Crane maintenance – Simplified
Sleek and luxurious are two words that could be used to describe the 2013 SUV KIA Sportage. The KIA cee’d, on the other hand, could be best described as sporty yet economical, with diesel models achieving more than 60 MPG (less than 4 liters/100km) in fuel economy.
But before these new shiny, sparkling automobiles show up on your auto dealer’s showroom floor, the cars, like any car out there on the road, have gone through a series of processes at their factories of origin.
The KIA Motors plant in Slovakia, which produces the cee’d, KIA Venga, and Sportage, decided to install industrial wireless solutions at its automobile stamping and press operations to further improve safety at the plant for employees. Cranes transfer stamping dies to the main press lines. Here is where parts such as doors, fenders, and hoods are produced.
“It was necessary to connect the overhead cranes to one network to be able to access the PLC from any maintenance computer in the Auto Press shop,” said Tomas Potocar, Engineer with KIA Motors.
The purpose of the project was to communicate from the maintenance room to the facility’s Allen-Bradley® ControlLogix® systems.
Before the plant chose ProSoft Technology’s 802.11n industrial radios, maintenance on the overhead cranes was a tedious process.
“The overhead cranes were separate devices without any connection to computers used by the maintenance department,” Potocar said.
Because of this, engineers had to climb up 14 meters of stairs or a ladder to access the crane controller to connect it directly to a processor for diagnostics.
“Only if the crane is in ‘home’ position near the step, then the maintenance guy could get to its cabinet in 10 minutes. Now it’s possible to get access from the maintenance room immediately,” said Josef Nekvinda, an engineer with Rockwell Automation.
Cranes now can be accessed from the maintenance computer at any stage with the ProSoft Technology wireless solution. This results in much less downtime.
With ProSoft Technology’s wireless solution, one 802.11n radio is on each of the 5 cranes, with an additional radio in the maintenance room.
Potocar and his team were at Automation University in Podbanske, Slovakia, where they heard a ProSoft Technology presentation.
“Shortly after hearing this presentation, a discussion about KIA Motors’ needs had started,” Potocar said. In choosing ProSoft Technology wireless solutions, KIA Motors wanted to ensure there was a constant, reliable connection between the PLC and the maintenance computer antenna.
“I had already received all necessary information, and I found that ProSoft Technology knew the tools we needed,” Potocar said. “Installation was rather simple.”
Implementing a wireless solution took much less time to commission than a possible wired solution.
KIA Motors is satisfied with the solution. “It helps us diagnose overhead cranes and monitor signals during the production from a safe position.”
Learn more about ProSoft Technology’s Wireless Solutions here.