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Customer support via IIoT – A router made Lämneå Bruk less vulnerable when the Corona pandemic started
A router, that the machine manufacturer Lämneå Bruk uses and mounts in the control cabinet of their machines for the last ten years made Lämneå Bruk less vulnerable when the Corona pandemic struck in the beginning of 2020. The router makes it possible for them to connect to the customers machine remotely and proceed the support and service that the customer has bought.
Lämneå Bruk in Ljusfallshammar, located outside of Finspång – Sweden, about three miles from Norrköping is a modern family business focused on manufacturing of highly automated machines, manufacturing lines and facilities for the wire drawing industry with the whole world as their market field. The company had annual sales of about 160 SEK in the financial year 2019/2020. As much as 95 percent of the manufacturing are exported to 98 countries. In total, there are up to 123 different types of machines sold in Germany, USA, Canada, China, South Korea, Japan and India amongst others. Other countries in Europe also belong to the company’s important export markets. The products manufactured using the machines produced by Lämneå Bruk include welding wire, welding electrodes, springs, tubular wire, nails and screws.
One of the most common and typical products among the wire drawing machines is the drawing machine, which has the task of reducing steel wire from coarse to thin by pulling it, for example from 8 to 3mm. Raw materials are wire rod from suppliers all over the world. Another type of machine is so-called rewind lines. In these, the thread is repackaged to the end customer’s packaging. Even though 60 percent of all machines from Lämneå Bruk are machines for the welding wire industry, machines are also built for, for example, spring wire, reinforcement an staple products.
Lämneå Bruk dates back to the early 18th century when the facory was a foundry. The journey in the wire industry started as early as 1823. Today, the company is owned by the CEO Jonas Hagstedt, whose father bought the company in the late 1950s. About 50 employees include designers, automation technicians, programmers, machine fitters in electricity and mechanics, cnc operators, welders, painters, support staff and administrators in logistics among other things. You basically have all the professions that enable Lämneå Bruk to produce everything from home.
We have control over the entire production chain
-We are able to manufacture a wide range of technically advanced machines for different types of wire, from small single machines to complete lines. Each machine is unique and each customer has special requirements for their facility. We build what the customer request and transform ideas into entire machine system solutions that are both user- and maintenance-friendly, says Jonas Hagstedt, CEO and owner when he comes in and visit the magazine Automation, which visited the factory in September 2020.
-We are actually quite alone on the market here in Europe, with just a few competitors. We have control over the entire production chain, and we take responsibility for all parts of the machine. Electrical design, programming, manufacturing of the machine and control cabinets. Everything is assembled on site here in Sweden. We live up to our slogan: “A passion for service”. We are proud to be able to offer excellent customer service before, during and after sales, Jonas Hagstedt emphasizes.
The company is well advanced in the technology. From order to finished machine, it takes between two and six months before the machine can be shipped to the customer. Often together with staff to ensure that the installation goes well and that the staff at the customer company receive good training and support right from the start.
-The customer can decide a lot about what his machine will look like, says Peder Helgesson, automation manager at Lämneå Bruk, who guides the magazine Automation through the facility.
-The customer can make different choices regarding components, mechanical and electrical design and the color of the machine. But we try to standardize as much as possible and therefore the machines are modular as far as possible. We use ready-made well-integrated complete solutions from our subcontractors with control and drive technology that also have integrated safety and energy regeneration.
Technics are today used in over 450 machines across the globe
Lämneå Bruk uses different control systems for their machines depending on the wishes of the customer in accordance with the technology they themselves use in their factory. Generally Siemens controls the machines that are exported to European countries and accounts for most of the solutions (ca. 60-70 percent). Allen-Bradley is used in what is sent to the US (30 percent) and Mitsubishi is mostly used on the East Asian markets including China and Japan. A router is mounted in the control cabinet in the machine or machine line to ensure that the suppliers have access to support and service remotely.
This is where Lämneå Bruk cooperate with Recab, a Scandinavian company specialized in custom solutions within what they call “from edge to cloud”, as well as embedded computer systems, industrial data communication, sensors, and vision. The cooperation began in 2010 and the technics are today used in over 450 machines across the globe. Before that Lämneå Bruk used another, less practical, solution, a regular modem that you connected to through a phone call.
-When we started up our online support in 1994 most people didn’t have broadband connection, so it was probably the only usable solution, says. Peder Helgesson. He works as an automation manager at Lämneå Bruk but also belongs to the team of eight people (automation technicians) who go out and help the customers with installation and training.
The machine is constantly prepared for connection.
The product consists of a router attached in the control panel of the machine and its task is to mediate the connection between the operator panel that is attached to the machine and make it and the entire network on the machine available to the service technician at Lämneå Bruk. This way, the service technician can troubleshoot the machine as if they were sitting on site in the customer’s facility. There are hundreds of sensors in each machine and a lot can happen during the operation of the machine. Everything from a sensor breaking, that the pneumatics not working because a valve may have broken, a pulse sensor to an engine has stopped working to a mechanical fault that has occurred because the wire fell off and accidently hit some part of the equipment. HMIs are also sensitive things with their touch screens that can break because you may press too hard and too much on the screens while wearing rough work gloves.
– The router connects to the network and further to the central server, which in this case is located in France, says Magnus Unosson, customer responsible at Recab
– The advantage is that it is a secure connection that does not disturb the company’s firewalls since it connects from the inside and out. Software that belongs to the router also handles IP addresses that are there in the background. The customer easily connects to the router with the help of a unique product code key. The solution uses the company’s existing connection to the network. A fixed connection also means that you avoid problems with SIM cards and such. The machine is constantly prepared for connection. When the service is to be done, the customer wants access to new functions on the machine or when various additional programming in the plc is to be done, you connect to the server.
The solution that Recab offers consists of both the hardware, a router from Etic Telecom, as well as the software called m2me. The m2me-solution by Etic is intended for remote maintenance and control of all types of industrial units (plc, hmi, Drive, etc.).
– In these times, during the Corona Crisis, when it has not been possible to travel freely across the world during long periods of times it has been a huge advantage to be able to connect to the customer remotely from home, states Peder Helgesson. Occasionally the customers need extra plc programming and naturally it becomes cheaper when we can do it from here, since it saves us long expensive trips and lots of time. There can be about 50 pages in the operator interface with images and everything. Our machines use different standard modules, but it is common for the customer to want their own adaptions and additions.
This might be Lämneå Bruks largest competitive advantage on the market. That they can deliver machines that are based on standard design but offering a lot of customizations. They also build and develop new machines or functions in direct cooperation with their customers. These machines are completely customized without a standard basic to begin with.
Text and photo by DAGMAR ZITKOVA – Magazine Automation
– We chose Recab for their overall solutions, says Ola Sjöstedt, project manager at El & Automation in Nora, who is responsible for the installation in Danfo’s toilet facilities.
Compact and reliable router
The 3G/4G router EBW-L100 is a compact, industrial router that was chose for the Danfo toilet units.. The router has an in-built firewall, handles different types of VPN solutions and fits on a DIN rail. In short, it is a reliable and easily fitted hardware solution that can be upgraded to suit future needs.
– The router is simple to install and takes up very little space, Ola Sjöstedt.
Cloud solution for automated distance control
In addition to the hardware solution, Recab has also delivered an INSYS VPN solution that suits Danfo’s needs. The INSYS icom Connectivity Suite is a reliable, cloud-based service that is easy to use. Many of Danfo’s toilet facilities are stationed abroad, and accessing units remotely cuts down on travel and therefore saves time and reduces the environmental impact.
– The cloud-based service is very stable. We get regular service updates from INSYS, says Ola Sjöstedt who – thanks to the cloud solution – can manage software updates and support local technicians remotely.
High safety standards
Adding a fire alarm or a payment solution are examples of services that can be managed remotely. In addition to installing an alarm that detects heat, fire or open doors, it’s also possible to access relevant statistics remotely. The router together with the VPN solution are used in approximately 150 public toilet facilities around the world.
– Recab has been a good partner. The products are delivered on time and we receive good support when we need it. Technology is rapidly moving forward and in the future we’ll see even more digitalised solutions, says Danfo product manager Magnus Appelgren.
EBW-L100 3G/4G (hardware/router)
Text: Jimmie Öbom
Profectum has a tight cooperation with Recab and Nils Olav Gjørvad on the parking solution within smart reading. – The result is a robust electronics cabinet which can be mounted both indoors and outdoors, he says.
The product, which is starting to become well known by many people, is called EasyPay. It is described as a new and modern solution for easy and user-friendly parking. – There will be no need for tickets, fines and barriers as this is replaced with smart technology, says the managing director of Profectum AS, Lars Kaasin.
The parking time starts and stops by advanced camera technology, and the payment is automatic. Lars Kaasin tells that Profectum is growing fast, and the solution is used, for example, in parking houses, shopping malls and amusement parks. The company has become a real competitor to the traditional parking companies.
– Recab is our collaborator on machinery, and together we have developed solidly built centrals that can handle a vast number of cars arriving to park, Kaasin says. He emphasizes the cooperation with Nils Olav Gjørvad at Recab. – He has given us valuable support with choosing components, testing and implementation of the project, Kaasin explains.
Found the right knowledge
– We got into contact with Recab since they are distributor of a unit which we wanted to use in our own centrals. We soon discovered that Recab has knowledge and experience from similar project, and that they therefore could be a valuable collaborator for developing our solution, Kaasin says.
Stabile and scalable
– The process started with mapping and choosing components for designing the central, testing and making a prototype. Eventually we found the final solution, and now we have a stable and scalable product which is easy to maintain, he continues. The core of the system is an industrial PC without a fan, and with an extended temperature range. According to Gjørvad, the PC is a Nuvo 5002LP from Neousys Technology, with a sixth generation Core i7 processor which corresponds to a strong stationary PC, but this is a more robust and maintenance free version.
Nuvo-5002LP/5006LP is the low-profile version of Nuvo-5000 family. It features a low-profile chassis, which reduces its height to 77 mm, and remains extraordinary 25°C to 70°C operating temperature. For those demanding varied computing power, Nuvo-5002LP/5006LP supports socket-type CPU for flexible CPU installation.
– All video processing and number plate recognition is on this platform, Gjørvad explains. – Everything is designed according to Profectum´s specifications, and we have made all the necessary switches (including fiber options), a 4G modem, and we have defined the power supply, UPS, as well as an emergency power battery, he further explains.
From camera to sky
The central communicates with ANPR cameras which register the number plates, plus Profectum´s sky solution for further processing.
– For us, it is critical that all components register every parking, and the chosen components in the centrals reflect this, Kaasin says. He emphasizes that they have chosen high quality solutions that gives redundancy to both the network and power supply. In this work, he describes Recab as an important and valuable supporter.
One hundred percent Norwegian
Profectum delivers all the software, and the solutions are finished at Topro. When the cabinets have been configurated at Recab´s filial at Eggemoen near Hønefoss, they are sent directly to the users, where they are connected to the power system and cameras.
A good environment for product development
Recab´s main Norwegian office is at Hamar, but the company has chosen to keep the Eggemoen office for several reasons. – Here we are in the thick of things regarding product development. You will find, for example, Tronrud Engineering, which is both a customer, supplier and collaborator on a lot of projects. You will also find the mechanic supplier HG-Mek, Prox/Flir, and Norsk Titanium, Gjørvad proudly informs. The Hamar department has just moved to new locations, and Elektronikk will come back to this in a later issue.
To Profectum, the solution means more competitiveness and possibilities of growth. – For us, it is important to have control at all stages of our solutions. We develop all software ourselves, and we will have the same control over the machinery in the centrals, Kaasin says. – Through our cooperation with Recab, we have gained full control of the actual components, and none of the centrals has broken down so far!
Do you want to know more about the project or our other product, please contact us:
Nils Olav Gjørvad /+47 96 90 22 11 / NilsOlav.Gjorvad@recab.com
Bjørn Espen Aase / +47 62 54 02 91 /email@example.com
Text & Photo by: By Einar Karlsen Elektronikknett
“The requirements we were facing were fairly tough,” says Nils Olav Gjørvad at RECAB. “We’re talking about a solution consisting of several units that had to be integrated into one robust module. Not only that, but the size and surface area requirements were rigorous. And it had to reuse the UHF radio and GPS module from the existing solution.”
Taking on the iSurvey challenge
The surveying and positioning company iSurvey was looking for a “nutcracker” to crack the tough nut of developing a new module for its iSafe positioning system. RECAB took on the challenge.
iSurvey is a dynamic company providing a range of advanced services for seabed surveying and positioning of offshore installations and ships. For one of its systems, the anchor management system iSafe, there was a need to develop a more compact, robust modular support unit including positioning and communications electronics.
Shrink the module
The requirements we were facing were fairly tough, says Nils Olav Gjørvad at RECAB. – We’re talking about a solution consisting of several units that had to be integrated into one robust module. Not only that, but the size and surface area requirements were rigorous. And it had to reuse the UHF radio and GPS module from the existing solution.
First, to see whether it was even possible to develop the desired product, RECAB carried out a feasibility study in cooperation with the Danish division of the company. – Our colleague Brian Axbøg did much of the 3D design of the solution, says Gjørvad. – It was important to do this early on to make sure all the components would fit. We also had to deal with the heat and EMC challenges you face in a densely packed cabinet containing processor cards, a GPS module, a UHF module and diplexer.
Had to develop heat spreader
Choosing the processor turned out to be a challenge too, since there isn’t much cooling inside the box, he says. Initially RECAB was looking at an Intel Atom-based card to keep power consumption down, but it didn’t deliver optimal performance. Instead, they went with a third generation Core i3 processor, deciding it was better to take the trouble of developing solutions for getting the heat away from the processors. – It took a lot of R&D to get it to work, says Gjørvad. We developed a special aluminum heat spreader to conduct the heat out to the chassis. The solution we ended up with is specified for use at up to 60°C ambient temperature. We also had to design a brand new power supply unit in order to fit the space and provide proper outlets.
The mechanical design of the unit is a separate challenge. The chassis and its mounting bracket (which can be collapsed when not in use) are designed to be easy to move and set up wherever needed. – The mounting process had to be as simple as possible. The unit can either be attached directly to the equipment it will be used with or placed in a rack, says Gjørvad. The mechanism was developed by a Danish company with expertise in products for maritime environments, and the unit is IP65-rated.
The solution is a support system intended for use in positioning drilling rigs and ships during operations such as anchoring, says Gjørvad. – Typically you have a positioning system aboard the oil rig and an iSafe system on each supply boat. These units communicate by radio in the UHF range, and provide positioning data that is adequate for use by the control systems of iSurvey.
I think we’ve done a good job of meeting the technical challenges, says Gjørvad. One of the biggest challenges otherwise was keeping track of all the details. Good project management ended up being extremely important. The products have now been deployed and are field proven, robust and stable in operation in the North Sea. And iSurvey is satisfied with our implementation!
Developing a maritime unit for a positioning system:
– The requirements we were facing were fairly tough, says Nils Olav Gjørvad of RECAB.
The industrial design of the solution was an interactive process engaging both iSurvey and RECAB. The 3D design and implementation were done by RECAB’s Danish division. The positioning and communications module is designed so it can be moved into the field and installed quickly and easily.
The iSurvey Group provides a range of services in the area of surveying and installation of offshore projects, from data collection and seabed surveying to positioning and management of multiple ships, underwater positioning, anchor management, cable installation, and ROV remote control, to mention a few. The Group is based in Billingstad, outside Oslo, and has a division in Singapore.
Do you want to know more about the project or our other product, please contact us:
Nils Olav Gjørvad /+47 96 90 22 11 / NilsOlav.Gjorvad@recab.com
Bjørn Espen Aase / +47 62 54 02 91 /firstname.lastname@example.org
Text by: Einar Karlsen