The EPRO (Economic Production) is one of futronic’s most successful and most reliable machine controls. Even now, more than 300 EPRO controlled systems are currently productive worldwide. In the meantime, however, the ArcNet communication structure in particular is outdated and several components of the EPRO, originally launched in the market in the early nineties, are no longer manufactured and therefore difficult to get hold of. The EPRO Upgrade Kit is a bridging technology developed by futronic which brings yesterday’s controls back up to date on the basis of the FMT24S in return for an altogether manageable investment.
Comprehensive retrofit, manageable investment
The first step in an EPRO retrofit is always to remove the central processor rack from the control cabinet and replace it with a similar module. This is comprised of the so-called FMT24S machine processor (FMT24S-MPR) and a new board specially developed for this purpose by futronic’s hardware specialists. The EPRO Interface Board (EIB) bridges the gap between the internal control algorithm of the EPRO components and the FMT system – that is to say, the old system and the new one. The new electronics board has connections for the EPRO valve drivers on the front plate as well as for the control panel of the glass machine. All other connections for the machine components controlled by the central processor rack, such as the shear or the reject valve, are located on the rear of the module.
Windows PC supersedes DOS computer
Finally, the old DOS computer which has often survived until now makes way for a standard PC with a newer Windows operating system. A special version of the control software with the modern, EPRO-tailored FMT24S user interface is then installed on this PC. All network components and IT hardware, like switches or cable and connection systems, can now be purchased “off the peg” and the network connection is established via the PC’s own Ethernet port. Every retrofit of this kind should also include new cables, depending on the system’s age and condition. They could become brittle over the years and lead to faults in view of the harsh production conditions prevailing in glassworks.
Data transfer included
The upgraded EPRO provides many features that are standard with the FMT, though the customer’s production programs must of course be rewritten at the same time. More components from the FMT range can be integrated for specific functions if necessary, for example an upgrade to servo-proportional valve control. And what happens to all the precious data? What about the jobs and their parameters? It goes without saying that futronic copies the entire data from the old EPRO control and imports it into the new system. Nothing whatsoever is lost.