Hydrowash Sàrl cleans up at the carwash thanks to the capabilities of CompactLogix
Automatic vehicle-washing solution company reduces development costs, installation time and maintenance costs
A Rockwell Automation solution was installed, which included:
- Allen-Bradley CompactLogix Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) for managing and controlling all operations
- Allen-Bradley PanelView operator console
- RSLogix5000 development software
- Nearby technical assistance and support – Service Asset Management
Reduced station installation time
- Reduced development costs thanks to easy startup and programming
- Lower maintenance costs thanks to remote maintenance
Founded in 2000, the Swiss company Hydrowash Sàrl designs, manufactures and commissions customised automatic vehicle washing solutions.
More than 60 centres throughout Europe now have one of the company’s solutions. Each of its washing systems
is equipped with a single control unit which manages and controls all the operations.
For over 10 years Hydrowash has appreciated the close, supportive and trusting relationship it has developed with Rockwell Automation, whose equipment has been a successful part of every installation commissioned over this period.
Inside the washing equipment made available to users is a powerful command/control system which automatically manages the various washing operations, monitors the operation of the devices, alerts maintenance services in the event of a fault and allows the operating parameters of a station in Martinique to be modified from Switzerland!
The added value of washing systems designed by Hydrowash resides in their customisation: although the general process is almost identical, the peripheral equipment, products used and time allocated to the different operations vary from system to system.
For each new project, Hydrowash’s solution must be configured to suit the needs of the final customer. Of course, this includes the electrical control cabinet and the automatic control equipment it contains. This explains the importance of the technical assistance and support Hydrowash requires from its automatic control equipment supplier… and is the reason why the relationship with Rockwell Automation is so greatly appreciated.
“To help us with the specific developments and adaptations required for each application, we really need our suppliers to be close by”, explains André Lambert, Executive partner at Hydrowash Sàrl.
For the first systems, Hydrowash used automatic control equipment from a European supplier. Because they were not based locally, they were neither able to provide the assistance Hydrowash needed nor to respond within the required time.
The company then approached Rockwell Automation who, with the help of an official System Integrator – Icube SA, based in Bulle – was able to respond promptly and precisely to all the requirements imposed by this type of system.
A washing station comprises one to eight washing bays, each with its own maintenance options and equipment. All of the equipment is managed from a single command/control cabinet installed in a technical area.
At the heart of the equipment sits an Allen-Bradley CompactLogix Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) which is connected to the various pieces of equipment via on/off input/output and analogue boards and RS232 interfaces.
Like an orchestra conductor, the Allen-Bradley CompactLogix PAC manages the various programmes and washing equipment in the different bays, from moving the rollers to controlling the automatic seat dust removal devices, setting the wash cycle times, managing the station lighting, activating water circuit frost protection if required and heating the ground. It also communicates with the payment systems associated with the various pieces of equipment available for use by motorists and helps with the security of the cash inserted in the cash box; it even keeps accounting records for the washing station!
An Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus operator console on the front of the control cabinet displays the status of the operations, faults and alarms and allows the washing station’s various parameters to be adjusted.
Thanks to the RSLogix5000 development software from Rockwell Automation, the controllers can be programmed very quickly and easily, even remotely.
“The Logix family of automatic controllers are very simple to commission, even for users with no special training in programming automatic control equipment”, reveals Lambert .“From our headquarters in Switzerland, RSLogix 5000 allows us to modify or optimise the programmes on a washing station located in Martinique! This means no more nightmares for our automatic control technicians and a substantial reduction in our costs.”
Rockwell Automation has built a strong and lasting relationship of trust with this customer. Hydrowash appreciates the quality of its technical support and its speedy intervention anywhere in the world, and in particular the Asset Management service offered by Rockwell Automation, which supplies the company with a full stock of spare parts, to offer the very best in after-sales service.
Together into the future
To speed up the exchanges between the automatic controller, the Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus operator interface and the modem used for remote programming, Hydrowash now uses an EtherNet/IP solution, which is offered as standard on Allen-Bradley CompactLogix PACs. This solution also removes the limitations inherent in conventional connections. The first Hydrowash centre to be equipped with EtherNet/IP interfaces has been operational since June 2010.
Among Hydrowash’s other planned developments is the management of equipment such as solar panels by the Allen-Bradley CompactLogix controller, the use of a FactoryTalk View supervisor for centralised management of several washing centres, and the development of new washing programmes that use less water and energy…
In any case, Hydrowash knows it can count on the proximity, responsiveness and assistance of Rockwell Automation.