Updated controls make for high-class glass

Jan. 26, 2006
A maker of glass-bending and tempering equipment got bent out of shape when it found out components in its proprietary black-box control system were being phased out.

The curved automotive glass in this gull-wing car can only be made with special manufacturing systems like this furnace line from Glasstech Inc. When components in its proprietary control system became obsolete, Glasstech updated its line with Allen-Bradley ControlLogix controllers along with 1394 ac and Ultra 3000 servodrive systems.

This gave the company — Glasstech Inc. of Perrysburg, Ohio (glasstech.com) — motivation to implement new process controls with motion-control technology from Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee.

Until recently, the Glasstech control system worked adequately but had limitations. The hardware used to down-load its open-loop control programs was custom designed. The operator interface was strictly text, and process information was simply logged to a printer — if it was logged at all.

The updated version uses an Allen-Bradley ControlLogix system along with 1394 ac servo-drives, Ultra 3000 digital servo-drives, and the PanelView 1000 operator terminals from Rockwell Automation.

The ControlLogix closed-loop servocontrol produces faster cycle times in the mold and shuttle sequences. In addition, the PanelView 1000 operator terminal now generates full-color graphics for machine control. Recipes are stored with descriptive information on a hard drive and are downloaded as needed. The production monitor also records key data for print out or historical review.

The system can retrofit existing machines. Guardian Industries Corp., in Auburn Hills, Mich., updated their Glasstech systems at their automotive plant in Ligonier, Ind. The plant was operating at capacity, so the upgrade team completed the retrofit in two phases during holiday shutdowns. According to the company, the new system boosts productivity, reduces downtime, and operators need less training to run it.

Allen-Bradley/Rockwell Automation,
(414) 382-2000, ab.com
Glasstech Inc., (419) 661-9500, glasstech.com
Guardian Automotive Products Inc., (260) 894-7750, guardian.com

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