Cardinal Glass needed a way to interface their humidity control sensors to their human machine interface (HMI). Newly released Omega Enterprise Gateway (OEG) with an updated OPC UA/DA protocol provided seamless integration and more effective monitoring.
Protect High-Value Assets Efficiently and Effectively
Every month Cardinal Glass produces about 8 million square feet of high-value specialty glass material that undergoes an intensive manufacturing process. Half of that material is cut-to-length, assembled, and shipped to customers. The other half—approximately 4 million square feet—is stored for upcoming orders. However, if the stored glass is exposed to humidity swings for too long, the coating will begin to oxidize, causing catastrophic damage.
To avoid this threat, Cardinal Glass added six Omega™ iTHX-SD temperature and humidity monitors mounted on six different columns spread across two buildings to monitor the temperature and relative humidity of the storage environment. However, the Quality Control Department still needed to retrieve data manually, which left the assets at risk between manual checks and required valuable time to check the monitors.
Additionally, Cardinal Glass wanted a solution that could integrate with their HMI. This would allow them to manage all their plant operations from a single interface since the other machines on the plant floor were already integrated with their HMI.
"If product goes bad on our floor that’s lost profit,” says Jeff Tramel, Automation Control Specialist for Cardinal Glass
Data on Demand with an OPC UA Protocol
Cardinal Glass’ HMI was using an OPC UA protocol to tie into the entire plant’s process—whatever real-time monitoring solution they integrated must, therefore, also use the OPC UA protocol. Jeff Tramel, Automation Control Specialist for Cardinal Glass, was tasked with finding the right solution.
After spending some time researching his options and struggling to come up with the right fit–the solutions he was finding used the older OPC DA protocols—Tramel was about to go with an old-school analog signal set up. However, he decided to approach Omega to see if he had overlooked a solution that might work. Tramel learned that Omega had just released a new software—Omega Enterprise Gateway (OEG)—and that the new software would support both OPC UA and OPC DA protocols.
“I was the first customer to attempt to implement the OEG software with the OPC UA integration protocol,” said Tramel, “I worked directly with one of Omega’s senior software design engineers and he was very responsive to my concerns and committed to making sure the software could meet my needs.”
“Having an agile software development process lets us quickly incorporate customer feedback,” says Xiaoyong Su, Senior Software Engineer with Omega. “Our customers get a product that works better for them and we get a product that will work better for all of our customers.”
Better Protection and Proactive Insights with Less Effort
For Cardinal Glass, the OEG software has provided the seamless integration needed between its HMI and its Omega monitoring devices. Now, Tramel can pull the data in real-time from the temperature and humidity sensors and tie the data back to the display on his HMI. This allows him and the Quality Control team to simultaneously monitor humidity levels alongside other plant processes and measurements.
Tramel also believes that having real-time insights will help the company not only better protect their assets, but be more proactive in improving their manufacturing processes and environment. In fact, recently the Quality Control Department sent screenshots of OEG analytics to the management teams when humidity levels were high during a recent issue in the manufacturing process—and noted that there may be a correlation between the two.
Tramel, is also looking forward to using the alert features of the OEG Gateway solution. With the alarm, Tramel and the Quality Control Department can receive instant notification through emails or text messages if the humidity levels reach a certain threshold, allowing them to adjust quickly to reduce the air’s humidity before any assets are damaged.