Wednesday, September 3, 2014

PROFIBUS Pizza with a COMbricks topping!

What do pizza and PROFIBUS have in common with each other? Cheese! 

Bandini Cheese is a South African cheese manufacturer supplying their products to numerous pizza restaurants around South Africa. They are always striving to provide the highest quality products and this ethos can been seen in other aspects of their manufacturing process. For them, the up-time of their PROFIBUS network is critical - not only do they have expectant customers, but the very nature of the cheese making process means that batches cannot just sit around while technicians try to troubleshoot the PROFIBUS network.

Realizing this, the engineers and technicians working on the plant attended the certified PROFIBUS Engineers Course at the South African PROFIBUS Competence Centre (PCC). It was here that they heard of new innovative product called COMbricks and they became one of the first companies to implement the COMbricks solution. 

Solution to what? The problem is knowing the health of the PROFIBUS network. This can be determined by looking at how many corrupted, repeated, illegal or diagnosic messages are passing through the network and of course by looking at the signal itself. COMbricks can do all of this and report on any errors before they become failures. 

Bandini optimized their network by adopting a tree layout verses a linear layout. A PROFIBUS cable connects the PLC in the control room to a COMbricks Scope Repeater Module. 5 more Scope Repeater Modules are used to repeat the signal to 5 new PROFIBUS segments running to different areas of the plant, each of which loop back to a location near the COMbricks. Active terminators are used at the ends of these segments so that if a slave fails or needs to be replaced, the segment is unaffected by reflections caused by an un-powered termination. This layout makes troubleshooting much simpler. 

Being able to share the reports that the COMbricks produces with experts at the South African PCC, brings the expert to the site without him having to travel there. Even a screen shot in an email can be a much quicker way of trying to diagnose what the problem is. We can quickly narrow down the problem to the segment connected to slot 7 of the COMbricks - awesome! 

How about some Salt and Pepper with that Pizza?




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