Processing Magazine

Floor covering manufacturer reduces downtime by 50 percent

July 17, 2007

Shaw Industries, a global full-service residential and commercial flooring company, has implemented a production control and information system using the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture that allows better access to information on the plant floor and alleviates excessive downtime due to unreliable equipment.

The Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture includes the Logix Control Platform and the FactoryTalk suite of production and performance software. Integration of Shaw’s information and control systems has provided significant cost savings as a result of improved information flow throughout the enterprise. Implementation of the Integrated Architecture included consolidation of an assortment of plant-floor networks into a single communication architecture with a common protocol, and the integration of control, visualization and information technologies for reduced implementation, maintenance and operational costs.

“We previously had multiple networks operating separately from one another, which created considerable complexity and inefficiency,” said Gary Norwood, automation manager, Shaw Industries. “A unified architecture provided by the Logix Control Platform and FactoryTalk software provides us with high-performing, scalable information to meet our evolving needs.”

With the Integrated Architecture, Shaw receives enhanced production capabilities and more efficient control of production processes, such as tufting, dye coloring and backing. Through tight integration between the Logix Control Platform and FactoryTalk software suite, Shaw now can simplify data collection and improve interaction with enterprise level information systems – identifying and correcting potential problems before they occur while improving overall line performance. Through the network standardization, Shaw can monitor its systems and implement maintenance procedures over a Wide Area Network (WAN).

Shaw’s standardization on the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture has improved equipment reliability and helped the company reduce downtime by 50 percent, significantly decreasing the number of startup errors and easing system maintenance. Through the use of FactoryTalk Historian, Shaw management now can easily archive historical data and pull reports at a moment’s notice. “Installing the FactoryTalk suite of plant-wide information software alone saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars in off-quality claims,” Norwood said. “We also were able to seamlessly integrate the control technology into our existing infrastructure, which was a key factor in the success of the installation.”

Shaw’s standardization also features EtherNet/IP-enabled FLEX I/O and POINT I/O modules to connect field devices and carpet-processing machines.