On-Machine Control Solutions

Article by Delvin Masilamani updated February 1, 2011


Efficiency and cost cutting is the something every industry is striving to maximize. The companies and individuals who are able to achieve this goal are on the rising edge of success and growth. It feels like common sense at the end of the day in these competitive times to reduce costs and time to market. One of the growing trends to achieve these goals is “On-Machine Control Solutions “.

On-Machine Control adds efficiencies in multiple areas of the manufacturing process like Design, Maintenance, Repair, Installation and operations. A recent study by a European Consortium of Manufacturers revealed a 30% cost reduction as a result of On-Machine Control Solutions and related changes to the components used.

The common solution consists of moving the controls on to the machine or close to the application. This allows for less wiring to and from the controlled units and also reuse the segments to complete the design. On-Machine Controls has enabled manufacturers to readily provide applications once requiring customized solutions as standard offerings by easily replacing a few parts on certain machines instead of a complete redesign. Interconnecting these systems if required can be done using either networked or non-networked solutions (e.g. PLC I/O) through one or more Panels. Modular design allows for pre-manufactured local wiring with quick disconnects, reducing the total wiring in turn reducing the number of failure points.

Many companies have found this solution to reduce design and layout times thus reducing time to market and the need to multiple layout drawings. In addition to increased efficiency you also gain the ability to design custom/standard cables to be used in the equipment.

This solution coupled with the use of professional electrical design tool like E3.Wireworks helps create well documented and clean designs and drawings which are reusable and consistently accurate. E3 Wireworks provides powerful cable design and management abilities to enable use of custom cables for all modular designs eliminating the free wire connection which is prone to errors.

E3.Wireworks also provides the capability of interacting with the mechanical design software SolidWorks to enable routing the cables in the mechanical environment bringing synchronization to the Electrical and Mechanical design process.

Repair and Maintenance are ideal places to increase productivity and profitability. It is not uncommon for machines to break down every now and then, this adds to the cost for the equipment manufacturer and downtime for the user. The added cost to the manufacturer at this juncture is to find, replace/repair and operationalize the system in question.

This can be quite challenging and time consuming task for a maintenance person, considering the complexity and the usual density of components and wires in a control box. Tracing through complex systems especially in harsh/adverse environment is a difficult task, adopting this solution makes troubleshooting in such conditions easier and quicker.

Here are a few key points about the design related benefits:

  • Reduce the need for customization for different configurations of the product by adding reusability and standardization.
  • Leads to reduction in cost of wiring and overall system cost, while adding local diagnostic and control abilities.
  • Increased Adaptability during the design process as you can easily remove and replace parts from the concerned application being controlled locally.

Here are a few Key points about the installation, Maintenance and Repair related benefits:

  • Reduces the time required to find a problem and fix it with localized diagnostics and troubleshooting capabilities.
  • The modular design methodology also provides localized replacement of damaged parts without having to pull the whole system apart.
  • Reduces wiring errors increase traceability while also reducing installation time in the field.

E3.Wireworks provides designers with the tools to usher in new design technologies and reduce overall cost by replacing a lot of manual work in the design and drawing process like Connection Lists, Terminal Plans, Bill of Materials  and Cable information to name a few. Armed with all this information and innovative design methodologies companies are finding their competitive edge and cost savings within a short span of time.  The early adopters are already gaining, the results of which are driving more and more companies to adopt On-Machine Controls.

Click here to learn more about E3.Wireworks

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Delvin Masilamani

Delvin is ‎Senior Solutions Expert at Javelin and is based in our Oakville, Ontario office.