A national automotive research and develop center had an environmental testing cell that required updates. The operation of the cell was limited to basic functions and the customer was unable to capitalize fully on the testing chamber. Older PLC equipment was becoming increasing more expensive and harder to find and, in some cases, forced the customer to look at second hand or refurbished parts for replacing components. The user interface was developed by a software company that was no longer in business and the application was no longer capable of running. The customer was looking for a manageable alternative, eliminate the need for a personal computer in the testing cell and obtain more critical data from their testing process.
ONYX Engineering was able to provide a cost-effective solution that also incorporated equipment that the customer was already familiar with and used in their manufacturing plants. Replacing the existing PLC with an updated version allowed a simple conversion of the base code. Additional programming modules incorporated data logging for temperatures and light intensity to meet the demand for better process data from the test chamber. The SCADA system was replaced with a dedicated HMI application that provided operators and engineers ease of use and had the same look and feel as other systems in the facility. Additional functionality was incorporated to provide the ability to create custom temperature/intensity profiles and accurately record the results.
The environmental chamber upgrades increased the usability, efficiency and traceability of the testing cell. These improvements allowed the customer to improve the quality of the data obtained from the testing chamber. The resulting system gives the customer a superior level of environmental testing as required for the automotive industry.