European engine plant adopts Gigabit open Ethernet

In seeking to increase productivity at their engine and power transmission manufacturing plant in Poland, the management had several priorities. Firstly, to increase production line availability, secondly to improve the data transparency. Finally they wanted to improve integration for many third-party devices. It achieved these and more by selecting Mitsubishi Electric’s  CC-Link IE Gigabit open Ethernet network.

The Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland (TMMP) is their largest engine and transmission manufacturing operation in Europe. Constructed in 1999, the Wałbrzych plant produces over 633,000 engine and transmission units per year. It has a capacity of over one million units when running three shifts. The plant covers 520,000 square metres and includes engine assembly lines and forging lines. It also supplies engine parts to other factories

When the lines were first constructed, the communications requirements were quite simple. However, manufacturing is changing. The need for more data, and monitoring of the processes has led the company to reassess its networking requirements. They decided to upgrade the automation network in both the forging and engine assembly areas.

Forging line upgrade

There are nine forging lines, each with several different machines and only basic data transfer between each machine. The largest machine a 5,000-tonne stand-alone press. TMMP wanted to improve coordination and to transfer increased volumes of data between the various machines .

They decided on CC-Link network technologies because they are easy to put in place and met their other requirement. The pilot forging line involved integrating 13 stations with CC-Link IE for machine to machine communications. Standard CC-Link then provided data transfer between each machine and its subsystems, such as their FANUC robots.

Despite the seeming complexity, they completed the installation during their two weeks scheduled annual shutdown. The next step is to roll it out to the other eight forging lines,

Engine assembly

Engine assembly covers four lines and Toyota also wanted better data transparency across these lines, and to integrate more third-party products. The aim is a to create a poka-yoke system to improve quality in areas of assembly involving manual component picking. They wanted a network that would give the freedom to choose products from several vendors. Using an open network was important for the project to avoid being tied into buying control products from a single manufacturer.

They selected CC-Link IE Gigabit open Ethernet as it gave the required communications speeds to delivering a flexible and modular solution. Moreover, with over 1,700 CC-Link IE and CC-Link enabled devices available from over 300 vendors. This meant Toyota could select the best devices to build the poka-yoke system that it wanted.

The technology quickly proved its worth. Toyota is enjoying high availability, increased data transparency and improved production quality. The production line that is now able to make a new engine every 50 seconds. A spokesperson said “CC-Link IE was quick and easy to put in place, and simple to use.”

Gigabit open Ethernet for connected production facility

TMMP is already reaping the benefits as the CC-Link IE network proven to be exceptionally robust. Furthermore, its diagnostics capabilities mean if there are problems, fixing then is very quick.

The increased data transparency provides them with core tools for IIoT and manufacturing automation. It provides interconnectivity between production machines, and to field devices for connection to the enterprise systems.