UPC Gives New Life to Aging Carburizing Cell

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New Life of an Aging Carburizing Cell


An American-based manufacturer of axle gears and repeat customer of United Process Controls Inc. (UPC) opted for hardware and software enhancements to their existing heat treat cell and automation, when migration of legacy controls was not economically feasible. Among the problems with the outdated PLCs were limitations in recipe analysis and diagnostics, database capabilities, and the impossibility of connecting furnaces to a new robotic loading cell.

After investigating options to boost equipment functionality with UPC, the customer decided to integrate a new PLC that bridges the gap between the heat treat cell and new robotic loading cell. The new control system provides operators with a quick display of the furnace status, functions and operational data of three AFC Holcroft carburizing pusher furnaces. Furnaces were similarly adjusted to liaise with the new robotic loader. In addition, material handling data from the registers of the old PLCs was transferred to the new robot cell to help increase the factory information system. UPC was also retained to program and connect the updated furnace controls including the new conveyor line and charge cars to the factory information system.