Programming Sample 3
Upgrading Legacy Hardware/Software on a Plating Line
A customer came to us with the daunting task of replacing an aging control system on a process line that utilized x-ray fluorescence for the measurement of gold, nickel and paladium plating thickness of a plated wire.
The original control system was based around an HP Series 200 computer connected to racks of HP-IB devices, as well as a GE PLC, and I/O multiplexer. The project got broken up into two phases.
In the first phase of the project, we had to swap out a Kinetic Systems "CAMAC" crate that communicated with the HP Series 200 over an HB-IB link. The hardware in the device was failing, and our customer needed to replace it with a reliable solution that would tide them over until the HP computer could be replaced. We replaced the system with a Canberra spectrum analysis card, and wrote a Visual Basic application that read in the spectrum and sent it through a GPIB card to the HP.
In the second phase of the project, another company was contracted to replace the X-ray equipment, and it was our responsibility to replace the HP Series 200 with a modern PC running Windows NT while still communicating with several of the legacy components. We built a 700Mhz Pentium 2 industrial computer running Windows NT and installed PCI data acquisition, spectroscopy and GPIB interface boards to communicate with the other PLCs and motion control devices that helped monitor and control the line.