automation in a new dimension

futronic integrates fourth line at HEINZ-GLAS

A futronic development partner for many years: Heinz-Glas is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of glass bottles and jars for the perfume and cosmetics industry.

Stephan Pies, Head of Sales at futronic

Together with technicians from glass manufacturer Heinz-Glas, futronic’s control system specialists expertly integrated a futronic annealing lehr control into an FMT24S IS machine control system around four years ago. It all began with a – very successful – prototype at the factory in Piesau. The fourth line there has just gone productive with a networked control system.

Digital technology is continuing to make inroads into industrial container glass production. And as an automation specialist futronic, too, has naturally devoted considerable attention to Industry 4.0 for some time now. The idea is that the controls for the various components on a production line should be linked up to one another. futronic is one of only a few suppliers worldwide to have both an IS machine control system and an annealing lehr control in its portfolio. Our control system specialists initially upgraded the annealing lehr control with an Ethernet interface in order to connect it to a higher-level process control system. And in the second step, they integrated it into futronic’s FMT24S e-timer. The advantages are undeniable: “The FMT24S and the annealing lehr control are combined into one unit”, explains Stephan Pies, Head of Sales at futronic

HEINZ-GLAS – a development partner
The first implementation of this integrated machine and annealing lehr control system was back in 2017 on a new line at the Heinz-Glas factory in Piesau in Thuringia, central Germany (refer also to the report on ‘Networking on all levels’ in our futronic Journal 2017). The company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of glass bottles and jars for the perfume and cosmetics industry. futronic and Heinz-Glas have built up a proven and trusting partnership throughout many years of collaboration. Heinz-Glas is not just a key account but a futronic development partner: the glassmaker regularly supplies valuable practical input that supports the development of futronic products and technologies – and vice versa.

Improved energy efficiency in industrial production
The production line chosen at the time in Piesau for the prototype installation consists of an IS machine with eight sections. The integration of the machine control system with the annealing lehr control ensures a continuous exchange of information. The machine operator can control the annealing lehr control system remotely, as it were, and much more conveniently from the HMI of the FMT24S. When a job change is due on the IS machine, for example, both the FMT and – if necessary – the annealing lehr control can be set to “Change job” mode in the same HMI with only a few clicks of the mouse. The required parameters are automatically transferred to the annealing lehr control. That cuts job change times as well as the error rate while increasing productivity and profitability. What’s more, the annealing lehr automatically reduces the temperature for the duration of the job change. “Energy efficiency, too, is measurably improved all along the production line as a result”, Pies observes.

More lines in future
The 2017 prototype has long since gone over to regular production mode. A second line followed in 2019 and a third a year later. And the fourth line with integrated annealing lehr control went into operation not long ago, all at the factory in Piesau. “We’re always on the lookout for sustainable technologies that can help us further improve product quality, achieve optimal working conditions and bring down costs”, comments Siegfried Seibt, who was responsible for the project at Heinz-Glas. “The integration of the annealing lehr control and the machine control system is a good example of the fruitful collaboration between our two companies.” futronic’s Stephan Pies is proud to have gained yet another satisfied customer. And he’s confident that “we’ll soon have a chance to implement our integrated control concept on the production lines in Kleintettau and Poland as well”.