RHM Fluid Power Inc.
We look for things that differentiate us from our competitors, and the SmartWire-DT and XV HMI-PLC certainly do that.
Jeff Verona, President, RHM Fluid Power Inc.
RHM is a traditional fluid power distributor that, recognizing a need in the market, moved beyond component sales of individual pumps and valves. Instead, RHM markets them as complete systems, which led the company to include electrical controls to go with those systems. In fact, RHM’s philosophy is that they can engineer just about any hydraulic system that can be imagined.
The challenge was to find an electrical control system that could be easily programmed and used for multiple systems. As a leader in the industry, RHM always sought to differentiate itself from its competitors, so it was immediately intrigued by SmartWire-DT - the single, durable cable that replaces traditional control wiring. RMH’s initial impression, however, was that the SmartWire-DT technology might only be economical for projects with multiple and repetitive control panels.
In addition, RHM often struggled to find qualified personnel who could program and write software for more than one of their top clients. They could find someone to program for one, but rarely for two of the major manufacturers progammable logic controllers. With clients from around the world and multiple software platforms available, RHM knew their clients had the same problem.
The first project for which RHM used SmartWire-DT and the XV HMI-PLC was a multiple hydraulic pump system for a hydraulic test stand. RHM used the XV HMI-PLC in a main panel, which then drives a second remote panel to feed the multiple pump system. The main control cabinet, using the XV HMI-PLC with integrated SmartWire-DT, can be mounted on the cabinet door and connected to the panel mounted components using a flat multi-conductor cable instead of a multitude of individual control wires.
Previous projects required RHM to build a control panel with an HMI-PLC combination with the I/O built on the back of the HMI. They had extensive wiring going back to the HMI from the main control panel. With the XV model, the multicolored flat cable picked up all the signals that the PLC was controlling. All of the components are connected using the one flat cable, which makes it much easier to build and debug.
Further, the XV controller uses the CoDeSys programming platform, which is an open-source software package, and customers from around the world are likely to have staff who are familiar with it. “If we can promote CoDeSys,” said Jeff Verona, president of RHM Fluid Power, “we think that’s to everyone’s benefit.”
What RHM particularly liked about the XV HMI-PLC is that they could actually make one connection with a multiconductor flat cable and carry that cable across the door and into the main panel—directly to the components—without a separate gateway. With other competitive products that they have used, they had to take all the individual wires to the HMI-PLC unit on the cabinet door.
“A lot of hard work goes into making connections out on the door and this definitely simplifies that a great deal,” said Pete Collins, director of operations. “And we like that a lot.”
RHM found SmartWire-DT to be extremely economical, even with their customer’s smaller orders. By integrating Eaton electrical and Eaton hydraulic applications, RHM pulls ahead of their competition. “SmartWire-DT—along with CoDeSys—gives us a competitive edge in the industry,” said Collins.
The Final Analysis
RHM believes that their integration with Eaton products gives them a competitive edge by:
- Reducing design time
- Reducing panel build time
- Reducing debug time
- Simplifying each project
Overall, RHM sees tremendous time-savings, even on one-off orders. “We look for things that can differentiate us from our competitors,” said Verona, “and the SmartWire-DT and XV HMI-PLC certainly do that.”