Processing Magazine

Furnace manufacturer cuts labor costs and reduces startup time with integrated architecture

July 30, 2007

A new heat-treating system from Can-Eng Furnaces uses Allen-Bradley ControlLogix programmable automation controllers (PACs) and Integrated Architecture Builder from Rockwell Automation to help its customer reduce programming and startup time, simplify training requirements and increase information sharing capabilities. B&W Heat Treating of Michigan uses the new heat-treating system to process automotive components, such as engine blocks and heads, in its Saginaw, Mich., facility.

“We chose the ControlLogix controller because of its multi-disciplined control, versatility and exceptional information processing capabilities,” said Dan Michitsch, electrical product leader, Can-Eng Furnaces. “It allows B&W to handle everything it needs to do, including multiple PID loops and part-tracking capabilities.”

The Allen-Bradley ControlLogix PAC is responsible for control of the furnace, conveyor panel and aging oven, and transfers information to and from the heat treating operation to a central server for information storage, archiving and retrieval. The controller also meets the customer’s needs for a system capable of providing traceability and easy access to information.

“The Integrated Architecture Builder software provided an exact blueprint of how to design, program and set up the new system for B&W,” Michitsch said. “It assured us that ControlLogix could perform the speed and functional capabilities required of our system.”

With the ControlLogix PAC, B&W was able to implement a system that includes complementary control, communication and visualization, resulting in horizontal and vertical plant-wide integration, increasing productivity, reducing labor costs and simplifying training. Can-Eng Furnaces also has reaped significant benefits from the use of the ControlLogix platform, including a 50 percent reduction of programming and system design time, and a 20 percent reduction of startup time.