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Old August 18th, 2017, 05:02 PM   #1
janner_10
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Schneider // So Machine

So after some hefty price increases by Rockwell this year, I have been tasked with finding some cost savings on hardware.

I spent a morning at Schneider's' place in Coventry this morning, chewing the cud with a couple of their guys.

We have used Rockwell kit for ever and a day, so a change is a big thing for us.

Our more complex machines will always remain Rockwell but for the more bread and butter panels, it was hard to not be impressed by their aggressive pricing.

They seem to have a solution for everything. I got a copy of SoMachine and a gratis license to take away and it seems fairly run of the mill Codesys, which I'm used to from a previous life working with Lenze PLC Designer.

It probably a weeks work translating from Studio 5000 to SoMachine, which is small fry in the scheme of things.

So whats the catch, because we can shave around 20% off the hardware costs of some bread & butter, copy and paste jobs that we may repeat 80 to 100 times a year because I can't find one yet. The annual saving from that is circa 20k +

We did a similar thing with B&R a couple of years ago and got our fingers burned with reliability issues and I don't want to be in the same boat again.

Any others in a similar boat?
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Old August 18th, 2017, 05:28 PM   #2
BobB
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Have a look at Omron - have had absolutely no reliability issues there at all. Screens are a problem with a lot of the manufacturers offerings.
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Old August 18th, 2017, 05:36 PM   #3
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For me, I would be keep in mind what programming language you're using for your projects. If I was using ladder logic, I wouldn't really want to use SoMachine or a different Codesys based product. However, if you're using something else, like structured text, things are pretty good. Some of their smaller PLCs are really cost competitive (M241/M251). Their HMIs that I've worked on make FT View look easy to use.
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Old August 18th, 2017, 06:39 PM   #4
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I was working on a Panel with M241 with transistor outputs and I must've shorted a couple of wires and smoke started coming out of the CPU. After shutting it down for a bit I had to power it up again to see which part of the unit I fried and if it would run. I powered it on and off a few times while unplugging input and output connectors, meanwhile smoke is coming out and I could see flashes of flame from the bottom of it. It finally sopped smoking when I removed the first output connectors (0.0-0.3) and after I rewired those outputs in the panel the machine and the CPU worked like a clock . After we replace it I will take it apart and see what fried but that's a CPU worth its money.
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Old August 19th, 2017, 02:08 AM   #5
paraffin power
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If you like Codesys, using a non-branded variant will save more. I use Beijer's platform as it goes, but in the long run you're not tied to any one manufacturer.
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Old August 19th, 2017, 09:28 AM   #6
Karsten
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We have used SOMACHINE TM251 PLC in a project with 30+ drives on CAN bus an also distributed IOS etc. Works fast and stabile. Good low prices. Easy to program and very good integration with Schneider HMIs. Vijeo designer is integrated and I think that it is the best HMI software around.
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Old August 21st, 2017, 12:55 AM   #7
chud
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Havent had hardware problems yet with the tm241 plc. I especially like using the built in vizualisation for small projects. No need for hmi as it you can operate straight from built in webserver. (there are some limitations to the amount of variables displayed on each page)
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Old August 21st, 2017, 11:47 AM   #8
BlueAltezza
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In my experience with the Schneider stuff the plc's were great as substitutes for smaller projects where I would use a Micrologix 1100 or 1400. My techs liked the fact they could just use a USB cable to do troubleshooting or updating when in the field. No hardware issues, either.

What I didn't like was the HMIs - I felt the graphics were way behind the times and I could get better (Red Lion/Maple/Delta) for less cost.
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Old August 21st, 2017, 03:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobB View Post
Have a look at Omron - have had absolutely no reliability issues there at all. Screens are a problem with a lot of the manufacturers offerings.
I agree! A lot of bang for your buck. Sysmac Studio
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Old August 21st, 2017, 03:39 PM   #10
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As codesys is used by many companies, it will be no problem to shift to other manufacturer, and you can even mix factories like schneider with beckhoff for the more demanding machines etc.
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Old August 24th, 2017, 10:47 PM   #11
CapinWinky
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I've worked extensively with B&R (who makes a lot of the new Schneider PLCs and IO, BTW) and a lot with Schneider's PacDrive (formerly ELAU), Magelis HMIs, and TM5 IO (made by B&R). I've also worked a lot with Rockwell the past few years.

As far as equipment reliability, Rockwell and B&R are comparable (very, very few failures during proper use). Schneider was a bit less reliable with their Altivar 32 VFDs rebooting (oddly, B&R private labels them as P74 VFDs and I have far fewer issues with those, Firmware?), but not overly unreliable. Just a few failures vs essentially no failures from B&R and Rockwell.

As far as usability, I will never stop shitting on Rockwell. Every time I touch it I run into another surprising limitation. I simply cannot understand how their marketing has kept them on top with such a terrible product. I liked PacDrive and SoMachine Motion, but the documentation (or at least access to it) is severely lacking and I really dislike their library naming and organization. I see B&R's Automation Studio and the amazing help system as the gold standard.

I'm toying with Beckhoff, I just need to find time to actually sit down and maybe do some training. I like Visual Studio and how refined and user friendly it is, but I honestly think I like Automation Studio better. Don't have enough experience with it to comment on the hardware. They're bitter rivals of B&R, so their product lines tend to be comparable. No idea on pricing comparison.
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Old August 26th, 2017, 06:38 AM   #12
sparkie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janner_10 View Post
So after some hefty price increases by Rockwell this year, I have been tasked with finding some cost savings on hardware.

I spent a morning at Schneider's' place in Coventry this morning, chewing the cud with a couple of their guys.

We have used Rockwell kit for ever and a day, so a change is a big thing for us.

Our more complex machines will always remain Rockwell but for the more bread and butter panels, it was hard to not be impressed by their aggressive pricing.

They seem to have a solution for everything. I got a copy of SoMachine and a gratis license to take away and it seems fairly run of the mill Codesys, which I'm used to from a previous life working with Lenze PLC Designer.

It probably a weeks work translating from Studio 5000 to SoMachine, which is small fry in the scheme of things.

So whats the catch, because we can shave around 20% off the hardware costs of some bread & butter, copy and paste jobs that we may repeat 80 to 100 times a year because I can't find one yet. The annual saving from that is circa 20k +

We did a similar thing with B&R a couple of years ago and got our fingers burned with reliability issues and I don't want to be in the same boat again.

Any others in a similar boat?
I've had experience with SoMachine stuff, never on the development side but on the maintenance side. I don't know much about them because I didn't have to work on them much. Their OTB's are pretty sweet, as you can run the program and HMI on the same system.
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Old August 26th, 2017, 02:10 PM   #13
JBA-DK
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Have you looked into proface panels?
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Old August 27th, 2017, 11:44 AM   #14
geyas
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Old August 27th, 2017, 10:49 PM   #15
seth350
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New B&R user here as well and really enjoy working with them. Software is great without needing 20 helper services running constantly. And your given the option of installing it on a flash drive or your pc.
My biggest gripe is their HMI designer that is built into Automation Studio. It's pretty tedious just to do simple things. I look at some of their demo screens and shutter at the thought of the poor fella that put it together.
As for AB,
Those high prices are probably due to all the hand holding going on.
Which is something that I'm not quite sure that I mind too much.
Right click-New Module-Powerflex 525-IP Address-Tags added- done
Purist programmers might balk at this hand holding. My time is worth more than I'm being paid and if keeping a backup of a virtual machine and opting out of the annual tech agreement keeps the boss happy and my family happy, then I'm ok.
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