Smart Factory Unit

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Use of automation products in industry to improve manufacturing efficiency.

This project belongs to Belgian company Van Genechten Packaging active in the carton board packaging industry. Since the year 2013, their IT department keeps implementing Raspberry Pi in production environment, first extensded with their own I/O module and later combined with UniPi 1.1 The project is named Smart Factory Unit (SFU).

Specific uses

  • SFU energy: serves for power consumption measurement in company's data centers and in the factory
  • SFU thin client: thin client allows access to ERP system of the company from the production machine inside the factory
  • SFU meteo: serves for the onitoring of the environment (temperature / humidity) in data centers
  • SFU music: system for the control of the music channel at the recpetion with online UI
  • SFU counter: reading  from counter on factory machines 
  • SFU loading dock: for automatic control of the palette processing and shipping

SFU counter and SFU loading dock are the most important uses in the project. SFU counter serves for reading from sensors and machine production speed calculations (~150 000 ks/h). SFU loading dock is used for product loading process automation - application monitors the loading of palettes into the transporter at the loading gate and also indicates shippment in the cargo bay. Locading dock has connected light and sound signalization.

IT deparment also works on implementation of "Work in Progress tracking" application. Each palette inside the factory is tagged with an RFID tag and the system allows their tracking through the machine and the factory with RFID readers. RFID readers are connected over RS485/422/232 - USB to UniPi. In the application there are also sensors for the palette height detection (connected over analog inputs). UniPi is installed onto the DIN rail in the protection box along with other modules. All data - time stamps, pallet height, RFID tag ID - are uploaded to ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning).

Control boxes with UniPi with cover and DIN mounting and other modules including industrial adapter RS422/RS485 - USB - generally allows signalization the transport system, monitoring of production machines, communication with RFID readers and ERP system.

The detail of control box

Prepared control boxes

Used serail RS485/RS422 - USB adapter