Control solution for the production process in the precast concrete plant

2/15/2016

WAvision: control solution for automated production

A master computer that takes over process and production planning and controls the plant is a prerequisite for automating production processes. With WAvision and for the production of precast concrete parts, Weckenmann has now developed a control tool that uses all available data in the company and unifies administration, work preparation, production and reporting in one system.

The newly developed WAvision Manufacturing Execution System from Weckenmann is the result of interdisciplinary collaboration between software developers and machine designers. The results of customer surveys were also fed into the development. On this basis, the in-house control specialists developed a modern, userfriendly solution in collaboration with the experts at graniIT GmbH, who already have years of experience in the field of production control of precast concrete manufacturing for residential and commercial construction.

Interface problems due to different partial solutions are a thing of the past, because WAvision can easily be connected to different systems for control of automated precast concrete component production. WAvision becomes the central interface for all available data in the company. It processes the CAD data and makes this available to individual processing stations, optimizes the data, material and work flow, takes over storage yard administration, reporting, malfunction evaluation and monitors servicing and maintenance. So WAvision is the coordinator between order, machine and production.

The WAvision control system consists of modules that can be selected and implemented as a total package or separately, depending on requirements and is being used successfully by diverse customers in Russia, Kazakhstan and even the US.

The following individual modules are available and are explained in greater detail below:

  • ProductionManager: order administration and CAD data visualisation

  • ProductionControl: control of production systems

  • WebInfo: web portal for report preparation and display of plant status

  • WebFlow: visualisation of pallet circulation

  • Reports: preparation of customer specific reports

  • StorageMaster: module for efficient storage yard administration

Pallet assignment visualisation

ProductionManager

Molin Concrete Products recently put one of the most modern precast concrete component plants for the production of floors and walls in the US into operation. The plant is controlled by the WAvision master computer from Weckenmann. ProductionManager is the central authority for administration and control of the production system: It verifies the geometric data of the concrete element and prepares it for production. In the process, the DXF CAD data is converted to the current UT 6.0 data format. The dimensions can be transferred at a scale of 1:1, or in accordance with a specially-defined scale. In addition, the units of measurement can easily be converted from the metric to the imperial system. The CPO (cleaning, plotting, oiling) station at Molin is equipped with a spray unit that automatically sprays retarder on the pallets in accordance with the CAD data. In this case, four different types of retarder coating are used. The specific coating type is indicated by the colour index in the CAD data. The plotter nozzle spray width and edge clearance of the coating areas are recorded in the program. In addition, the different end products being manufactured and their particular properties (thickness, concrete density, hardening time, etc.) are recorded in the program.

Project planning or specification of production sequences is also controlled by ProductionManager. In the process, both project-oriented production planning, in which building site requirements determine the production sequence, and production planning based on a fixed storage yard system are supported. The integrated library function allows previously prepared data to be reimported for recurring projects. The Reports module enables the user to call up different lists/ reports, from overall production to projects and individual production units.

Armaton, the Russian concrete specialist, operates a state-of-the-art precast concrete component plant in the Novosibirsk region. Armaton plans building types with 14, 17 and 25 floors. The required wall elements, up to 425,000 m², are produced on a circulating system. The Weckenmann WAvision master computer also directs the circulation system. At Armaton, the master computer coordinates the production flow with work preparation data, specifies the required formwork profile and monitors the manufacturing process. Here, too, ProductionManager administers and controls the production plant and prepares the CAD data for production. The production systems can be conveniently controlled through the ControlCenter. At the same time, a continuous overview of production and pallet assignment is assured at all times. Reports and labels can be automatically generated upon request.

ProductionControl and WebInfo

Basically, the pallet movements are controlled with the ProductionControl unit. Pallet assignment and production process are visible at a glance in the ProductionControl visualisation. In addition, the work papers required for production, such as configuration sheets or labels, are automatically printed. This is also where the data for the plotter or formwork robot, such as assign ment to the appropriate palette, is made available and the production data, such as pre-curing and curing time, production number, etc. are transferred to circulation control. The visualisation from the WebInfo module can be called up independent of the operating system (Windows, Android, iOS) with any popular browser. This means that the visualisation functions on every PC and all mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The following functionalities are retrievable:

  • Information about circulation positions and their assignment

  • Information about all plant components and control points (positions, status, protection devices)

  • Assignment overview and status in the curing chamber

  • Operation of the heating controls,temperature profile display

  • Possibilities for manual intervention: adjustment of curing times, change of retrieval sequence and direct manual retrieval

  • Display of message texts and malfunctions

WebFlow

Further module options are WebFlow, which enables visualisation of pallet circulation or the plant. This module operates with every popular browser as well as iOS and Android. Customer-specific work reports can be created with the Reports software element, if the standard evaluations are not sufficient. The Reportdesigner can access all of the WAvision system database tables. StorageMaster makes efficient storage yard administration possible; the necessary data is recorded using barcodes and RFID.

Summary

With the WAvision control technology, Weckenmann now offers everything from a single source: from consultation and production-related planning to the supply of sophisticated plants and machines and optimal control of individual, automated production steps.
John Saccomann, Vice-President of Molin Concrete Products, explains: “We are convinced that we found the best solution for us with the total package from Weckenmann. Our entire production process is computer-controlled. That means higher, consistent quality and faster product availability. And that pays off.”

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