Controls

Tough Problems, Tuff Solutions by Erica Bacon

When our client came to us they had a big problem to solve. They wanted to get several different parts to one location, in a specific sequence, while maintaining a timely workflow. Before coming to Tuff, they would have had to use a series of five over and unders to move their parts. Over and unders are useful in some situations but five of them would be cumbersome, not to mention expensive.

Tuff engineers designed one system of conveyors that work together to bring the correct parts to the operator. These parts are delivered in two separate dunnage containers (one for the right and one for the left). Once the parts are retrieved, the bins are directed back to their original place. Then the operator can choose the next parts to be delivered.

The system is also designed to store information so the machine would remember six steps ahead what would be needed next. This makes for a consistent workflow with very little down-time. The Tuff solution also saves time since the parts are all brought to one location. If the client had used any other method, their employees would have had to walk back and forth to retrieve the parts. This also causes less physical strain on the workers.

Do you have a material handling problem? Tuff Automation can save your company time and money too. Contact us today for a quote. You won’t be disappointed!

 

Tuff has diverse industrial networking experience by Erica Bacon

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Industrial networks are a necessary component of any automated material handling system. They are set up to use standard network protocols in rugged, industrial environments that require equipment to withstand vibration, extreme temperatures, humidity, and scalability. They require customization based on the environment and application of the machinery they control. Tuff Automation has experience working with and implementing a variety of industrial network protocols. Our deep familiarity with such an array of networks further ensures our ability to customize a system that meets your exact needs. Some common networks we've implemented include:

  • Ethernet (Ethernet IP/Profinet)
  • DeviceNet
  • ControlNet
  • Profibus
  • ASI
  • and many more.

In-depth industrial networking experience is essential to building a comprehensive controls system. In cabling, bandwidth calculations, and future planning, Tuff Automation has the experience you need to make sure your system runs efficiently—without a hitch.

Inquire here to learn more about what we can do for you.

Quality assurance with photo evidence. by Erica Bacon

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The benefits of quality assurance don't stop at establishing a good relationships with your customers. Doing everything you can to make sure your product is flawless can also save you thousands of dollars in damages. If a product fails and you have no way to prove the cause of the failure happened after the product was out of your hands, then you’re setting yourself up to pay hefty, undue legal fees.

One way our customers have addressed this risk is with our build line QA camera system. The system is custom programmed by Tuff engineers to take a photo, record the necessary information to identify the product, and store the photo with that information. That way, in the event something happens to a product down the line and your customer starts investigating the point of error, you have the proof to keep your reputation clear.

camera build line quality assurance system

The system operates with a number of cameras attached by USB to a PC. The PC searches for a signal from the build line PLC, which then commands the cameras to take a photo and provides the product information (such as a serial number). Together, that information is sent back to the PC and stored for later reference.

Our current software is programmed to work with iCube cameras. It can support up to 4 cameras simultaneously on a single computer, enabling you to get pictures from multiple angles. The file names of the photos can include string data from the PLC and the date, time, and camera name as necessary. The software is compatible with ControlLogix/CompactLogix processors and uses an Ingear.Net software library, so no OPC is required.

The style of lens and the lighting necessary to take good photos will depend on the environment and application. We can work with you to figure out the best configuration of the system for it to work optimally in your environment. Tuff has worked on a variety of build line systems—with our experience you can rest assured that the integration of your camera system will go seamlessly.

View a presentation on the Build Line Camera QA System.

icube camera application plc system pc