Nissan Europe contracted Cromex to develop a new tank farm that stored and delivered fluids required on the line side. Cromex then sub-contracted Owben to design and implement a control panel for the system.
In the trim shop within the Nissan complex, fluids including gearbox oil, brake fluid, glycol and Adblue are stored in 200 litre drums by the side of the line. These fluids are pumped from these drums into the vehicles as required.
In total, there are nine different fluids which are used during the manufacturing process. These were delivered to the production line by forklift truck, which meant regular deliveries were required throughout the shift to maintain the flow.
THE TECHNOLOGICAL OBJECTIVES
Owben and Cromex collaborated to come up with a convenient, cost effective and safe system for delivering the fluids to line side. They concluded that removing the forklift trucks from the process would make the lineside safer and reduce operational costs. Additionally, if the fluids could be purchased and stored in bulk then additional cost savings and efficiencies could be made.
Ideally, all the fluids would be delivered to one area and allocated from there to the various points around the line.
The proposed design was based around housing bulk containers that could hold 50,000 litres of fluid in a remote location and linking it to the lineside with pipework.
Owben’s involvement in this project was to design and install a control system to monitor the pumps, flow, and pressure within the system. Having searched the market, Nissan identified there were no suitable control systems that could be purchased off the shelf. In addition, as the system needed to be networked for closer control, there were no other existing systems on the Nissan site which could be utilised.
Owben encountered technological uncertainty throughout the development of the control panel, as no other production lines within Nissan have required a control panel with similar characteristics.
Owben needed to construct a brand-new control panel system using technology and equipment such as DP/PA communication. During the project, Owben was required to use local connections, Ethernet communications, safety interlocks, pump sizing and control architecture and PLC control systems, which required detailed planning and calculation to ensure all would function efficiently with one another.
System uncertainty is the technological uncertainty that results from the complexity of a system rather than uncertainty about how its individual components behave. In this case, system uncertainty related to the integration of the various components. The system had to tested and investigated to understand the effects of integrating the components into the system. It was not known how the different components would interact with each other.
Owben successfully designed and built a modular system to control each individual fluid system. All the modular units were controlled from one main controller using a Siemens control system and industrial Ethernet for communication.
The amalgamation of these systems meant that the total system is spread out over a large area with remote panels some 300-400m away from the main control panel.