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Visualization and control of galvanizing lines designed for coating Skoda Fabia starters by PAL MAGNETON

These production lines are used for galvanizing starters for SKODA Fabia cars, which demand high quality in metals and the dependability of parts.


To ensure quality to the customer and meet audit requirements, the Czech company AITEC implemented their own control system, which enables fully automated operation (i.e., unmanned). Since the production lines have auxiliary peripherals (rectifier, gloss dosing, switching, etc.), which are located in various places, a distributed control system was proposed. Each logical operation is controlled by an independent Tecomat PLC in this system. The PLCs only communicate together via cable. The production plant, having 10 galvanizing lines, produces
a great amount of electromagnetic interference, which was successfully overcome by distributing control to several logical and physical parts.


Control is divided into the following sections:


  • 4 x TC600 for the control of the transport system and manipulators
  • 1 x TC500 for data input and setting parameters for the production lines
  • 1 x NS950-1D for controlling galvanizing sources
  • 1 x central NS950-1D for the control of dosing ingredients and gloss, temperature control, cathode rod movement, etc.

The PLCs are connected to the MAS network. The central PLC controls the whole system according to data gathered from the inferior PLCs.


A new standard for monitoring manipulator position was applied, which is a result of innovation from AITEC. It takes advantage of the special configuration inputs of the TC600 PLC. It involves sequential photographic profile images of the perforated frame of the machine. Specifically defined locations are tracked by infrared sensors. This solution is revolutionary because it does not use a mechanical sensor like the older methods (sensing is optical, i.e., without physical contact). The costly mechanical sensors are no longer necessary. A perforated steel profile with a surface finish is all that’s needed. All operation is visualized with the Reliance SCADA/HMI system on a PC with print capability for recording and producing certificates of production quality. The visualization project is connected to the enterprise network and data access is available to users with adequate rights.


All operation, including the control system and thanks to the implementation of the most modern automation technology, was successfully audited in April of 2000 by Volkswagen (Skoda) receiving the certificate of quality for suppliers in the automobile industry.



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