Vacuum Metalizer System Upgrade

metalizer upgrade plc

Project summary

Midwest Engineered Systems provided an upgrade to an aging Vacuum Web Coating Machine that came from an OEM in Latvia.

The Challenge

This firm’s 1990s vintage vacuum metalizer required extensive upgrading, with the goals of improving overall precision, performance and quality monitoring for the machine.

MWES had to replace any obsolete components that were in the system with new modern components, including:

  • Web handling DC drive system
  • Embedded Computer-based system and serial communication networks, with IO located in several locations
  • Custom-designed system for boat heater evaporation
  • Wire feed system
  • Interface to process monitoring and control systems

During the proposal stage, MWES performed a complimentary evaluation to provide several solution options to achieve the project’s goals. With MWES’s recommendations, as well as input from the customer, a solution path was chosen.

The Solution

After a thorough on-site analysis of existing specifications, process data, schematics, programs, and interviews with process engineers, production managers and machine operations, MWES was able to execute a successful solution for our client. The comprehensive solution included:

  • New Bosch-Rexroth AC drive platform for all web handing drive sections, including new gearboxes, motors, and mechanical mounting and belt modifications
  • New Allen-Bradley ControlLogix PLC-based controls with Ethernet & Profibus for networking various system components
  • Recreated the original custom machine C++ code from scratch and implement it into the ControlLogix PLC
  • New operator interface system with Allen-Bradley FactoryTalk View server-based SCADA system with multiple “client” locations and touch screens
  • Created custom PLC control algorithms for control and monitoring of the boat heater control system
  • New Danaher Micro-Stepper drives for precision wire feed networked to the PLC
  • Integrated existing Pumping System controls onto the operator screens with visual and intuitive interfaces
  • Pre-shipment testing at the MWES facility to minimize change-over downtime at the client’s site
  • Electrical & Mechanical Installation at client facility with multiple shifts to minimize effects on production
  • System commissioning at the customer’s facility

Impact to the Customer

The final solution added new features and capabilities to the system that were not provided with the original OEM design. The equipment is more accessible for engineering, troubleshooting and general maintenance. Other enhancements are:

  • Wider speed range, 0.5 to 100 FPM, for expanding the list of coating processes and materials
  • Improved tension and winding control
  • Improved process parameter control and monitoring via a simplified operator interface platform
  • Support personnel have increased quality control through remote access to the system
  • Better flexibility for future machine modifications or additions
  • Additional operator interfaces include:
    • Sputtering System
    • Vacuum Gauge System
    • Chilled Water System

Midwest Engineered Systems has a wide range of experience in upgrading and retrofitting existing systems. If you’re looking to upgrade or retrofit an old system, we have the knowledge and experience to make the project a success.

Contact us to learn about how Midwest Engineered Systems can automate even your most complex and challenging operations today!

“The level of service after the project was done has been enlightening, to say the least. We have begun additional types of equipment projects with Midwest Engineering Systems. You can be confident in what you get from them. Their promises made are promises kept.”

Innovation Through Automation

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