Vasker tog mer effektivt

Eaton’s automation products have helped us to cut costs, to reduce wiring time by 40% and to increase the functionality of our machines.
- Benoît Rôle Automation Engineer at FDI+

Based near Nantes in the Vendée region of France, FDI+ is an established specialist in the development and manufacture of washing systems for trains and trams. It has strong relationships with European train operators and other major organisations in the rail sector, and follows a policy of continuous product development to meet the evolving needs of these customers. The company prides itself on making the best possible use of technology and technological developments to maximise the value it provides for its customers.

A major product line for FDI+ is automatic washing machines for trains. These operate on a similar principle to the familiar car wash machines found at most garages, but with one important difference – in a train washer, it’s not the brushes that move, it’s the train! The trains are driven at very low speed through the washer while motorised brushes remove the grime.

The latest machines from FDI+ incorporate 17 motors ranging in size from 2.2 kW to 7.5 kW to drive brushes and pumps, and they also have a large number of sensors distributed over the machine. In addition, there is a requirement to continuously monitor the pressure that is being exerted by the wash brushes, and to provide feedback for the train driver advising whether the train is being driven at the optimum speed, or whether it should be speeded up or slowed down.

FDI+ was finding that, using traditional components, the automation system required to satisfy these requirements was complicated and costly to produce and that advanced features such as provision for remote monitoring and faultfinding were difficult to incorporate. The company’s engineers were, therefore, looking for a better approach.

Eaton’s SmartWire-DT panel wiring system and the versatile XC152 programmable controller (PLC) proved to be the keys to the solution. SmartWire-DT eliminates the need for conventional panel wiring, replacing it with readyterminated plug-in ribbon cables that are used to connect together the panel-mounted components, such as motor starters, and link them to the PLC.

Die SPS kann nun direkt über SmartWire-DT auf die Betriebsdaten von Komponenten wie den Motorstartern zugreifen. Dadurch kann sie die aktuellen Betriebsströme der Motoren für den Antrieb der Waschbürsten ohne zusätzliche Komponenten oder Verdrahtung kontinuierlich überwachen. Auf diese Weise wird es möglich, den Bürstendruck auf den aktuell im Waschprozess befindlichen Zugteil zu prüfen.

This arrangement has many benefits that are useful to FDI+. Wiring time for the control panel is dramatically reduced and the risk of wiring errors is virtually eliminated. In addition the control panel can be made more compact, as little if any trunking is needed and, should modifications ever be required, these can be readily incorporated without the need for time-consuming rewiring.

A further benefit of particular significance in this project is that the SmartWire-DT connection allows the PLC to access operational information from components like motor starters. In this application, this meant that, without needing any additional components or wiring, the PLC could continuously monitor the running currents of the motors driving the washer brushes to confirm that the brushes were exerting the correct pressure on the section of the train currently being washed.

The second key component of the solution was the Eaton X125 PLC, which has an exceptional range of connectivity options. Not only does it have a built-in interface for the SmartWire-DT panel wiring system, it also supports almost all commonly used networking and fieldbus protocols.

In this project, a CANopen fieldbus system was used to link the PLC to remote input/ output modules mounted on the machine itself, which greatly reduced the amount of field wiring needed. The CANopen fieldbus also provides the links to two Eaton DA1 inverters, and allows access to all of the inverter operating parameters. This is a standard arrangement on all machines and, in addition to reducing the amount of wiring needed, it also cuts costs.

The two Eaton XV100 touchscreen operator panels used to provide information for remote operators are linked to the XC152 through an Ethernet connection, while a Modbus link is used between the XC152 and the screens located along the track which provide realtime speed advice and “stop and go” instructions to the drivers of the trains passing through the machine.

FDI+ soon fitted two train washers with Eaton’s automation system. One was delivered to Poland, the other to Dubai. The engineering for the control system was easy, and a considerable amount of time could be saved in wiring the control panel. Wiring faults could almost be completely prevented, resulting in faster and simpler machine testing and commissioning. End users also benefit from the enhanced monitoring of the brush pressure and the clear display of drive information on touch panels as well as the remote diagnostics capability. “Eaton’s automation solution enabled us to lower costs, reduce the wiring effort by 40% and to increase the functionality of our machines,” says Benoit Rôle, automation engineer at FDI+.