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New control system: the heart of the casting process

The new dat@net control system generation from Buhler combines the advantages of classical technologies, real-time operation

The new dat@net control system generation from Buhler combines the advantages of classical technologies, real-time operation, industrial ruggedness, and stability with the benefits of state-of-the-art PC technology. Carefully matched hardware and software modules allow independent automation solutions. For the first time now, this control system is also being applied with die casting machines – fully in line with customers’ needs.

 

Users do not want numerous devices and switches, but a centralized device from where they can operate and control the entire production system. Buhler is now presenting a unique innovation: For the first time ever, die casting cells can be controlled from a centralized unit, without the need for any peripheral control systems. The name of the new development is “dat@net”, which enables easy control of the entire machine including all the peripheral equipment through a single command center and on the basis of a unified control concept. Logical operations are entered directly through the visual display screen without requiring the connection of any additional development tool. Moreover, customers can make certain adjustments themselves on site.

 

Easy to use and ergonomically designed

The new control system generation is based on the tried and true Dataspeed variant. It is therefore easier for users to understand, since the need for tedious retraining is entirely eliminated. This new type of control system has found wide acceptance in the marketplace and now constitutes the new standard in the field of casting cell control. Also in terms of ergonomics, the new operator terminal meets all the needs of the operators working with it. The touchscreen developed by an industrial designer satisfies the requirements of a modern workstation: The height and the angle of the operator terminal have been adapted to the operator. The electronic system is rugged and fit for industrial use. There are no hard disks that might fail, and data is saved to flash cards, which increases service life appreciably.

 

Expanded diagnostics

The dat@net offers an additional innovation – its expanded internal diagnostics system. It checks the inner life and the processes taking place in the control system. In the event of problems, the related internal conditions and interface signals are displayed graphically. This allows them to be pinpointed more easily and within a shorter time, reducing downtimes significantly. Buhler has already applied for a patent for this promising development. In addition, the dat@net also allows Buhler to offer remote maintenance services. For this option, a web server is integrated enabling authorized persons to easily access the control system and provide assistance through the Internet. This system is supported by interactive communication. In other words, when maintenance of a machine is due, an email message is transmitted directly to the person in charge to trigger this job.

 

Strengths and opportunities

Easy operation, compact design, and a unified control system for the entire machine series are the major strengths of this control system generation from Buhler. The price-to-performance ratio is just as attractive. Its many different diagnostics options – also from the outside – make the dat@net control system the ideal choice. Buhler believes the future opportunities of this innovative control system technology lie in image enhancement, the expanded integration of peripheral equipment, new interface techniques such as USB and Ethernet, and an increased life cycle of the electronics. Buhler now offers its customers two cell control designs incorporating the integrated functions of metal ladling, die casting, die spraying, and parts extraction: The single cell includes a ladling device, a die casting machine, a radial die spray unit, and a pick-and-place device. The high-convenience cell incorporates a ladling furnace, a die casting machine, a die spray unit, and a robot from ABB.

Buhler is a global Technology Group and System Partner for plant and equipment and for process expertise in the fields of Food Processing, Chemical Engineering, and Die Casting, with a worldwide payroll of about 6,100.

 

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