Feerum S.A., based in Chojnów, Poland, specialises in the design and construction of grain processing equipment. The machines and systems it builds cover the collection, cleaning and storage of grain. All the equipment used in these processes is manufactured in Poland. Feerum’s portfolio includes grain dryers, silos, chain and belt conveyors (both trough chain conveyors and conveyor lines) as well as elevators. Already for a number of years, Feerum has primarily relied on Eaton technology for its electrical engineering and automation components and systems.
For its machinery and systems, Feerum uses only the latest technology, and its success is the product of many years of experience, as well as constant practical input from its clients in the agricultural sector. The company places special emphasis on handling grain with the utmost care and providing an environment for drying, conveying and storage that is as ‘natural’ as possible.
Feerum had the following requirements for the automation of a new grain handling system: In order to ensure maximum system reliability and availability, more than 150 drives needed to be controlled, protected and continuously monitored via DOL and soft starters. In addition, the system also had to be equipped with central and remote control stations, and all process data had to be transmitted to a LabView-based SCADA system. For setting up the system, both a manual and an automatic control option were required.
In contrast with conventional solutions, Eaton offers powerful alternatives that rely on the principles of lean thinking throughout: The core idea behind Eaton’s Lean Solution is to identify processes in machine building and system integration where waste can be eliminated, and thereby to leverage the full optimisation potential for customers. Waste can take many forms, for example long routes, wait times, overproduction, technical errors, as well as overly complicated processes and unused potential. Lean Solution covers the following three areas: Lean Connectivity, Lean Automation and Lean Power:
Lean Connectivity eliminates the complex and error-prone point-to-point wiring inside and outside the control cabinet. In the case of Feerum’s central controller, the motor starters are connected via a single "green" SmartWire-DT cable, rather than being wired individually. In most switchgear systems, this can reduce the time required for wiring, testing and commissioning by up to 85 %. SmartWire-DT can not only be used inside the control cabinet, but also in the periphery to connect up to 99 slaves, such as the RMQ pilot devices, with a maximum network length of 600 metres.
With Lean Automation, entire device levels – such as the I/O modules of a central PLC – are no longer necessary, which also significantly reduces the costs of acquisition and maintenance. The HMI/PLC of the XV100 series that Feerum installed also features an integrated SmartWire-DT interface. This drastically reduced the time required for installation and wiring and eliminated the possibility of wiring errors. The visualisation of the XV100 PLC is implemented using the intuitive Galileo design tool. The PLCs are configured via the CODESYS-based xSoft-CODESYS-2 software in accordance with IEC61131-3
Lean Power is focused on using energy-efficient components and standardised control wiring. The data transparency provided by SmartWire-DT also helps to increase the efficiency of machines and systems: The system continuously monitors the current values of the motor starters as well as their power consumption in real time. This innovative control system enables Feerum to coordinate all of its individual systems and to continuously monitor them to ensure their fault-free operation. In addition, this also ensures process safety.
Lean Connectivity with SmartWire-DT enables users to reap all the Lean Solution benefits. The integration of drives into the control system no longer requires the presence of highly-qualified technical experts. What makes SmartWire-DT stand out, on the one hand, are simplified structures and easy handling, and tamper-proof designs on the other. Eaton’s integrated communication and wiring system for industrial automation thus speeds up the planning and commissioning of machines and systems, whilst at the same time reducing unnecessary downtime. In addition, it also facilitates process optimisation and helps to use resources more efficiently, intelligently and economically.
Managing Director (CEO) Daniel Janusz and Production Plant Director Mieczysław Mietelski explain their process as follows: "We manufacture highly innovative machines and systems in Poland. Eaton’s Lean Solution enables us respond to customer demands by implementing bespoke automation systems. If needed, we can also connect our customers’ existing control and monitoring systems with new, state-of-the-art PLCs. Eaton has proven to be a reliable partner and supplier in the areas of electrical engineering, drive technology and automation. The products and systems from Eaton offer us a high level of flexibility, compatibility, efficiency and safety – and needless to say, they always come with the latest technology and all the required certificates and approvals."