Databases as automation centers

SQL4AUTOMATION - The smart database connection

When Huba Control produces sensors, it can easily process parts in batch sizes from 1 to several thousands. It can do this thanks to a flat automation structure with an SQL database as the control center. The SQL4automation Connector ensures fast and reliable communications between the control system and the database.

Huba Control AG, based in Würenlos, Switzerland, develops, manufactures and sells components for recording the physical parameters of pressure and flow. This includes pressure switches, sensors, pressure transmitters and flow sensors. “The company is a successful producer of products for industrial and building automation in Switzerland,” says the head of control engineering at INSYS Industriesysteme AG in Münsingen, Switzerland. INSYS designed the fully automatic production plant for Huba, built it ready for operation and commissioned it. This plant produces, labels and tests sensors using assembly and joining processes with the greatest possible flexibility. Depending on the product, they can produce between one and several thousands of parts per year, completely satisfying customer requirements. Everything up to finished sensors is automated. Even rush jobs can be done quickly, or in between other jobs.

Jobs directly from the ERP system
The jobs come directly from the ERP system. The AP+ system also makes decisions on order processing using the system and stored materials statuses, which are recorded in the system. The required parts come from the parts feeders controlled by the ERP system, via a plant loading system. Materials are matched to orders almost in real-time, even taking into account that certain housings are cleansed in the warehouse and therefore have to be processed within a certain time period. The ERP system learns which parts are required for a manufactured product via the connection to the engineering department. Each cell, in turn, is made up of various stations – everything is extremely modular. The core of the automation architecture is that all required data, such as setting parameters, are stored in a central SQL database and not in the plant control center. All data communications in the plant run via a database that is also connected to the ERP database. Only this configuration allows for parts for 40,32 million different sensors to be assembled (not including customer-specific labeling).

Great potential for Industry 4.0
Huba’s production boasts complete vertical and horizontal integration. There is no alternative to the database connection via the SQL4automation Connector, says the automation specialist. INSYS has been using this technology for three years and has now accumulated a wealth of experience. INSYS completes up to 25 projects a year in this way and is adamant that Industry 4.0 must have an intelligent database at its heart.