Industrial Automation Controls

  • UL/CUL
  • UL 508A & 698A Certified

IDC works with a wide range of industrial customers, including lawn and garden equipment manufacturers, tier 1 automotive suppliers, and automobile manufacturers to develop custom automation controls tailored to specific applications. IDC also works with a variety of municipal customers to provide specialized pump controls and monitoring systems.

IDC provides the ability to design and build complete control systems with a UL listed panel-build shop. IDC also builds custom panels from prints supplied by the customer and provides customized PLC and HMI programming as specified in machine sequences and control designs provided by the customer.

General Automation Controls

IDC has performed system integration for many types of industrial equipment:

  • Specialty test equipment for verifying proper operation of HVAC systems supplied to a variety of automotive companies by a Tier 1 supplier. Later versions of these testers have included serial communications with the various servos in the system in addition to the usual analog and binary control modes.
  • Hot forming presses for the aerospace industry with profiled air over oil ram operation, PID die temperature control, pressure forming control and the ability to restart in mid-cycle if the operator intervenes in the process. These systems also provide customized operator interface and diagnostic screens. In addition, part recipes may be stored and recalled using the HMI. All parameters including die zone temperatures, travel speeds and distances, tonnage at various ram positions and dwell times at each position are stored for retrieval at the next run of a particular product. 
  • Assembly machines with a variety of inspection sensors built into the process. These have ranged from single station, manually loaded and unloaded systems to complex palletized conveyor lines with more than 20 stations with automatic part feeders.
  • Component and collet feeder and weld head control on a friction welder for military applications, involving eight axes of motion. Six axes were AB Kinetix drives integrated directly into the PLC program. Several sizes of components involving different weld sequences along with programmable storage locations on the dial type feeders were required.

    This system was built in conjunction with a mechanical design and build source. The seventh axis was a high performance AB VFD drive used to spin the welding spindle up to 15000 RPM and maintain that speed within tight tolerances while hundreds of pounds of pressure were applied by an eighth servo axis to the components being welded. The pressure was altered depending on the position of the vertical axis under the control of yet another specialized control package supplied and configured by another party. Interaction with this 3rd party system was performed by binary I/O points. When the weld profile was complete, the rotary axis stopped within hundredths of seconds and the pressure was held at a preset point until the molten metal solidified.

    In addition to the eight axes controlled by our panel, there were an additional six axes controlled by a separate CNC system. The weld sequence selection along with collet and appurtenance choices were initiated by the CNC system. The weld head was positioned with a six axis CNC system and gantry mechanics and controls built earlier by yet another source. Communications between the CNC control and the AB PLC was accomplished by a custom multiplexed binary handshaking system developed in collaboration with the CNC system designer. E-stops on the two systems were interconnected for safety.
  • Conveyor systems for a glass manufacturing plant
  • Destructive pressure pulse testers which apply repeated pulses of preset pressure and duration until the devices under test fail. The number of pulses is counted during the test. These testers have been utilized for durability testing of radiator and heater cores as well as transmission coolers manufactured for a variety of auto manufacturers by a Tier 1 supplier.
  • Injection mold machines with closed loop barrel temperature control, profiled clamp and injection motions, and operator interaction and machine parameter adjustments provided on HMI devices.
  • Crankshaft grinders with automatic tool dressing and wheel wear compensation.
  • Bumper plating machines with automatic part tracking and plating rate control based on the type of bumpers on each rack.

Pump Control Systems

Most pump control panels have been simplex or duplex sewage pump lift station controls but IDC has also designed and built systems to control up to five 100 hp pumps.

IDC has worked with many municipal and industrial customers to design and build dozens of custom pump control panels. These systems have included sewage lift stations, well pump stations and high pressure pump stations, and water tower level controls. Most sewage lift stations have been built around a normal start and stop level pump down philosophy while some of the more specialized stations have required maintaining the level within a specified range, with variable frequency drives controlling multiple pumps at varying speeds to accomplish the level control as the influent flow varies.

Varying enclosure styles have been utilized, both for indoor and outdoor applications, depending on the customer’s needs. Additionally, some stations have included requirements to interact with automatic transfer switches and standby generators, others have operated from generator trailers with manual transfer switches in the event of a power outage.

SCADA systems have also been developed for communicating over spread spectrum, frequency hopping radio systems (or via dedicated telephone lines) and on more than one occasion we have been asked to correct problems in existing systems of this nature. Where required, such panels have been UL Listed as we are also a UL508 panel build facility.

The complexity of these SCADA systems has ranged from single remote stations monitored at a central site up to systems involving 40 or more stations scattered in multiple townships, communicating through radio links to a central site, with data collection and display capability. More recent examples of this type of system have generated Excel spreadsheet reports on a daily, monthly and annual basis, with both paper and electronic reports being generated.