Standard in data communications

Over the past years the subject of data acquisition has continued to increase in standing in the manufacturing industry especially in modern, well-structured drinks filling plants. Effectiveness and efficiency can be observed and weak points located by means of specifically recording and analysing production data.

The chair of food packaging technology of the University of Munich at the Weihenstephan campus has been occupied with the contents of production data acquisition systems (PDA) since 2000.

Which data is relevant? Which data should machines deliver? These questions were taken into consideration in the first specifications of 2000. In accordance with the experiences of the HEUFT SYSTEMTECHNIK GMBH company, as manufacturer of check devices and container dress machines, with the networking of drinks filling equipment and the implementation of IT projects, further problem areas resulted, which could have been resolved by standardization. Apart from the contents, questions regarding the technical transmission path, the interfaces and the language for the efficient realization of an IT project for data acquisition are important. Up to now there has not been a common standard for the interfaces and the communication language in a bottling hall with various machine and check device manufacturers. This resulted in time-consuming and material-consuming solutions which were expensive for the customer.

For this reason the HEUFT SYSTEMTECHNIK GMBH company threw its weight behind the recommencement of the studies at the Weihenstephan campus in 2002. A study group headed by Professor Horst Weisser and with the support of the German Brewers´ Association came into being. Important machine manufacturers, system houses and brewers sat around a table at several meetings and continued to develop the standard constructively over a period of two years. The result of these meetings is the "Weihenstephan standard for the production data acquisition along drinks filling lines".
The new edition of the specifications, valid since 1 January 2005, includes amongst other things the following central points:
• communication via Ethernet
• the communication language (the protocol) is open and easy to test
• a cross-platform protocol via XML and http will be used in future
• check devices, machines and PLCs speak the same language (plug & play)

The HEUFT SYSTEMTECHNIK GMBH company has been offering devices with Ethernet interfaces as a standard feature for almost ten years now. The implementation of the Weihenstephan specifications took place both at the machine end with the check devices as the data supplier supplying the specified data range to an existing production data acquisition at the customer´s and at the receiving end with the HEUFT PROFILER as the line data acquisition system. For analysis purposes any devices from the most varied manufacturers can be integrated into the weak points analysis of a complete production line.

HEUFT SYSTEMTECHNIK GMBH has developed the HEUFT xio for integrating devices from manufacturers which do not support the standard yet. It makes universal data connection possible and has been used successfully in practice over the past years.

To sum up one can say that our involvement in the standardization meetings will be rewarded by numerous simplifications during the daily routine regarding projects. Not only does this make the planning and project work easier but it is also an advantage for the customer in terms of time and money. An advantage which HEUFT is pleased to pass on.