Automation starts at home: Implementing automated systems at Elmleigh HQ

At Elmleigh, we don’t just install automated systems on client sites. We use our own expertise to improve and develop our own internal processes. Most recently, we’ve automated the internal design process by developing a unique digital platform using a series of integrated cloud-based solutions allowing our Project Engineers to more efficiently compose, review and present a complete design for our process control and automation system proposals.

Why automated systems are the way forward

Previously, our design proposals would have been generated manually using various spreadsheets, technical datasheets and lookup reference documents which was time-consuming, laborious and too often open to inaccuracies and the vagaries of personal preferences. In providing an integrated and automated solution, our Project Engineers can confidently present consistent and accurate proposals that are now composed more efficiently whilst providing the essential core information required for effective manufacture of control panels and preparation of final documentation in compliance with standards and regulations.

The automation tools we’ve integrated

  1. “The Device List”

The core information of any control system design is the Device List which details all of the active elements of the system with the associated Inputs and Outputs (I/O’s) that need to be ‘controlled’. This information is compiled from a variety of sources such as a Customer Specification with our automated system presenting a unique identifier for each device along with a description and device sub-type (DOL, REV, VSD etc). According to sub-type, our system automatically populates the required quantity of I/O’s into the I/O List with the allocation of individual I/O points into the available channels on a selected PLC card. Consideration and checking for spare PLC capacity ensures that all I/O points from the Device List are accounted for in the design. This provides the I/O data required for the preparation of the Electrical Schematics and authoring of control systems software that is consistently formatted to ensure that all designs comply with our company design standard.

  1. “Electrical Schematics”

We’ve invested in hardware, software, and training of our Design Engineers to provide EPLAN Pro Panel as our electrical design package into which we import the I/O data directly, eliminating any manual data input, thus saving time and ensuring accuracy.

  1. “PLC Code”

Using the data derived from the Device List and the I/O List, mapping of individual points can be assigned into structured data types for all of the generic control modules in the PLC.

  1. “Documents & Test Validation”

By specifying configurations for standards and safety devices in the tool, we can automatically generate procedural documents for our site installations teams to follow and prove validity of the systems we install. Automatic generation of test documentation eliminates another manual process.

What are the benefits of internal automation systems?

Implementing further internal automation at Elmleigh allows us to continue working efficiently and effectively, giving our clients the best possible service, on-time and within budget. Some of the main benefits include:

  • A single point of data collection
  • Accurate documentation
  • Reduced design time
  • Consistent output

If you’d like to find out more about Elmleigh’s automated design process and how we can help your business with your next project, get in touch today.

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