Sweeping away the dust of traditional engineering
Dust extraction manufacturer Dustcontrol is about to launch its “Smart Panel” project as they look to standardize the controls of their industrial dust extraction machines. Max af Klintberg is Dustcontrol’s Product Manager for Stationary Systems - and here, he explains how Dustcontrol are working with Beijer Electronics to implement an automation solution including X2 control with CODESYS, iX software and frequency inverters on a number of machines as a standard solution.
Dustcontrol was founded in Sweden in 1972, and has grown from a local manufacturer to a global organization offering tools required to establish a clean workplace and an undisrupted production across multiple industries and disciplines. Wherever there is dust, Dustcontrol’s machines can remove it, generating cleaner air and a safer working environment. There are two main divisions: mobile dust extractors; and larger, stationary machines.
The initiative of “Smart Panel” project is looking to provide a standardized solution across 90% of their stationary units and to achieve a scalable automation solution for customers globally.
What were some of the challenges faced by Dustcontrol leading up to this project?
Max af Klintberg: Dustcontrol has been in business for 47 years and there are currently thousands of units in industrial facilities all over the world. Up until now, these have been built individually, customized to each customer requirements and need, including the control system. We saw the need to develop a standardize automation- and control solution which could be applied no matter the set-up. Developing such a system has been a key priority as we believe it would have a big return on investment. However, a project of this scale would require a lot of resources, resources which we do not have inhouse. Therefore we decided it was necessary to bring in a third-party supplier to provided us with the support we needed.
“I would estimate that this project will provide us with a 75% reduction in installation and configuration time as we set up new machines.”
What was your selection process, and what led you to choose Beijer Electronics?
MK: We looked at several suppliers, and to be honest most of them put forward a solution that fitted the practical side of the brief. Beijer Electronics had the best technical “recipe” in our opinion: it was flexible and easy to replicate for our needs. The X2 control HMI in tandem with iX software provided a compact solution with few parts that would allow us to almost “Plug and Play” during any new machine installation. The user experience is seamless and the graphics look great.
But the thing that really set Beijer apart was their level of support and expertise - and their commitment to being part of the project team, helping us at every stage of the development.
What will the Smart Panel project allow you to do?
MK: In most of our stationary machines the process will stay the same. We will be able to monitor operating temperatures, air flow, static pressure and other vital functions. The X2 control is a great HMI for us because of its built-in PLC which give us the opportunity for a centralized CPU and placing distributing I/Os where needed.
Once we have completed the beta testing on the iX software here in Sweden, we can roll out the project to the rest of the world end of March 2020. Our colleagues in other regions have historically built their own automation solutions into their machines, but if this project is successful in Sweden it will provide the entire organization with an “off the shelf” product that we can get up and running in just a few minutes.
Of course, this is just the beginning. An automation project like this also allows us to gather data, so we will be able to use it in future innovation and development.
What expectations do you have for the outcome of this project?
MK: I would estimate that this project will provide us with a 75% reduction in installation and configuration time as we set up new machines. But it will also give us significant benefits in terms of preventative maintenance, as well as helping us provide better service and support to our customers. Ultimately, it will free up time for us to drive new business and expand our offering.
Max af Klintberg, Product Manager for Stationary Systems at Dustcotnrol is looking forward to roll out their "Smart panel" project world-wide, with the ambition to standardize 90 % of their stationary units and to achieve a scalable automation solution.
What are the best things about working with Beijer Electronics?
MK: Their support during this project has been incredible. Our technical point of contact at Beijer Electronics has really become part of the team - helping to manage the entire project and geting everyone up to speed. The level of expertise, experience and knowledge that they have means they immediately grasp what the issue is - and how to fix it. And the great thing is they do not just help with their own products, but with our entire set of challenges around future cloud connectivity, and the solutions that are out there that would work best to give us what we need.
The support Beijer provide was definitely the deal-breaker for us.