Carioca installs Siemens SIMATIC S7-1200 PLCs

Carioca born of the legacy of one of the leading Italian companies in the production of dyeing, writing and drawing articles: Universal. The Settimo Torinese plant is the main production center and exports over 70% of its production to over 80 countries.

For more than 50 years, CARIOCA has been a symbol of Made in Italy with products designed to develop children’s creativity in a common game of ingenuity and dexterity.

THAT SIMATIC S7-1200 plc from Siemens, installed on the presses and on the assembly and packaging machines, makes it possible to achieve a stable system of data detection and automation applications. The real revolution was to adopt the OPC UA protocol on the SIMATIC S7-1200 plc, a product born as a controller, always recognized for its versatility and flexibility in the market. It is precisely its flexibility – and more precisely the latest firmware available and the implementation of the OPC UA server functions – that, used in an innovative way, has made it possible to centralize and standardize data transmission to a higher level. The production process has thus been digitized and streamlined.

Today, Carioca is able to transmit, monitor and collect all the information that the machines are able to provide through a “floating” and independent tool. This makes it possible to analyze the main causes of errors so that one can take the right countermeasures to make the whole production system more efficient and constantly monitor it.

CARIOCA’s goal is to become a leader in the creative education of children, for this reason it is fundamental “to maintain a productive leadership in the ink world, which is what has written our history“, he claims Giorgio Bertolo, General Manager of CARIOCA.

The markers actually make up 40% of the company’s turnover and their production is 100% Made in Italy in the Settimo Torinese factory. How it continues Giorgio BertoloYes, “our strength is the safety and traceability of materials. We are also building a leading position in terms of sustainability: as we are much smaller than our competitors, it allows us to create change faster. We believe in circularity and the use of recycled plastic“.

In fact, the company, which has 160 employees and whose plant measures 21,000 square meters, has recently committed to replace the lighting with an LED system and using solar panels to cover 20% of energy needs. A new product line with at least 70% recycled plastic.

We decided, after a restructuring of the company, to make fewer product families, but to make them at a very high level in order to compete globally. We must maintain excellent production, and the collaboration with Siemens is born, so that it – together with other factors we implement – helps us to take a qualitative leap“.

In Carioca there are 3 different departments: one pertains ink production; the other is dedicated toplastic injection; and finally the department for assembly and packing. The latter two somehow present problems with efficiency, waste and energy consumption, as in any other large-scale manufacturing enterprise. It therefore becomes important to maintain high production flexibility, monitor and reduce waste and optimize the financial, personal and energy resources in the process.

Carioca, a production of (more than) one million markers a day, a network of 64 machines and a very precise idea of ​​the future.

The production part of the company is entirely located in the headquarters of Settimo Torinese: this is where the entire felt-tip pen and ballpoint pen world is produced. Even 95% of the ink is formulated internally, all non-toxic and water-based. A department that also boasts a great deal of know-how, holds a guarantee of safety thanks to the attention to product development, crucial to achieving Carioca’s main goal, children.

This is the heart of the production process. In Settimo we also find 34 injection molding machines for plastic printing – which always work in three shifts to reduce ignition and shut-off spills and eliminate the problems of waiting for the temperature to come in, which reduces efficiency – and 30 machines for assembly and packaging.

That Construction Director for Carioca, Luciano Maurogoes into the production details: “We produce from 7 / 8,000 pieces to 11,000 pieces per hour. We make over a million markers a day, so about 300 million markers a year in 240 days. In the casting department, 3 plastic components are printed for each ink, and thus reach 3/4 million pieces per. All this must be done by keeping the machines efficient and trying to organize both production orders and the many changes we make well: We make colors and there are at least 12 colors in a package. Every time a color change is made, inefficiency and waste are created“.

The needs of the Carioca plants and the solutions that emerged

Specifically, the company’s goal was to transfer, monitor and collect all the information that the machines are able to provide, and to do so through a “floating” tool – thanks to which you do not have to intervene in a directed at the software in machines – and independent, that is, it went to “connect” them, even when they were very different from each other.

The factory is actually equipped with different types of machines: new or old generation, containing a Siemens plc, or machines equipped with plc of other brands, and even purely electromechanical machines without any controller.

The need was therefore to have all information available in a coherent and usable way and to be able to analyze, with statistics, the main causes of failure, in order to take the right countermeasures to make the whole system more efficiently productive and constantly monitor it.

To do this, the internal team led by Luciano Mauro decided to create an infrastructure with a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) within their facility.

Carioca today: the implementation of Siemens technology and the adoption of the OPC UA protocol

Hence the idea of ​​installing Siemens plc“, Narrator Luciano Mauro. “During several chats with the Siemens men from the Torino department, we chose the SIMATIC S7-1200 plc, which would have enabled us to achieve a stable system of data collection and automation applications.“.

SIMATIC S7-1200 plc, like all controllers, of course reads input, processes programs, writes output”, Explains in detail Siemens Product Manager Alessandro Legaluppi. “But it does not only do this: in the case of Carioca, it provides a server interface that allows anyone (or rather, those who act as OPC clients and hold access permissions) to access data and exchange them easily and securely and completely with all the functions of the OPC UA protocol, as among these is also being able to transmit data that is much more important than a standard communication, and in a way that is easier to (re) find “.

Therefore, Siemens has added a versatile tool in the Carioca plant, which thanks to the OPC UA protocol allows easy and light communication and also makes it possible to use the possibility that Carioca in the future will implement new functions autonomously in the plant, given the intuitive level of the programming software.

We are pleased to have been able to respond directly to a Carioca need in a completely different context than the one in which we normally operate.“, explains Alessandro Legaluppi. “From a machine that once – even in its standard operation – performed only some functions, the Carioca system now has a bioperative plc, so nothing prevents them from controlling a new function inside the machine, with great flexibility. This collaboration is an example of how some product characteristics can represent a business model different from its classic use as a controller, for a tool that is able to respond to the customer’s real needs, whether they need a plc or centralize and standardize data collection and send it securely to a higher level“.

Leave a Comment