Cooking Vessel Loading and Unloading Automation

Cooking Vessel Loading and Unloading Automation
One of the ongoing needs within our industry is the ability to integrate existing machines into an automated process.

Crossmuller were contracted to automate the loading, unloading and cooking initiation for a leading Australian food manufacturer. Loading of the cooking vessels was a manual task with operators required to transport baskets of product from the loading machine to the cookers. They would then load the baskets of product into the vessels manually.

NDC were contracted to supply an automated guided vehicles (AGVs). It was Crossmuller’s job to automate the cooking vessels so that the loading and unloading process was fully automated.

Solution

  • The upgrading of the two cooking vessel PLCs into a distributed I/O and central PLC system. Rockwell Point I/O and a Compactlogix PLC were used for this. The existing Seimens PLC program was then rewritten into a Logix5000 format and upgraded for the new automation requirements.

  • Supply, design and programming of three PanelView+ operator interfaces.

  • Cooking vessel drive system upgrade including an inverted drive with encoder feedback for chain positioning.

  • Development of a load and unload methodology. Gaining a thorough understanding of the existing process and the automation requirements was important for the success of this operation. Crossmuller worked closely with production personnel and machine suppliers to achieve this.

  • AGV interaction and handshaking. This involved the development of an automated handover system with communications to the AGV via Ethernet. Handshakes were developed to ensure the safe and efficient handover of baskets to and from the cooking vessel.

  • Safety upgrade of the cooking vessels to Category 3 using the SamosPro programmable safety controller.

  • Electrical drawings and documentation.

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