Practical Winery Magazine - "Programmable Logic Controllers Key to New High Speed Bottling Line at Robert Mondavi Winery - Woodbridge"

        There are many innovations at the Robert Mondavi Winery-Woodbridge. None is more impressive to a winery engineer than the new high-speed, efficient bottling line. Installed in 1996, the line boasts state-of-the-art equipment and controls. Every piece of equipment on the line, as well as the line itself, is controlled by an Allen-Bradley programmable logic controller (PLC). chanel replica A PLC is a control device which can take any number of inputs (such as pushbuttons, limit switches, or photo eyes) and combine or manipulate them using a set of user-defined instructions to produce outputs (such as energizing a motor starter, solenoid, or indicator light). chanel replica handbags The use of PLCs makes this line fast, efficient, flexible, and user-friendly.

        As a bottling line expands, the controls become more complex and too difficult to manage with standard hard-wired relay control. PLCs can be used to simplify control of such systems while providing flexibility for changes or growth. In the long run, this reduces maintenance costs and cost of expanding the system with new input devices. The new Woodbridge bottling line demonstrates how a PLC can link all of the bottling line equipment together into one complete process. chanel replica sale The Krones "Monoblock" (rinser/filler/corker) and Slat Divider controls the flow of bottles smoothly and quietly, yet can clean, fill, and cork bottles at an ultimate speed of 600 bottles per minute (BPM) for 750ml bottles or 450 BPM for 1.5L bottles. The line currently operates at 325 BPM (750ml) and 225 BPM (1.5L). chanel replica When Mondavi-Woodbridge installs a second labeler, the line will achieve maximum design speed. The Krones Monoblock's graphical interface allows operators to make adjustments and locate problems quickly and easily. The Krones uncaser, combiner, and labeler units, and Alvey palletizer are similarly controlled and feature easy-to-use operator interfaces and displays.

        At the heart of the bottling line are a custom motor control center and an Allen-Bradley SLC5/03 PLC control system - designed by Arthur Engineering in conjunction with winery staff - which control the conveyors and bottling chains between the machines. The motor-control center design incorporates small dimension starters for approximately 120 motors in a compact space-saving enclosure. The SLC 5/03 control system is arranged, wired, and programmed for maximum flexibility, future upgrades, and easy troubleshooting. The control system incorporates a feature called remote input/output (I/O), which maximizes flexibility and allows for easy addition of devices or control elements in the future. Inside the operator control stations, at different points on the line, are Allen-Bradley addressable remote I/O blocks which talk to the PLC over a single twisted pair remote I/O cable. chanel replica handbags This allows the operator-controlled devices (pushbuttons, selector switches, etc.) and other control elements on the line (photo-eyes, proximity sensors, etc.) to be wired to these remote I/O blocks rather than all the way back to the main PLC at the line motor control center. In addition to saving a tremendous amount of wiring, this makes it quicker and easier to add devices when required.

        The bottling line PLC is connected to a data highway which links it to the Krones Monoblock and Krones Labeler so that information can be shared between the devices to coordinate the bottling line activities. For example, if a backup occurs in one of the two bottle lanes downstream of the filler, the line PLC tells the Krones slat divider to divert bottles to the other bottle lane and slow the filler. Also, while tracking the speed of the labeler, the line PLC adjusts the speed of variable frequency drives to slow or speed up the conveyors feeding into and out of the labeler. The key advantage to this type of PLC control system is flexibility. Woodbridge can make simple or very complex changes to the operation of the line simply by revising the control program. In most instances, rewiring is not even required. With the SLC5/03 control system, these changes can be made on-line (while operating), so results can be seen immediately, without disrupting the process.

        Another advantage of this system is the ability to collect all data from various machine PLCs along the line and graphically display different parameters on a personal computer anywhere in the winery, using any of dozens of available automation software packages. The Woodbridge winery plans to use such software in the future for down-time monitoring and performance trending. The line control system and program have been designed to simplify the future installation of such a system.

        Bottling line controls must be designed for flexibility. The PLC can easily be instructed (through relatively simple programming changes) to do something else - to do it faster, wait ten seconds for the filler to catch up instead of eight seconds, or even to count bottles. All of this can be accomplished without wiring changes (except in the simple process of adding a sensing device-photoeye, pushbutton, etc.) or the addition of relays, timers, or other equipment.

        If engineered correctly, with sufficient planning for growth, the PLC provides an easy way to add components to a bottling line and integrate their functions into the overall line controls. Even a relatively small winery can benefit from available PLC technology. For more information on what would be appropriate in your winery, consult an experienced electrical and control systems engineer.

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Robert Mondavi Winery-Woodbridge Krones Roundpac Uncaser

        Charles Arthur is vice president of Arthur Engineering, Inc., a company specializing in the configuration, specification, and programming of PLC-control systems for industrial processes, and complete power distribution system design.

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