Powerful Programmable Controller Upgrades Tortilla Machine
This production line from Casa Herrera mixes, divides, forms, presses, bakes and stacks tortillas. The entire line is monitored and controlled by a single high-performance programmable controller.
Casa Herrera builds tortilla preparation equipment for the corn and flour tortilla industry, provides equipment for the bakery and snack food industries, and is the preferred supplier to several national brands. We build several varieties of our machines to meet customer specifications, and we install and service all of the equipment we manufacture.
For one of our current design tortilla making machines (see Image 1), we wanted to upgrade the control system. We’ve been building the same machine for seven years, and mechanically it’s proven and reliable. The problem was with the PLC control system. Although the PLC we were using was reputed to be the best in the world, we experienced limitations due to slow speeds and information streaming interference, and the service was adequate at best.
We wanted to upgrade to a control system that was capable and reliable, and also flexible enough to install on different machines. The control system also had to be easy to maintain, diagnose and repair in the field. After evaluating all of the leading competitors in the field including PLCs, industrial PCs and Programmable Automation Controllers (PACs) – we selected and recently installed a control system from AutomationDirect.
For assistance with control system design and implementation, we called in local control systems integrator Memco. Memco works closely with our AutomationDirect value added reseller Quantum Automation (www.quantumautomation.com) on complex control projects such as this one. Memco designed, fabricated, programmed and installed the tortilla control system based on a Productivity3000 PAC, C-more HMI panels, and GS variable speed motor drives – all supplied by AutomationDirect: (www.automationdirect.com).
The Productivity3000 monitors and controls the entire machine via 365 discrete and analog inputs and outputs. Each of the 27 motor drives is interfaced to the controller via a high speed Ethernet data link. The two HMI panels are also connected to the controller via Ethernet. As shown in Figure 1, industrial Ethernet hubs are provided to control and coordinate all data exchange.