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Automation Technologies 5/2014

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Automation Technologies 5/2014

Control and Drive

Control and Drive Technology I/O system ensures your luggage is delivered to the right destination Yvonne Eich Each year, the luggage of 3.6 m travelers passes through the Halifax Stanfield International Airport in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Tasked with modernizing the airport‘s baggage handling system, Cofely Services set out to find a better solution for the automation required – and found it at B&R. About Company name: B&R Established: 1979 Headquarters: Eggelsberg, Austria Turnover: € 475 m (2013) Employees: 2530 (2013) Products: Control systems, I/O systems, Industrial PCs, Motion Control, … Intensified security is making airports a more stressful place than ever – a situation that is all too often exacerbated by long waits and lost luggage. Nobody wants to wait sit around at baggage claim to pick it up – or worse, get the news that their suitcase was sent to the wrong destination. What passengers would like to expect are quality airport services all around – including baggage handling. With this in mind, Nova Scotia‘s Halifax Stanfield International Airport set out to improve its processes and services by implementing a more streamlined baggage handling solution. The airport had been using a traditional, centralized baggage handling system, which consisted of 100 conveyors with several sensors each, all wired back to the main control cabinet. Since upgrading their system, the Halifax airport is now able to better serve its passengers while substantially reducing costs. The team at the Halifax airport recruited Cofely Services to spearhead the project of developing an improved bag room solution. The company is best known for its airport software solution Bagstage and self-service bag drop U-Drop. Handling requirements “It was important to the project team that the solution would increase added value by using new technology that could be easily integrated into existing as well as new systems,” notes Yan Le Meur, Automation and Watch Technology Expert for Cofely Services. In airport bag rooms, the lines are used 20 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is therefore imperative that their systems are efficient and reliable as well as easy to troubleshoot should an issue arise. First, the requirements for the bag room improvement project needed to be defined. Cofely deter- Author: Yvonne Eich, Marketing Communications Coordinater at B&R in Roswell, GA, USA AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 5/2014

mined that the bag room facility should be easy to use for maintenance staff and require minimal training. The control system would have to feature IP67-rated machine-mountable I/O and support controller platforms from multiple vendors, have a web server for diagnostics for each individual node, be able to communicate with scales or automatic tag readers (ATRs) and deliver a network response time of less than 2 ms. Flexible solution Cofely installed its Bagstage bag sorting software onto each line to automatically direct each bag to the proper destination. Screening machines scan each bag for potential threats before being loaded onto the airplane. But the specialists still needed a partner for the conveyor line’s control system. After evaluating multiple automation supplier solutions, they selected the machine-mounted I/O system X67 by B&R. The system includes a 16-channel digital mix module to control the conveyor lines. Each of the channels is programmable, allowing a single module to be used for digital inputs, digital outputs or high-speed counters. Cofely took advantage of the flexible I/O design to configure one of the standard channels as a high-speed counter to be used for an encoder with square signals and in turn reduced the number of components required for the application. “We reduced the cabinet size and costs, as well as eliminating the need for junction boxes on the machine,” reports Le Meur. Maximum usability The conveyor I/O system was equipped with preassembled standard M12 connectors, which decreased commissioning time and reduced the potential for wiring errors. By switching to IP67-rated machinemounted I/O and M12 field-wireable connectors, the number of M12 cordsets was significantly reduced. As required, the solution supported the use of multiple network platforms so that the airport team could continue to work with the existing platforms. “The bus controllers could communicate between different automation platform PLCs with a single I/O module and we were able to achieve network scan times of 1 ms,” Le Meur explains. Enhanced diagnostics Le Meur continues: “The I/O is easy to support, even when integrated with a third-party master, due to the With the new system, network scan times of 1 ms could be achieved advanced diagnostics on the hardware LEDs and in the software.” Because of the length of the baggage conveyors, Cofely knew it would be important to implement a solution with a flexible topology. The X67 I/O system adapts to the architecture of the conveyor line. Paired with B&R‘s free configuration software, Fieldbus Designer, the I/O data can populate the controller tags and automatically define input and output sizes, allowing the programmer to work in his or her preferred software platform. Furthermore, visual status indicators on the I/O modules and advanced status messages are delivered immediately via the bus and produce detailed diagnostic results. The system design features individual sensors and actuators per node, which makes troubleshooting simple and allows any faults to be replaced using plug connections. The serial modules are linked to Cofely Service’s automatic tag reader via Bagstage and I/O modules are linked to SCADA to help deliver diagnostic results. For maintenance and operation, additional savings were realized through the integrated functionality of the X67 system. The enhanced baggage handling solution for Halifax Stanfield International Airport delivers a high efficiency line with bag tracking that yields a very low percentage of lost baggage. Since the solution’s implementation there have been no complaints from the airport or its maintenance team. AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 5/2014


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