the spare parts management and retrieval process.

Is there a plant maintenance planning tool?

The IoT cMaster tool features a Maintenance section where you're offered maintenance services, grouped by function. The software manages scheduling and reminds you of deadlines according to actual machine running times.