We can roughly assume that for most conveyor systems more than half of the on-site installation time is spent wiring and programming. But when using EvoLink, this is greatly reduced. First of all we nearly eliminate electrical works on site by pre wiring. If there are any electrical works needed, the system can be started up in sections so that the mechanical and electrical teams can work simultaneously.
As for the programming, much is simplified as well. Again, a bigger part of the program can be prepared beforehand and there is no need to test and define each sensor or drive. The only interface is the whole component represented by an EvoLink Board.
System starts up weeks earlier
Preparation is the key and EvoLink helps you prepare. This effectively means moving the tedious wiring job from the customer´s site to our production. Based on the experience of Alvey and its partners, we can clearly see the saving of weeks if not months on the customer´s site.
There is no doubt how important production time is. The sooner the installation is available, the sooner the customer is able to monetize on production. This should be a decisive argument when choosing a control technology. It means an improved ROI.
Electrical works on site greatly reduced
EvoLink effectively enables the electrical works to be completed in the assembly shop. All the components are pre-wired and ready to be installed at the customer’s site. This is achieved by two innovative designs.
First, each component has its own EvoLink Board and therefore its own independent computer. This use of distributed intelligence effectively moves the logic of one central PLC to all the components in the network allowing for greater variability of the components.
No less important is the connection of the cables. Great care is taken by the EvoLink system to use durable and fool proof connectors for all the cables implemented. There are various industrial connectors for both power and data connections.
Easy and fast programming in C++ instead of PLC
For decades, PLC has been a standard controller for all the industrial applications. This has been a reliable system with questionable programming effectiveness. A PLC programmer will spend most of their time defining inputs/outputs and developing complex schemes, which is all relatively slow and monotonous work.
EvoLink on the other hand, defines the inputs/outputs automatically and therefore allows the programmer to focus on the system logic. To make things even easier, the EvoLink is programmed in C++. C++ programmers are more widespread and easier to find than specialised PLC programmers. However, EvoLink is compatible with the IEC 61131-3 standard, and it is still possible to program it in ladder diagram, function block diagram and others, like a PLC.
Makes any component totally plug & play
EvoLink can be thought of as a standard interface. Each EvoLink Board has its own „driver“ loaded depending on the component it is controlling. This can of course be done for virtually any component. Be it a labeller, wrapper, new sorter, case packer or any other machine added to the line, it can be fully pre-cabled and made entirely plug & play. This function has an endless potential for expansion into nearly any industrial field imaginable.
Easy future changes and extensions
Any extension and maintenance of the system can be carried out while the rest of the system is still running. This is a revolutionary feature because up untin now it has always been necessary to stop the existing installation while making any changes or extensions. EvoLink enables you to „hot plug“ any additional component to the running installation.
In order to adapt the existing installation and quickly enable its new extensions, ASI can be interfaced directly to the EvoLink board. Any existing installation can therefore be extended by an EvoLink system without any significant stoppages.
Improves monitoring of the automation system
As each component is equipped by its own controller, a lot of storage and processing power is available. For example, an EvoLink Board has more processing power than most PLCs, but it controls only component, and not the entire system.
EvoLink is able to process any data such as, power consumption, running hours, number of start/stops, roller slip detection and many other statistics this empowering your system with greater efficiency.
This data can then be used to create statistics, data analysis and preventive maintenance. A clever alarm system (for general incidents) allows for in-depth and precise supervision.
Safety stop plug & play
Safety regulations are becoming increasingly strict, and EvoLink is ready for this. An extra circuit has been developed for double wired safety stop, integrated directly on to the EvoLink Board. It is sufficient for securing case and pallet conveyors, as well as many other components like case erectors, labellers, and wrapping machines. A safety stop button can be plugged into any of the EvoLink Boards connected to the system, and if pressed it will stop the entire safety zone. Thanks to advanced wiring the pressed stop can be located immediately.
Comprehensive in-house testing
All the components integrate their own program. They are independent, and not tied to a precise position in a factory. Therefore, with no address to set, two components of the same type are mechanically, electrically and functionally identical to one another. Traditionally, you would need the whole installation program to test one component, or you would need to make adjustments each time. With EvoLink, we developed a Bench test for all the sensors, actuators, software, mechanics and cabling of each individual component. When arriving on site, the components are guaranteed to be fully functional, which again, saves the different teams time when starting-up the installation.
The components are not specialized to a precise position in a factory, therefore, in the event of a breakdown, a whole conveyor can be electrically disconnected from both sides, taken out, replaced by another one of the same type, re-plugged, and the installation will run. The potentially long processes of changing a broken part or making a diagnosis can be done outside of production, with minimal disruption. There is no need to re-program, re-configure or change any code, and no need for overqualified maintenance personnel.