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  • brüel international

    Tomas Torp, COO of brüel international a/s Tomas Torp, COO of brüel international a/s

    Jesper Bødewadt Dyhr Lorenzen, software architect of Danish Soft & Teknik A/SJesper Bødewadt Dyhr Lorenzen, software architect of Danish Soft & Teknik A/S

    With iX it is possible to control the addressing of data, texts and variables for a large number of displays for I/O and sequence management, which saves valuable time in the project.With iX it is possible to control the addressing of data, texts and variables for a large number of displays for I/O and sequence management, which saves valuable time in the project.

    Financial and environmental advantages with a fully automatic washing and drying system by brüel international has attracted huge international interest.Financial and environmental advantages with a fully automatic washing and drying system by brüel international has attracted huge international interest.

    The centrifugal dryer effectively spins all the moisture away from the newly washed plastic boxes at high speed.The centrifugal dryer effectively spins all the moisture away from the newly washed plastic boxes at high speed.



Case Study: Paradigm shift at brüel international

Brüel international increases its competitiveness with the HMI solution based on the iX software from Beijer Electronics. The open system makes the company's new centrifugal dryer very easy to operate. iX based on .NET also offers important and time saving advantages in the development of the actual automation solution.

A conveyor belt carries continuous stacks of freshly washed plastic boxes into the centrifugal dryer. Only a few seconds later they come out completely dry and ready to be packed with vegetables, bread or dairy products - to be transported from the manufacturer to the store and ultimately end up in all our fridges.

The centrifugal dryer which is controlled with Beijer Electronics HMI solution based on iX is the last stop on one of the fully automatic washing systems for return packaging from brüel international. Instead of drying with warm air from fans, the newly developed centrifuge effectively spins all the moisture away at high speed.

"In addition to making our machines faster, more reliable and easier to use, there is a focus on minimizing the use of water, energy and cleaning products," says Tomas Torp, COO of brüel international a/s, as he describes company challenges.

A software filled with options

The choice of iX as the software platform for the new centrifugal dryer was made on the advice of Soft & Teknik A/S, who has many years experience in HMI and automation. Soft & Teknik A/S software architect, Jesper Bødewadt Dyhr Lorenzen, has helped brüel international to create a graphic interface and application for drying:

"The introduction of iX is a paradigm shift! I think a lot of us have been waiting for the PC and automation worlds to converge, and this has finally happened."

He enthusiastically describes the iX software as a "magic box" full of opportunities:

"Beijer Electronics is the only supplier on the market to offer an HMI solution based on a .NET Framework. Nobody else puts the same fantastic tool in the hands of us developers," says Jesper Bødewadt Dyhr Lorenzen.

A market with high standards

Tomas Torp is thrilled that the plastic return packaging will become successful as a more attractive alternative to disposable packaging made of cardboard and wood. And that regardless of whether it is a question of distributing fruit and vegetables, meat, bread or fish.

"Both the environment and your wallet benefit from this change." A plastic box for 5 euros will last many years.

There are high demands on washing machines that have to keep all these plastic boxes clean, fresh and hygienic. The machines are designed to manage huge volumes and, if necessary, run 24 hours.

"One of our customers washes and dries 9,000 boxes an hour in their plant," says Tomas Torp. One of the challenges for brüel international is that the plastic boxes vary in size, shape and stacking options. Right now collapsible boxes are gaining popularity.

Soft & Teknik A/S has chosen to solve the task by using an MVC (Model-View-Controller) design pattern, prepared for reuse of completed work by separating data, view and logic.

"All technologies and tools that are associated with .NET Framework help me save development time," says Jesper Bødewadt Dyhr Lorenzen.

The centrifugal dryer has 188 I/O and eight sequences which each have between 10 and 30 steps. Believe it or not, but all the approximately 9,000 lines of iX code have actually been generated automatically.

Master data for components used in a task are entered into Microsoft Excel. When the spreadsheet is run into Soft & Teknik self-developed PC software, tag list and function blocks are autogenerated – which are then imported into PLC and operator panels.

The major time saving in the project is gained by controlling the addressing of data, texts and variables for a large number of screen pictures for I/O and sequence management via .NET technology and special templates. I/O and sequence management is the heart of brüel international online documentation and service solution. Jesper Bødewadt Dyhr Lorenzen maintains that a traditional HMI would not have been possible, and a SCADA solution not economically viable. I/O management alone would address more than 300 different screens and the sequencing would address an even higher amount. Instead six special templates are used as a basis for the screens.

Technology to gain competitiveness

Tomas Torp confirms that iX contributes to strengthen brüel international competitiveness in a challenging market:

"iX software in combination with Beijer Electronics panels from the TxA series raise the level of our products above those of our competitors. This include important benefits like user-friendliness. We help our customers get a maximum return on their investments."

Thanks to the 7" screen on the T7A panels, the operator has full control of the drying process. If, for example, one of the plastic boxes in the stack gets stuck, the display will immediately show where the stop is and what needs to be done.

"The old saying that "a picture is worth a thousand words" is very applicable here."

Tomas Torp mentions several advantages.The fact that all documentation is online, available on the HMI panel, is a major advantage. In addition to the operator getting help faster than using classical ring binders the new technique offers improved options for updating the material.

"We can help our customers optimize their system and prevent problems via remote monitoring and collection of operating statistics."

There is no risk of the operator making a mistake. There are three access levels in the system: administrator, engineer and operator. The information shown on the screen is controlled based on which access level the user is logged into.

The good connectivity options in iX also make troubleshooting and servicing more efficient. The software can naturally be updated remotely.

Huge international interest

All these new options have a major strategic significance. Having had most of their customer base in Europe, brüel international is now about to get their grips on the US market.

"The fact that the worlds largest retail chain has shown interest in return packaging for fruit and vegetables is expected to encourage more to follow."

For Jesper Bødewadt Dyhr Lorenzen and other development engineers, the true openness of iX is another major advantage. The built-in support for different automation components, such as PLCs and frequency inverters, is extensive.

"If, for instance, the buyer has standardized their other solutions around a specific PLC label there is no problem satisfying this wish."

The response to the iX based drying system, which is currently supplied, is very good. Drying with warm air requires a lot more energy and does not result in the same dry plastic box. The centrifuge can also be made more compact and, thus saves space.

"Our customers say they cant imagine going back to the previous generation of text-based displays," says Tomas Torp brüel international is continuing to invest actively in product development. The idea is to expand the use of iX to other parts of the range. Good experiences with iX have opened thier eyes to Beijer Electronics other products such as frequency inverters.

Written by Per Eriksson — Photography by Per Eriksson


 
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