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Driving productivity, efficiency, and sustainability through greater signalling and detection

signalling

Across every aspect of food and beverage operations, Siemens solutions are designed and manufactured to add value.

From factory automation and drives through to industrial control and communication, Siemens, in partnership with local distribution partner APS Industrial, is at the forefront of technological innovations that enable manufacturers to maximise productivity, consistency and ROI in a competitive and highly demanding environment.

Food & Beverage Industry News recently sat down with APS Industrial’s, Rob Geppert, to focus in on the latest innovations within the industrial control portfolio, SIRIUS.

The Siemens SIRIUS control, command and monitoring range of products from APS promise to give users a more flexible and robust solution for monitoring and streamlining the production process.

Robert Geppert, APS’ product manager, motor control, said the newest addition to the company’s portfolio was an exciting one, bringing a number of new innovations to traditionally limited signalling columns.

According to Geppert the new 8WD46 high-performance signal columns can be used universally in industrial applications and buildings, such as assembly lines, conveyor systems and shipping stations – making them an ideal complement to local food and beverage systems and solutions.

“What’s exciting about this new range is that it becomes part of our full signalling and command range. We already have high-performance push buttons and indicator lights, electronically configurable signalling columns are now part of that,” he said.

“Our SIRIUS control range enables plants to indicate the status of a food and beverage conveyor line or a packaging machine. By adding these new columns to the overall solution, users eliminate the requirement for multiple components to assemble your custom signalling columns.

“The range is very flexible which means instead of a customer having to buy multiple components and hold multiple spares, this is just one device that can be plugged in and programmed to provide the functionality that’s required.”

Whether there is a need for colours, flashes, or acoustics, the 8WD46 signalling columns can be programmed to provide maximum flexibility which empowers the user to program what they need for their application.

  • Multicolour LEDs allow to set more than 1M colours
  • Different lighting effects: continuous, blinking, flashing and rotating
  • Signalling modes: autoscale, filling level, signal column and individual
  • Acoustic element: 10 adjustable tones, volume settable to 105dB
signalling
The Siemens SIRIUS range provides a flexible and robust solution for monitoring and streamlining production.

Like the complete range of SIRIUS push buttons, the signalling columns also have an IP66 and IP69K rating, which means they can be hosed down by high pressure, making them ideal for food and beverage applications.

“These features will see these signalling columns become part of your complete safety solution – where you can have alarms and red flashing lights signalling the machine is down or someone has entered into an area they shouldn’t be in,” said Geppert.

“It really fits in with the whole signalling and safety portfolio.”

The wider flexibility of the signalling columns has a positive flow on effect on the rest of the production process, essentially helping with uptime.

“It certainly will help increase the plant uptime so that you can be warned before getting into shut down situations so that you can take proactive steps,” said Geppert.

“With signalling columns in the past, you would effectively be limited to indicating whether a machine was on or off.

“With this new column, you can do so much more – take tank levels for example. In this instance you might have 15 elements split up over your signalling column and each element will indicate whether your tank is empty, quarter full, half full etc. – ultimately giving you much better visibility of your process.”

Geppert also said that no matter what type of food or beverage product was being produced, all manufacturers and producers stood to experience material advantages by upgrading to this new style of signalling column.

“It doesn’t matter if the process is, bread or brewing, they are all able to experience these benefits,” he said.

“Typically, in those processes the user will buy packaged machines, like a conveyor or wrapping line. You can easily apply these signalling columns to each of those lines and have common indication right across your plant no matter which part of the line it is.”

Geppert said in addition to the SIRIUS industrial control portfolio, APS as the national distribution partner for Siemens also give local customers access to the full suite of SIMATIC factory automation solutions – a feat that gives customers access to everything under one roof to ultimately speed up process and production.

“Time to market is a significant advantage of the Siemens portfolio from APS Industrial. Because we can offer a full solution, we can get production up and running quicker than trying to integrate various suppliers into a solution,” he said.

“Whether it be a push button or a signalling column, to a safety relay or limit switch, they can all be networked together to form part of the automation solution,” said Geppert.

signalling
The new 8WD46 high-performance signal columns are perfect for industrial applications.

“Our clients will typically use integrators for the software and board builders for the switchboards and so on. At APS we provide the products that go into the solution and pre-sale support in terms of application guidance to assist the integrators, board builders and end users to get the best result.”

“In addition to discrete connections, we also offer IO Link for integrating tightly into your automation system. In old school days you would hardwire a lot of signals to turn on whichever lights you wanted to whereas now it is just part of the automation and very easily, via the IO Link, the automation system can signal whatever is required.”

“When you are talking about food and beverage in general, you are talking about batch control and so it’s important to have an automation system that can handle that batch production and it requires all sorts of sensors to control that production.

Having a fully integrated automation system, all from one provider, allows for faster engineering and enhanced functionality.

“It is all designed to work together, and quality is a key driver in the food and beverage industry.”

As productivity and efficiency gains become more and more prevalent in the food and beverage industry, new innovations, like those from Siemens and APS, will continue to change the face of production.

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