Chrysler/FIAT Adopts PROFINET for CArS

  • October 10, 2011
  • Feature
October 2011
By Bill Lydon, Editor
PI North America Annual Meeting, Phoenix AZ October 8-9, 2011
Julian Joe, PE and Senior Manager of Robotic & Controls at Chrysler, described their new Control Architecture Standard (CArS) at the annual PI North America meeting. The CArS architecture is a modern systems level approach defined by the joint Chrysler and Fiat Manufacturing Engineering Council that improves the process flow for designing and implementing production lines. The CArS architecture improves design planning and implementation using process simulation to debug designs early and to virtually commission applications before any hardware is deployed.   In order to have a cohesive architecture, CArS has standardized on PROFINET and has a close partnering agreement with Siemens. The CArS program requires PROFINET certified products and PROFINET certified system integrators. The CArS documents specify the use of key Siemens software including Teamcenter Manufacturing Process Management, Tecnomatix, and SIMATIC IT Production Suite for MES.
A major goal of the CArS approach is a 45-48% reduced integration costs based on savings in these areas:
  • Hardware Design
  • Software Design
  • Reduction & Simplification of Custom Applications
  • Controls Coordination
  • Project Management
  • Installation-Debug
  • IT Integration
  • Controls Integration
  • Training
Expected Results
Joe described the expected results from implementing the CArS program including:
  • Higher MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) and Lower MTTR (Mean Time To Repair)
  • Shorter tuning and less unique certification per plant.
  • Easier Maintenance and Troubleshooting
  • One configuration and troubleshooting tool.
  • One programming tool.
  • Data integration inherent in the architecture.
  • Shorter Cabling
  • Smaller Cabinets
The CArS program is comprehensive and deals with issues including general controls specification, regional codes and regulations, hardware design guidelines, IT system guidelines, logic guidelines, HMI screen guidelines, robotic system integration, and control components selection. 
PROFINET Business Plan
Chrysler/FIAT has developed a PROFINET business plan defining governing concepts, documents, and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for the CArS program. These are items defined in the PROFINET business plan:
Design Engineering
  • One physical “flat” PROFINET smart network for motion, control, and safety.
  •  One PLC for both control and safety with a unified programming tool.
  • Integration ready PROFINET certified components from controls manufacturers.
  • Distributed PROFINET modular I/O for control, safety and motion.
  • Standard functional cabinets that have smaller footprints.
  • IP65/67, IP20 I/O & Ethernet Switch modularity/scalability.
  •  Process standards for flexible and simple controls integration.
  • Fast and integrated secure data exchange/integrity.
Installation & Integration
  • Pre-designed & packaged component for efficient installation.
  • Shorter, exact fit, secure & engineered connectivity solutions and cabling.
  • Reduced commissioning and field certification to insure measurable system integration cost and time.
Operational Management
  • Intuitive training for common hardware and software solutions.
  •  Integrated, intuitive and automatic component level HELP diagnostics.
  • Plug-and-play, Walk-away component replacement.
  • Unified maintenance configuration and troubleshooting.
  • PROFINET-based standard hardware components for integrated control, motion, and safety.
  • Standard integrated software tools and libraries to manage and maintain process applications.
Program Management Partnership
  • Application specific functionalities.
  • Project Book: Technical specifications, design/install/tuning guidelines including hardware and software reference library.
  • Line design: hardware and software standard library.
  • Production: Guarantee timely and proactive remote and onsite support.
  • Final Test and Certification
  • Training
  • Spare Parts supply and management.
  •  Test Cell: Test new solutions before production application.
Terms & Conditions
  • Technical and commercial terms and conditions for global CArS standardization.
  • FIAT, Chrysler, related Joint Venture and Line Builders.
The cars program has a number of items developed at this time including documents defining general specifications, hardware and software component list, technical guidelines, design guidelines, controls checklist, and training programs. A complete library of standard hardware and software modules has been developed including:
  • 153 Hardware Design Guidelines (tooling, air & water guidelines, gripper, robot application, grounding, etc.).
  • 170 PLC Software Modules
  • 25 Siemens WinCC SCADA SCREENS
  • 48 Panel and Box Drawings
Thoughts & Observations
Julian Joe made a compelling case for the CArS approach including standardization on PROFINET and Siemens products for the core of the architecture.
Joe made it clear that a fundamental for the success of the CArS program is using PROFINET certified products, machine builders, and systems integrators. They already have been developing in-house PROFINET certified engineers.   He voiced concern that there should be more certified options for them to choose.
I asked Joe if Siemens PROFINET PLCs are the only acceptable controllers.   Essentially he answered that is the case unless there is some compelling requirement that cannot be met in any another way. Based on the goal of having one set of programming tools, this policy is logical within the framework of the CArS concept.
The CArS architecture is a logical top to bottom approach that leverages the new breed of design and simulation software to achieve greater efficiency.
In my opinion, the lack of adoption of open architecture software interchange standards for design and programming tools, puts them in a position of picking one dominant vendor architecture - in this case Siemens, to accomplish the goals of CArS.

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