Manfuacturing Communication Software Supports Automation of Wire Production Processes
Rea Magnet Wire uses Kepware Communications Software
By Margaret Beigle, Contributing Editor
Rea Magnet Wire is using Kepware, a communications software provider for high quality and proven communications for automation, for its wire production processes. Kepware's industrial communications is delivering Rea Magnet Wire its OPC driver technology which has been designed and tested for the demands of it's automation applications in several of its wire production plants. The company has been around since the 1930s, and has found it needs to maintain a competitive edge using technology and streamlining their production processes. Their main product is film insulated magnet wire. It is copper or aluminum wire with an insulating layer on it that is thin and temperature-resistant. It is used in winding wire coils that are used to create magnetic fields used in motors, transformers, and electronic devices.
Rea Magnet Wire uses Kepware's communications software they term as an OPC communications driver. Kepware's OPC communications driver helps them connect to their SCADA system they use in several of their manufacturing plants that monitors their production equipment. The data is recorded on a plant-wide basis for monitoring and tracking. This allows them to display data in real-time for monitoring the plant and also to save data for historical analysis.
John Haydock, Control Systems Engineering Manager at Rea Magnet Wire, states “Kepware provides us the communication we need for connecting our software applications to shop floor control systems such as our GE Fanuc iFix and Proficy Historian. We have been really happy with Kepware and we have standardized all of our plants on it."
Rea Magnet Wire’s process data system (PDS) has been evolving over the last ten years. Early on they were using PCs on the plant floor and a multitude of different communications drivers to connect to the various programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Their system have been made more robust through the expansion of Ethernet technologies and controls tools that have enabled them to connect them plant floor devices over the Ethernet. This enables Rea Magnet Wire to integrate multiple plant floor machines using a single server. They use Kepware as the communication driver as it delivers them lots of flexibility and options in being able to connect to plant floor devices. Rea Magnet Wire is able to communicate from plant floor devices through Ethernet to a server and its single suite of communications drivers to move data into the GE Fanuc iFix software.
The end result has been a life-saver in terms of efficiency especially when having to manage working with legacy equipment. There are some 100 devices per plant ranging from more current PLCs with Ethernet communication capability down to single loop temperature controllers that needed the help of Kepware's products. As Haydock noted, "these older devices add a level of difficulty which Kepware has helped us to address." Similar to Rea Magnet Wire's application, Kepware seems to be known in the process control and industrial automation industry as a company that goes out of its way to help its customers in enhancing their HMI and SCADA software applications by enabling connectivity, reducing development time, and improving overall results.