What would you do ? Not the TV show!

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25 Jul 2020 18:27 - 25 Jul 2020 21:31 #175769 by tommylight
I was called to check a 28 meter long automated production line with a punch press and a bending machine,
- circa 1980 or 1990's,
- brought from Germany in "working condition"
- told it costs 350K used
- has two places for automatically pulling the sheets, one for the punch, the other for the bending,
- has 2X2 big racks of electronics
- enormous amount of hydraulic and pneumatics and everything that goes with that, no air compressor,
-- of the above, at least 300 hydraulic valves and pistons and other moving parts, i would venture a guess at nearly 800 of them
-- just the bender has 150 of 2cm sections that move up and down independently to press on the material and the same amount of them laterally to hold the material while bending
-- at least 200 of pneumatic valves and cylinders and suction cups, more like 400 to 500 of them
- the seller had to come and put it together and make it ready for use, but due to this f@#$% pandemics they can not come,


Went and had a look at it for nearly 2 hours, this is the result:
- machine in pretty good condition,
- plenty of yanked cables and wires, most of them not labelled,
- a huge number of disconnected connectors, not labelled,
- a huge number of detached sensors, wiring connected,
- a huge number of sensors on several pots, no wiring, no labelling,
- 20 to 30 posts with several IR sensors each, disconnected, used as fence around the machine,
- several leaky hydraulic fittings,
- a lot of damage during transport, some bent some crimped and some cut off metal shielded cables,
- no documentation

The issues:
- if the seller finds out someone messed with the machine, warranty is void, that is normal,
- the client can not wait and wants the machine working,
- there are no spare parts for the machine, not online, not at the manufacturer,
- machine is made in Italy, so the wiring is "spaghetti" system, no labelling or numbering on wires or connectors or sockets or ...anything.

My issue:
If i take the job, the responsibility falls on me and that is all good, until there is something that needs changing (see above about replacement parts), at that point the machine is useless and i am left in a very, very bad position.
I do not care about the wiring and hydro/pneu stuff, i can figure and replace all that, most probably i can also fix over 50% of the electronics if needed, so in total i am left with less than 20% uncertainty, but that is the part with the PLC programming (at least 10 to 20 of them) and machine parameters that are most probably lost by now due to the batteries (several of them) being empty since the machine is sitting for over 8 months and good only knows when they were changed last. No documentation !!!

What would you do ?
Last edit: 25 Jul 2020 21:31 by tommylight. Reason: More info

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25 Jul 2020 19:13 - 25 Jul 2020 19:21 #175780 by Grotius
Hi Tom,

What would you do ?

In my case i would replace all current plc's with a Ethercat bus sytem with integrated safety bus in the same flow to
get the Ce stamp.

The ethercat cable then coupled to one linux pc with a custom lcnc interface (with 64 bit ethercat) to stuer and visualize the process.
Lcnc hal will become the production line brain. Maybe a few custom components are handy. And you can service the system by internet.

If you need any help, no problem.

Like this :


You may not trust your work on old plc's. If they work for a few weeks, the line may stop working.
In this case, you can sell a high end solution to your customer.
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Last edit: 25 Jul 2020 19:21 by Grotius.
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25 Jul 2020 21:23 #175790 by tommylight

In this case, you can sell a high end solution to your customer.

That will never happen here, ever!
In this case it would cost over 100K just in parts to replace.
Leme go back and add some more info up there that i forgot.
Thank you,

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25 Jul 2020 21:44 #175796 by rodw
I think you and your customer need to get the seller on side. You need to convince him that you really know what you are doing but that you need his help and devise a way to work together to get this done due to covid-19. Maybe you can set up a web cam or something so you can ask questions in real time about what goes where.

The seller was budgeting on being on site so now its up to him to spend that time managing the project remotely.

Good luck.
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25 Jul 2020 22:42 #175802 by tommylight
Rod,
Very good idea, thank you. Will have to check how that goes, although from the state of the machine i doubt they are Germans. Germans are meticulous at packaging for shipping and label everything.

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25 Jul 2020 23:08 #175810 by rodw
The trouble is that now the seller has banked the money the risk is he won't bother to help. I knew a guy who bought a tallow rendering plant once and the seller promised the earth and then did nothing. It sent the guy broke!

The other thing is that you must tell your customer there is a risk you can't complete the task but that you need to be paid your hourly rate for the time you put in. Be sure to invoice weekly and that terms are strictly 7 days. If you are not paid by the end of the second week, work stops.

And yes, Grotius's idea of using ethercat with or without Linuxcnc might actually make sense even if it takes you out of your comfort zone!

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25 Jul 2020 23:40 #175822 by tommylight

And yes, Grotius's idea of using ethercat with or without Linuxcnc might actually make sense even if it takes you out of your comfort zone!

I have no comfort zone as far as challenges go, the more complicated = the more i am in !
I said that will not happen because they took a loan to get that, adding another 100K to the bill will ruin them.

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26 Jul 2020 16:08 #175921 by Mike_Eitel
Sorry, best to do RUN AWAY
Make a smal calc:
Give yourselv only 5 min for every controllable part to understand. How may hours.

I calc for a digital signal 200-400 chf. For analog 2 to 4 times. That is when hw and sw is not complicate.

Yes, you can do it, but how many month. You are as i know alone.. Can your customer wait that long? And what with your todays customers, wich you will not be able to help in those times.
Mike
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26 Jul 2020 17:43 #175935 by Clive S
+ one. run like hell you have enough to do.
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26 Jul 2020 17:44 #175936 by tommylight

Sorry, best to do RUN AWAY

Yup that is the best option.

Yes, you can do it, but how many month. You are as i know alone.. Can your customer wait that long? And what with your todays customers, wich you will not be able to help in those times.
Mike

3 weeks if everything goes nicely working 14 to 16 hour days, at least 2 months normally, but i would have to quote 3 months as ordering anything now is a lengthy process.
And you are right, i will loose quite some business while i am there.
Thank you, much appreciated.

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