Customer had 6 batch material mixing systems with obsolete RFID hardware and no straight-forward upgrade path. Installed PLC Platform are obsolete Mitsubishi A series. Due to this customers number of machines they can internally supply spare parts from other upgraded machines that were non-critical path upgrades to keep these “critical path” batch material mixing systems working. These batch systems simply could not be taken offline for the duration of a total system upgrade and still meet customer demand for product.
The issue to work around was the specific hardware constraint of the Mitsubishi A series only being able to have up to 6 serial communication cards. The work around was to use Mitsubishi’s Melsec Net-H cards/protocol to move the RFID data to a new Q series platform. The Q series platform then managed the RFID serial data flow connections when the sequence called for reading or writing batch information to the traveling container. The traveling container had to go thru 4 stations for the addition of specific materials as called for by the batch “recipe” and then into a mixing process. Using this A to Q platform, CAI was able to implement the hardware and software change overs using multiple 8-hour time windows of normal weekly down time to implement, test and verify the process. After each segment was tested and verified then the old Sunx RFID system was removed and the new Omron RFID hardware was put into functional location. This final step was a 4 to 8-hour process and was done when customer had adequate buffer stock of finished material to keep the downstream production process in full manufacturing mode.