The NiMCO Corporation is an American manufacturer of world class carton form/fill/seal machines. Formed in 1962 when milk cartons changed from being wax-coated to a heat sealable plastic-coated paperboard carton, they designed a carton erecting and bottom sealing machine for small dairies already using filling and top sealing equipment. They expanded their range in 1965 with a new filler/sealer to complement the bottom sealer, and in 1967 further expanded their range with the Model 500 Former/Filler/Sealer which helped the growth and survival of many small to medium-sized dairies.
As machine safety standards have evolved and the need for safer machines became evident, NiMCO started adding personnel protection devices in the form of hard guard doors with safety related switches and control units to monitor these switches. PLCs were also introduced to replace earlier control systems.
When NiMCO were in the position of having to troubleshoot the machine safety system installed on their machines they turned to elobau sensor technology inc for assistance. NiMCO had already been using elobau’s safety control units and input expansion units, but these devices didn’t have the capability needed to communicate with the outside world. The PLC they were using did, and they needed the same flexibility with the machine safety system. After looking at several options, they choose eloProg, elobau’s programmable safety system.
Having worked with elobau previously and using several other elobau products, they knew eloProg would offer the same reliability and functionality but with additional benefits. The ease of programming the safety controller was one, with a simple drag-and-drop style function being all that is required. The eloProg system also allows communication over EtherNet IP, which was being used by the PLC and allowed NiMCO to communicate with both systems from anywhere over the internet. Also, due to its modular nature, the eloProg safety controller takes up less rack space without sacrificing any functionality.
Robert Mensing, one of NiMCO’s Control Systems engineers says: “Previous systems used separate elobau safety relays. The use of a single programmable safety controller moved all safety input signal functions to one single device. Wiring between separate safety relays was eliminated, simplifying the safety circuit wiring. The safety controller also has a smaller footprint, thus freeing up panel space”.
The new system took up less space and allowed the Ethernet/IP router to be moved to the same rack area, resulting in more functionality and less wiring due to the modules and programmability of eloProg.
Because NiMCO could now monitor the PLC and its operations, and also the machine safety system over the internet, both NiMCO and their customers now benefit from a reduction in downtime.
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