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Opening the door to productivity
24 February 2023
A renowned door manufacturer has seen a threefold increase in its productivity, thanks to its latest collaboration with Mitsubishi Electric, headed up by Michael Cafferkey
PROFILE DEVELOPMENTS, manufacturer of the Palladio Collection of premier composite doors for external applications, has been delivering durable, safe and stylish products to customers in Ireland and the UK for decades. The company’s manufacturing site in Glin already had a number of Mitsubishi Electric’s automation components installed across the facility ensuring availability and efficiency, including for its door press application line. Therefore, when the company wanted to build a new panel gluing unit to ramp up productivity, the selection of a suitable automation vendor was straightforward.
Michael Cafferkey, automation engineer at Mitsubishi Electric, visited the plant and discussed what new technologies were available, providing an insight into the components that would be best suited to deliver a comprehensive solution that would address Profile Developments needs. In effect, the production of a door involves multiple components that are layered together at separate stages. More precisely, monocoque models from the Palladio Door Collection require the two fiberglass-reinforced door outer skins to be glued, joined and pressed together.
Making an entrance
Similar to the existing setup, the new line was developed along a conveyor, which moves the doors through different stages. The products are sent to a glue machine, an assembling station where the frames are added and a roller press. With each part of the conveyor system powered by a motor, the speed of which has to be controlled by an inverter, a total of 19 drives were required to complete this project. To deliver the high level of accuracy needed for this application, Mitsubishi Electric’s FR-E series was selected for the unit.
Cafferkey explains: “It is really important that the movement of the conveyor is controlled accurately so that a door doesn’t miss a stage or spends the wrong amount of time in any production process. For example, the duration of the gluing and pressing processes has to be incredibly precise to ensure quality. The FR-E inverter range is ideal to address these exacting needs, as it offers advanced motor performance, precise control and high levels of reliability. It also features a compact design, which can be beneficial when many units have to fit onto a single production line.
To control the 19 VSDs, Profile Developments selected Mitsubishi Electric’s iQ-R series PLC, which comes with in-built CC-Link IE Field Basic network protocol as standard, allowing quick and easy communications with all VSDs.
In addition, the controller sends key information to an intuitive and user-friendly GT2510 widescreen HMI to maximise process visibility and accessibility. In effect, it helps operators monitor and interact with the drives, enabling adjustments to their speed when needed, helping to identify anomalies and interpret alarms as well as provide logs of production data.
To ensure compatibility and seamless data transfer, Mitsubishi Electric integrated with an existing third party remote I/O station, leveraging its products’ ability to comply with different communications protocols and communicate easily over EtherNet/IP.
Mitsubishi Electric played a key role in implementing, integrating and assisting in the setup of the new production line, in particular by supporting PLC programming activities.
The entire project was completed without incurring any downtime and, with the new line processing up to 12 doors per hour, Profile Developments has tripled its throughput. In effect, the plant in Glin can now produce 20-24 units every hour. Uptime has also improved, as the HMI helps users to be more proactive, in line with smart manufacturing frameworks.
Cafferkey concludes: “We highly value long-term relationship with customers, such as Profile Developments, and strive to help them continuously advance and futureproof their operations by leveraging the latest innovations in automation. The new system that has been developed is driving the competitiveness of Profile Developments while also being scalable, ensuring that it can support the future needs and ambitions of the company.”
Michael Cafferkey is automation engineer at Mitsubishi Electric
- When Profile Developments wanted to build a new panel gluing unit to ramp up productivity, it turned to Mitsubishi Electric for a solution
- With each part of the conveyor system powered by a motor, a total of 19 drives were required to complete the system
- To deliver the high level of accuracy needed for this application, Mitsubishi Electric’s FR-E series was selected for the unit