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Case Studies

Fiberboard Production at Odenwald Faserplattenwerk (Germany)


Odenwald Fiberboard Production Facilities have worldwide market leadership as a producer of ceiling paneling systems. The large majority of these ceiling panels is mounted in supermarkets, office buildings and schools. The target was to install a new production line offering opportunities to produce not only standard products but differing products, i.e. a wide product range, with consistent requirements such as reduced changeover times and reduced number of process operators required.

The new production line consists of various machinery equipment connected by means of a conveying belt. In total more than 200 m have to be covered. Machining procedures are as follows: grinding, priming, pressing, sawing, coating, and packaging. All production cycles are equipped with Danfoss frequency converters for automatic speed control of the motors used and PLCs made by Siemens. Due to the company's decision to use a serial communications systems and to integrate devices manufactured by various vendors, a vendor-independent and standardized transmission technology was required.
Because all of these requirements can be met by PROFIBUS DP, the choice was easy.
All signals (e.g., initiators, temperature sensors ) are collected on site by means of distributed I/O devices with machine interfaces and transmitted to the PLC on a simple shielded twisted pair cable. The resulting benefit was that pre-acceptance inspection of each machinery could take place prior to installation, thus reducing the necessary installation effort of the commissioning phase, because only one cable pair had to be connected with the PLC cabinet and the frequency converters.

The use of PROFIBUS DP ensures simple adjustment to production requirements with increased output capacity. Individual machining programs can be changed quickly. Production releases are entered in the central operator communication system signaling program execution to the PLC. PROFIBUS transmits control commands and other information required to the specific field devices. Potential systems extensions can easily be realized, i.e., if the automation level is to be increased. Less cabling also means enhanced safety and reliability. Electromagnetic interference on cables is lowered.
The availability of the overall production line is improved by means of the fast fault diagnosis capability, enabled through PROFIBUS' serial communications.
The business objective set by Odenwald Inc. when starting up this new production line was achieved. A comparison with the previous unit clearly identifies the benefits involved: only half of the personnel formerly required is necessary for operation's, product changeover can be realized easily, output capacity was significanlty increased. Convincing arguments for Odenwald's management to rely on this technology, look for further implementation opportunities and upgrade existing plants.

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