Feasibility of Project with motion/speed sensors

Hi guys.

My name is Marco and I'm an intern in a textile industry in Brazil. We produce fabric used in clothes. I had an idea to measure the availability effiency of one of our machines. It is a stamp machine that uses cylinders. This machine has a continuous flow of fabric. Here some images for you understand the machine better:

http://www.nanete.com.br/tpl/imagens/foto9.jpg http://www.irmaoshort.com.br/img/estamparia_5.jpg http://www.hgtextil.com.br/upload/servicos/2015/07/d20087c03652efb82ecdc6f9f5a0416f.jpg

The conveyor belt carries the fabric through the cylinders that stamps it. The speed ranges from 16 to 35 meters per minute.

I have no experience with arduino, but I have searched and I think it might help me. I need help to know if it's possible build such project with arduino to avoid wasting time with a tool that will not work.

The project is basic the following. One sensor that will identify if the machine is running (motion/speed sensor would work?). Every time that machines stops it will send a signal and create an entry in a spreadsheet and then another when it starts to work again (e.g. 5:36pm to 6pm machine has stopped). The operator then will write down the cause of the time down. It would be better to just show the operator the stops greater than 5 minutes, that way reducing the time that him would spend writing. Too many small stops would be annoying.

I don't know if I was clear enough. Any help would be very helpful. Thanks in advance.

Marco

That should not be a difficult project. Once you find a [u]reliable[/u] way to determine if the machine is operating or not, the Arduino could send a message to a PC or laptop via the serial port.

I use the free macro PLXDAQ to post entries from the serial port to an Excel spreadsheet (works with older versions of Excel). Each spreadsheet entry can include the date and time of day the entry was made.

If you have a sensor that can tell if the machine is stopped or working the rest should be straightforward.

How quickly, after the machine stops, do you want the time stamp to appear in your spreadsheet? I guess it does not have to be immediate - you may look at the spreadsheet one or two times every day?

Assuming my guess is correct I would create a small PC program that receives the runs all the time listening for data from the Arduino and saving it to a CSV file which can easily be read by your spreadsheet.

...R

Thanks, guys!!!

Robin2: How quickly, after the machine stops, do you want the time stamp to appear in your spreadsheet? I guess it does not have to be immediate - you may look at the spreadsheet one or two times every day? ...R

The operator would have to look at the spreadsheet and write down in an empty colunm the cause of the stoppage. Probably he'd do that a few minutes after the machine is back to work.

PLXDAQ is perfect for that project. You can modify the spreadsheet while it is listening to the Arduino port.

Which arduino platform should I use?

It doesn't matter which Arduino. The sensor is much more important and that will require experimentation.

The machine already have a display that shows how fast it is running. I think I could use something similiar.

What causes the machine to stop? does the operator stop it to change fabric, clear jams or refill ink etc?
Does the operator stop it to take a break (Meal, bathroom, cigarette)?
Does the machine stop automatically if the fabric breaks?
What draws the fabric through the machine? Is it pulled through or is it on a belt?

These answers will help with deciding what sensor to use, the machine may already have contacts that change state if the machine stops.

Kiwi_Bloke: What causes the machine to stop? does the operator stop it to change fabric, clear jams or refill ink etc? Does the operator stop it to take a break (Meal, bathroom, cigarette)? Does the machine stop automatically if the fabric breaks? What draws the fabric through the machine? Is it pulled through or is it on a belt?

These answers will help with deciding what sensor to use, the machine may already have contacts that change state if the machine stops.

Setups, breakdowns or adjustments cause the stoppages. The machine doesn't stop while operator is in the break, another takes control of the operations. The machine doesn't stop if the fabric breaks.

It is a belt, there is always fabric in the machine, even when it stops for setups or anything else.

I am thinking to use a sensor to measure the speed of the belt.

How about a rotary encoder connected to a wheel which in turn contacts either the fabric or one of the rollers? We used a mechanical version of this to measure electrical cable accurately.