Established in 1970, IDC has extensive experience in industrial control systems including hardware solutions and programmable logic controllers, servo systems, robots and instrumentation. Our major PLC experience has been with Allen Bradley and Modicon, but we have also worked with Texas Instruments, GE, Reliance, Mitsubishi, Omron, Square D and Honeywell/ISSC.
Our experience with Modicon controllers includes projects using everything from 084 through 984, and even a rare 1084 (S/N 1). We have utilized Factorymate operator interfaces on multiple applications, and have experience with Modicon’s motion control family of products. We have applied Modicon controllers on projects like the following:
- sewage pump controls, from simple to complex with analog inputs and multiple pumps.
- stacker cranes used to store, retrieve and track automobiles during emissions testing.
- broach machines with tilting part cradles and resolver feedback to allow adjustment of the cut angle to an accuracy of 0.01 degrees.
- plating machines with control of conveyor system and plating currents up to 30,000 amps utilizing feedback based on shunts on the plating bus.
- pick and place press line automation.
- material handling systems from simple conveyors to multiple accumulating conveyors feeding into assembly stations.
- multi-axis transfers with automatic die identification generating corresponding transfer path changes.
Within the Allen Bradley line of controllers, we have worked with everything from the original PLC through the PLC/5 series, SLC series and the newer MicroLogix, CompactLogix and ControlLogix series. We’ve been involved in deploying AB communications networks ranging from Remote I/O up through DeviceNet, ControlNet, Ethernet IP and general Ethernet communications networks including both wired and wireless deployments. We have also worked with AB’s motion controls (including Kinetix multi-axis servo systems using Servos communications), vision products, ASCII modules, Ethernet modules, and Prosoft communication interfaces. We have applied these systems to a broad range of applications such as:
- diesel crankshaft grinders with automatic tool dressing and wheel wear compensation.
- injection mold machines with closed loop barrel temperature control, profiled clamp and injection motions.
- assembly and welding machines that assemble parts and interface with weld controllers, including recent work with friction welders used by suppliers to the military.
- operator interaction and machine parameter adjustments provided on T-30C, PanelView, VersaView and Panelview Plus terminals.
- pump panels utilizing both large and small AB controllers, including a multi-pump storm water pumping system with motors automatically started and sequenced with automatic pump skipping if they failed to start.
- blower motor/damper servo testers for automotive HVAC components in production, including testers using RS-485 serial communications to the servo systems. Prior testers of this sort required PC based software; we were successful in implementing these protocols within PLC systems, significantly reducing the complexity and cost of the overall applications.
- pressure pulse testers that apply pulses of a fixed amount of pressure until the devices under test fail with data collection throughout the process.
- Verification of die setup on a complex multi-press line to allow monitoring of the die shoes installed in each of the presses, the shims installed in each of the die stations, and the die sets installed on top of the shims. This was accomplished via RF ID tags installed on all components of the system. Each die set at each press was verified for proper setup prior to die change. After the new dies were rolled into the presses the configuration in each press was verified against a master recipe for the line to ensure that all components were properly installed for the required part being produced. This system utilized an Allen Bradley ControlLogix Processor, Panelview Plus operator interface and DeviceNet communication to the network of RF ID tag readers, with Profibus communication to the press controls.
In recent years, we have partnered with a mechanical design and build firm to develop an optically guided automatic cart control system that allows automatic carts to follow magnetic or colored tape laid on factory floors, rather than requiring installation of buried cables. This has been successfully installed in a variety of industries including automotive, agricultural and heavy construction manufacturing. The range of installed systems runs the gamut from single stand-alone carts to complex systems with wireless Ethernet communications between the carts and a central control system to systems of intermediate complexity with wireless cart-to-cart communications. Several systems communicate with robots and operator manipulator tools used to load or unload the carts at the ends of their travels. The tape allows easy modification of cart paths as well as being significantly less expensive to install and maintain. On board dead-reckoning capability allows the carts to ignore small to moderate gaps in the taped path while maintaining the ability to shut down if there is no path detection within a specified travel distance. We are currently working on next generation automatic cart control system to use radio frequency and little to no tape.
We also manufacture and market a line of strain-sensing instruments for stamping presses, assembly machines, piercing operations, etc. Our TM90 Press Load Monitors offer sophisticated press & die protection, with options to communicate with PLCs and computers. We have deployed a number of plant-wide systems that included:
- TM90 systems with Ethernet interface to a server
- Ethernet and Remote I/O or ControlNet interface to press controls as needed
- a database server collecting full-time signature records and automatically downloading recipes for each die change via Ethernet
- Web server user interface to allow anyone on the network to view and monitor signatures and status while allowing authorized individuals to perform management and setup functions
Similarly, our PM90 series Process Monitor can be used for in-process monitoring of sophisticated force parameters in assembly, bending, piercing, riveting or other operations where the pattern of force produced by the process represents a measure of the quality of the operation or part. It is also useful for production testing of operating forces of assembled components such as seat tracks, mirror brackets, spindles, and so on.
We have built a number of specialized computer-based data acquisition and control systems for both customer research and for self-monitoring production systems. In many of these systems we use strain sensors that we custom designed and built in-house to fit the specialized needs of the machinery. We have also interfaced with Profibus sensors and magneto-strictive linear transducers on some projects.
As part of our instrumentation capability, we design and build circuit boards and interface modules for many specialized I/O applications such as:
- Commutation sensor and interface to PLC for automotive servo testers
- PWM module interfacing PLC to automotive servos, emulating car systems in HVAC tests
- Calibrated motor shunt amplifier to scale HVAC blower current for PLC input
- PLC-controlled regulated current source module
- PLC-controlled DC Voltage power amplifier
- Verification of the presence or absence of noise suppression capacitors on actuator motors for a major automotive door lock manufacturer’s assembly line. Some models required the capacitors, others required that they not be installed, while the motor and gearing remained identical between the models.
In the municipal potable and waste-water fields, we have designed and implemented a plethora of systems ranging from stand-alone pump control panels to complex multi-station SCADA systems utilizing spread-spectrum frequency hopping radio communications. Some of these systems have used wireless Ethernet protocol with user access to web pages in each PLC in the system while others have been polling based systems using proprietary protocols and displaying data from all stations on a central computer.
In summary, IDC Corporation is a well-established controls engineering and UL-listed panel build shop with extensive experience in industrial controls, instrumentation and manufacturing systems. CSA certification can also be provided as needed.