Special machines for the production of photovoltaic and solar thermal modules are what the Spanish company Gorosabel specialises in. Individual applications demand flexible automation solutions that can be smoothly integrated into the systems. Therefore Gorosabel utilize the worldwide used PROFIBUS communication technology. With modern Remote I/O systems which support PROFIBUS (e.g. SAI Active from Weidmüller) Gorosabel has the possibility to create tailored transmission solutions for sensor and actuator signals with only one line to digitally transmit all signals. This meets the special requirements of the machines.
To prevent errors, Gorosabel had a clear requirement: "The solution used should be able to be installed near to the sensors and actuators so that we can gather the signals together where they are produced, directly in the field. In addition, it was important to us that the solution had simple wiring with standard M8 plug-in connectors, which is required by our sensors and power connector system," explained Ángel Leiaristi from Gorosabel's technical office.
One of Gorosabel's projects consisted of the planning and construction of a special soldering machine for photovoltaic modules. Using SAI Active, the machine constructor benefited from the simple integration into its engineering system Simatic Manager, without proprietary software, as well as from the comprehensive diagnostic properties that are supported also by PROFIBUS.
"As our special machines are in use around the world, simple diagnosis and maintenance are a particularly important aspect for us," Leiaristi said. "Our requirement is that the operators of our machines can easily handle all the system components. They should be able to find answers to questions during operation for themselves where possible and they should be able to quickly react accordingly. The simple diagnostic functions of SAI Active gave us a sense of security in this respect. Each input and output channel is continually polled to find out its status. When a fault is detected, this is indicated by easily recognisable signalling using arrow icons on the respective module. At the same time a report is transmitted directly to the PROFIBUS controller via the PROFIBUS protocol, or the network.
This allows a detailed system analysis to be carried out while the system is operating, and for a quick reaction in the event of a fault.
Machines for the production of photovoltaic and solar thermal modules require individual and flexibel automation solutions. PROFIBUS communication systems together with modern, very slim I/O components (e.g. SAI Active) are optimally suited to fulfill these requirements.