u-remote promotes efficient powder coating

When it was redesigning its furnaces, MS Oberflächentechnik AG wanted its new remote I/O system to be flexible to plan, quick to install and stable in operation. Today,
u-remote is delivering noticeable efficiency advantages in all phases.


“Quickline” – the name of the MDF powder coating system offered by Swiss company MS Oberflächentechnik – says it all. The core benefits of the system include fast colour change and short throughput times. The key component of “MS Quickline” is an intelligent conveying system, which can be designed for both small-series and large-series coating and for single or double coating depending on the end customer’s requirements.

All of the furnaces and conveyors within the plant are controlled by means of a centralised Siemens S7-300 PLC. More than 1,000 programs – where settings can be saved and called up for various workpieces, including furnace programming – guarantee a high level of variability. The workpiece recognition element then automatically controls the pre-heating furnace, powder application and automatically regulated, gas infrared powder furnace in a program-related manner.

 u-remote provides high performance connections between the central cabinet and the remote I/O units

u-remote provides high performance connections between the central cabinet and the remote I/O units

At the end of 2014, the furnaces were redesigned for heating and curing applications as part of a further development process. The goal was to create a modular heating system which could be expanded by up to one line with seven furnaces as needed. To control the furnaces in a decentralised manner, MS Oberflächentechnik was looking for a flexible and easy-to-handle remote I/O solution – and that’s precisely what it found in Weidmüller’s u-remote system.

Particularly impressed by the modular concept

“When it was selecting an I/O solution, MS Oberflächentechnik had two requirements that were of prime importance. First, it wanted the system to be adaptable in terms of the inputs and outputs required and in terms of integration in the existing fieldbus environment. And second, it wanted the system to be simple and efficient to install and operate,” remembers Stefan Meier of Weidmüller, who was available on-site to help the customer as a

 The MS Quickline serves the powder coating of the wood product MDF and enables various colour changes within six minutes

The MS Quickline serves the powder coating of the wood product MDF and enables various colour changes within six minutes

direct contact person. Under these aspects, Urs Bösch, the Technology Manager at MS Oberflächen-technik, and his team assessed u-remote during Weidmüller’s presentation.

“We were particularly impressed by the modular concept, which I believe provides the perfect support for our system’s variability,” explains Mr Bösch, mentioning one core benefit for his application. “In terms of installation, we gave the PUSH IN connection technology top marks. The intuitive, tool-free wiring meant that our assembly team could speed up their processes a great deal. The connections with their functional colour coding and the single-row modular design also prevent wiring mistakes.”

Identify mistakes without delay – or programming work

Mr Bösch believes that the extensive diagnostic functions are a decisive advantage for ongoing operation. A clear overview of the current system status is provided at all times using an integrated u-remote web server. This means that mistakes can be identified quickly and rectified purposefully in an emergency situation. Customised channel diagnostics are also a possibility since there are LEDs directly on the channel and status indicators on each module.

“Depending on the system type, between four and seven u-remote stations are being used along our modular heating system in a linear architecture. We can use the associated fieldbus coupler in accordance with the PROFINET IRT standard to conveniently connect the decentralised units and thus integrate them into our PROFINET environment without a great deal of effort. My team and I are benefitting from enhanced efficiency, from the I/O system planning stage to the installation process and plant operation,” enthuses Mr Bösch, before smiling and adding, “That way, we don’t waste any unnecessary time on powder applications.”