The digital foundry – KMA participates in the new interface standard OPC UA

If peripheral devices communicate independently with die-casting machines, automatically clear the work area during maintenance work and switch to stand-by, then people, machines and industrial processes are intelligently networked with each other and we speak of Industry 4.0. The interface standard OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) not only offers secure and reliable industrial communication, but also enables companies to exchange data between products from different manufacturers.

Today, individual interfaces to casting machines already exist in die casting to enable the exchange of information in heterogeneous systems. The programming and control of these diverse interfaces, however, involves a great deal of personnel and time and does not allow for an exchange of information across manufacturers. Therefore, the networking of die casting machines with peripheral devices is being developed in an initiative of the VDMA together with manufacturers and selected suppliers from the die casting industry.

As a member of this working group, KMA works closely with die casting machine manufacturers to define a uniform OPC UA interface for the die casting industry. KMA, as an expert for exhaust air purification and smoke detection on die casting machines, has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, always with the aim to make the processes as intelligent as possible and the energy consumption as low as possible.

The basis for the intelligent networking of the exhaust air filter system with the casting machine is the advanced communication between the respective control systems. By synchronizing the technical interfaces, for example, the fan performance of the filter system adapts to the spraying cycle of the die-casting machine. During the spraying pause, the fan output can be reduced to 75 percent with the help of a frequency converter in order to reduce electrical consumption. Such an efficiency measure enables energy savings at each individual casting cell. In addition, the increased communication between the casting machine and the filter system forms the basis for many safety-relevant measures in the area of fire protection and occupational safety, such as auto start/stop or emergency control.

With the uniform interface standard OPC UA, peripheral devices will in future be seamlessly integrated into the foundries’ production processes. Standardization and automation will lead to time and cost advantages in the foundry and create flexibility in production.

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