3M Scours for optimum capability

31 March 2008

3M España makes Scotch-Brite™ scouring pads in its Madrid facility and to keep finished goods inventory to a minimum, plant personnel investigated ways to download more than 200 batch parameters from a Microsoft SQL database and use that information to configure the main production line’s eight batch units.

Using existing Allen-Bradley ControlLogix PLCs, plant personnel added an xCoupler enterprise transaction module from Online Development. The module installs in the ControlLogix rack and exchanges information between the database and batch unit devices connected to the PLC’s backplane. A simple program was developed for the PLC that does not require any modifications when downloading recipes or configuring the units.

When a production run is scheduled, specific scouring pad recipe data and configuration of the batch units, including selections and settings for tanks, pumps, valves, and raw material loading, are downloaded from the database through the xCoupler module and into these production devices. The new system has reduced setup time to just 30 seconds for maximum equipment utilisation and also eliminated manual data entry to reduce the risk of errors
and scrap.

The module was first used for downloading pad recipes and then to configure the eight batch units. It has since been used for several other purposes such as monitoring temperature and humidity sensors in the facility and sending out email alerts for out of tolerance conditions. It ensures that raw materials and finished goods in inventory are kept in prime condition.

3M is good at producing scouring pads and scouring for solutions to maximize productivity through innovation.

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