The installation of an SM500F digital data recorder from ABB has helped a manufacturer of seals for the aircraft industry to eliminate the need to produce vast volumes of paper charts.
Adpol in Worthing, West Sussex, makes a wide range of silicone seals and gaskets for various applications, including aerospace. As the company is accredited to ISO 9001, manufacturing processes need to be documented and fully traceable. Further requirements are imposed by the AS9100 quality management system for the aerospace industry. One of its demands is that records are kept for the lifetime of each aircraft where the seals are used, which can be as long as 30 years.
“We were generating an awful lot of paper charts that we then had to archive and keep track of,” says director Gary White at Adpol.
Now, with the SM500F digital data recorder from ABB, all the data is backed up automatically and stored off-site.
“The recording of data takes place in the background and our IT company gives monthly reports to show it has all been done,” says White.
Using the SM500F data recorder, Adpol records batch processes in the curing oven, where finished products are heated to eliminate volatile organic compounds from the material and ensure the seals achieve the correct rigidity. Different materials require different temperatures and curing times.
“Switching to digital data recording has been quite effortless The SM500F’s intuitive menus makes it easy to use and to find your way around. In addition, ABB’s local distributor, KC Controls, has been great, with one of the system engineers popping in from time to time to make sure everything is working OK,” says White.
The SM500F recorder provides a host of functions for recording batches, including tagging of data records with batch numbers and information. Data can be entered via the front panel or automatically via MODBUS, offering integration with PLCs and control systems. When a new batch is initiated, the SM500F will automatically start recording it, including any associated batch information. This eliminates the need for the operator to duplicate the data entry process on both the recorder and the PLC, saving time and reducing the potential for errors.
“Switching from a paper-based to a paperless data recording device was definitely a good move and will make it much easier for us to find specific records if we should ever need to find them,” says White.
The unit includes a secure chart signature feature, enabling authorised operators to securely annotate an electronic chart as if they were signing a paper chart, making it ideal for any application where traceability is critical.
With 64Mb internal memory, there is plenty of space for historical data, providing enhanced data security as well as an added back-up for the data stored on the SM500F’s removable memory card.
The onboard web server offers access to real-time data for remote monitoring. With the built-in Ethernet communications link historical data can be remotely downloaded to a PC. It can also interface with a SCADA system using Modbus TCP protocol.
A choice of mounting options means the SM500F can be easily installed onto a panel, wall or pipe without the additional expense associated with the enclosures normally required to field mount a traditional videographic recorder. This makes it a flexible solution for any installation where local indication and recording of process conditions is needed.