Bühler develops WinCos plant control system

by World Grain Staff
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UZWIL, SWITZERLAND — With WinCos, Bühler has developed an automation system which combines process technology and automation. WinCos automatically fulfils the planning function for product lines and performs it. It records all production operations and individual data and generates the necessary reports for all machines and devices. The system also creates the production statistics and determines key production indicators (KPI’s). 

Any reports and statistics created can be exported to Microsoft Office format, thanks to standardized interfaces, thereby allowing for offline data analysis. Continuous production logging enables users to pass on information to the next work shift.

The control system is based on Microsoft Windows operating systems. The user-friendly process visualization (graphical representation of the plant) is built on a dedicated software that has been developed in-house. Process data is stored in relational databases that rely on Microsoft SQLServer technology. The system’s hardware comprises of commercially available PC’s offering an appropriate level of performance for any given plant requirements. All computers and PLC’s (programmable logic controllers) are connected to a standard Ethernet network using TCP/IP protocol. Communication between PLC and plant control level is facilitated via the standardized OPC (OLE for Process Control) interface. The PLC system performs the interlocking and control functions of the process and is based on Siemens’ and Allen-Bradley’s market-leading platforms. Standardized, modern switchgear and control cabinets ensure reliable transmission of the signals and the energy to the motors and the control elements of the process level.

In responding to rapid changes in the market and increasing competitive pressure Bühler customers rely on WinCos’ sustainable design. With more than 80 modules and add-on technology it is highly modular and scalable. Thus, WinCos can be easily tailored to any company size and its requirements. Its decentralized, cost-saving control concept allows for precise control and enhances the customer’s profitability. 

An optimized quality assurance is guaranteed by a seamless data security conception and consistent documentation of user interferences and error messages.

To prevent product safety from becoming an issue in the first place, WinCos offers a wide range of functions to secure top product quality.

Product traceability is an extremely important module with food safety background. It records production weights, analyzes the integrated process lines and maps the entire product flow from raw material to final product. If needed, an easy-to-understand graphical visualization helps analyze the product flow forwards and backwards.

Intelligent sensors, like Bühler’s new NIR Multi Online Analyzer, are seamlessly interfaced to WinCos. Within split seconds, it helps identify product errors or automatically monitors for example moisture and ash content. Combined with control loops, for example for gluten, deviations can be corrected quickly and during ongoing production.

WinCos also offers an array of key performance indicators on line and overall plant level, such as Downtime Analysis or Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). Performance indicators are accurately recorded and analyzed and thus help the operator to ensure maximum plant uptime.

WinCos Recipe Management traces all recipe versions and production batches and stores them centrally. It ensures consistent product quality and dependable, reproducible production.

The Energy Management module helps save effectively on energy costs by monitoring energy con-sumption and planning for balancing loads. Respective limits and alarms support the operator in this cost-relevant task.

Intelligent Route Navigation is an essential tool to optimize processes and save on energy and costs as far as physical production routes are concerned. By means of this module, WinCos automatically selects the most efficient path through the production chain and prevents clashes.

Usability thanks to focusing on the individual operator and their needs

Operators need full control over their plant and the possibility to quickly intervene whenever necessary. For this reason the user interface and operating principle in WinCos has been designed in a simple and intuitive way.

Remote access including machine control ensure that not only the customer has full access to his plant and single machines anytime from anywhere. It also enables Bühler to execute fast and targeted remote service and support which in turn maximizes plant availability.

Last but not least, via the WinCos user interface key production information is always available at a glance and provides operators with full control over their processes.