PROFIBUS supports tire assembly at FORD, Genk (Belgium)

During final assembly in car manufacturing, the four wheels must be synchronized with the appropriate car so they can be fitted accurately and as easily as possible. Ford Genk assembles the different versions of the Mondeo and Ford Transit. The various types of vehicle move along the conveyor system to the assembly area in random sequence. Automated intelligence is required to ensure the correct wheel reaches the correct vehicle at the correct time. Each wheel must then be positioned as accurately as possible so the production line worker need only lift it a few centimeters to center it on the axle before loosely fastening the wheel nuts.

PROFIBUS DP is used to provide a solution to this automation problem. Twelve networked distributed I/O devices , each with 32 digital I/O and two analog outputs, use PROFIBUS DP to synchronize and control the supply of wheels to the assembly line. Compact and flat, the ET 200B fits into even the smallest switchgear cubicles, where it can be installed directly on the bus or the backplane. The PROFIBUS DP interface is already integrated. The functionality of the ET 200B is determined by a plug-in electronic block, which can be easily replaced. This means the wiring does not have to be touched.

Development of the system and project lead time was very short. The solution fulfilled all user requrements. Familiarization with the system was accelerated by training the system operators on-site, directly on the PROFIBUS network.