Process Visualization

Process Visualization

Product Description

LaserLinc offers a variety of software interfaces for enhanced process monitoring, display, control, and reporting. 

Profile Measurement 

The Profile Vu™ system is a high-speed measurement and defect detection system that continuously monitors critical material properties in continuously extruded or formed rubber, plastic, wood, shaped metals, wire, and cable. The system’s 360-degree surface coverage means superior defect detection capabilities when compared to laser micrometers. Defects can be detected in-process and reviewed in 3D.

Process Visualization and Control Software Systems

Gauges provide an immense amount of instantaneous data in real-time, making it impossible for operators to clearly understand what is happening in the process. That’s why LaserLinc developed a unique open-architecture software solution for process visualization allowing its own instruments and those of other vendors to be connected via a variety of gauge interfaces.

Total Vu™ HMI

The Total Vu Human Machine Interface (HMI) is a scalable platform that provides tools and information enabling stakeholders to get everything they need from an adaptable production monitoring and control system. 

  • Easy to read color graphical displays for interpretation of key functions.
  • Engineers have monitoring, control and reporting capability to document and improve processes.
  • Managers gain peace of mind that engineers and operators have the tools they need to reduce costs, increase production, and improve quality.

The Total Vu HMI delivers higher functionality at a lower cost, especially when incorporating existing gauging. The user-friendly Total Vu open-architecture platform interfaces with gauges from other vendors giving you maximum flexibility. 

SmartLinc™ Processor

SmartLinc™ 

The SmartLinc™ processor is a robust and reliable platform for delivering fast, accurate measurements of product diameter, ovality, and other values directly to your line control system using standard industrial protocols such as OPC UA and EtherNet/IP. 

Integration with your PLC, HMI/MMI, or other EtherNet/IP-enabled devices is quick and easy.

 

SmartLinc™ Display

SmartLinc™ Display

The SmartLinc display provides a rugged 7-inch color touchscreen solution for bench or on-line locations.

Learn more about specific Total Vu HMI capabilities by following the links below:

Off-the-shelf, Total Vu HMI accomplishes many important goals:

  • Process laser micrometer and UltraGauge+™ signals in real-time so you can instantaneously assess product quality and process trends
  • View large readouts of product measurements and process variables with color-coded tolerance status and trend charts
  • Use standard displays or adapt them, including buttons, to fit your exact needs
  • Quick changeovers with unlimited recipe storage
  • Summarize product quality and process capability with statistics display and reporting
  • Detect and report any dimensional flaws using unique, built-in filtering so defects may be eliminated before reaching your customer or downstream processes
  • Capture measurement data to disk or network storage devices for post-processing or record keeping
  • Independent and simultaneous processing of measurements for SPC, flaw detection, measurement, and trending so each function works optimally for your operation

Support

In addition to traditional support methods–phone and email, one of the best standard features is interactive support via the Internet using the Quick Support application. Through Quick Support, LaserLinc support staff can see what you see on the screens and thus diagnose and solve problems quickly as well as provide training.

Hardware Options

The Total Vu HMI is Windows®-compatible software so you can choose the computing platform, whether industrial or desktop, laptop, mini-PC, or an all-in-one product. For turnkey systems, the μLinc™ processor with integrated TLAser400™ card and other I/O delivers the ultimate in ease of installation.

The hardware interface between the host Total Vu PC and the laser micrometers can be Ethernet (see NetLinc™) or LaserLinc’s plug-in data acquisition card. The UltraGauge+ Digital Signal Processor (DSP) connects via Ethernet.

Minimum PC Requirements

  • Windows 7® (32- or 64-bit) or Windows 10, 2 GHz dual core processor, 4 GB RAM, 10 GB available hard disk space
  • One monitor with a minimum of 900 pixels vertical resolution
    For some systems, the monitor must be HD (1920x1080) resolution
  • Touch-screen (or similar) monitor, or keyboard and mouse
  • If the system includes an UltraGauge+ DSP, a NetLinc micrometer or NetLinc interface, or a NetIO device:
    One dedicated 100 Mb Ethernet port
  • If the system includes more than one of any combination of the UltraGauge+ DSP, a NetLinc micrometer, or NetIO device, an external network hub or switch with an appropriate number of connections is required
  • If the system includes a laser micrometer without a NetLinc interface then a TLAser400 card is required.
    One PCI or PCIe slot is required per TLAser400 card (slot type must match the card); slots must be directly on the motherboard (no T-slot) and they must accommodate full-height, half-length cards

Microsoft, Excel, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks
of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

OPC is a registered trademark of the OPC Foundation

Total Vu HMI is a powerful tool for gathering real-time data about the product and the process. An equally powerful tool is needed to document the results: Excel®-based reporting is that tool.

Excel-based reports give you control over the information to include, the look of the report, whether to save the report electronically, print it, or both. Automate post-processing of data collected through the Total Vu HMI by using formulas or Excel macros embedded in the template. Satisfy any reporting need with this option.

The process is simple:

  • Manipulate your report template in Microsoft® Excel: type headings and other text, format fonts, colors, and borders, insert logos or other images, and enter formulas
  • Browse and select items in the Total Vu HMI that you want to insert in the report:
    • Recipe information
    • Statistics
    • Chart images: Run/Trend, Histogram, or X-bar/Range charts
    • Screen shots
    • Logged measurement data
    • Process Tracker™ and Flaw event logs
    • Attribute values (read more about Attributes)
  • Select the cell or cells where the information goes
  • Optionally select the areas of the workbook to print
  • Save the template and select it in the Total Vu HMI to generate the report

More Advantages

Use any printer supported by Windows®, including label printers!

Generate multiple report types simply by using multiple templates!

Save the new Excel workbooks using automatic file naming and optional password protection—requires no operator involvement. Reprint reports at any time in the future. With data in a common electronic format—an Excel workbook—actual data can be accessed easily and post-processed.

Excel-based reporting straight from the Total Vu HMI is simply the best way to document your manufacturing results.

Microsoft, Excel, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks
of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

OPC is a registered trademark of the OPC Foundation

For measurement of non-round profiles or products where dimensional characteristics are designed to vary, this Total Vu module reliably and consistently delivers the measurements that matter.

The Max/Min module also measures specific part attributes such as maximum diameter and groove depth on discrete product samples.

Measure Corrugated Products

For corrugated products such as gas line for residential or commercial construction, the Max/Min module identifies peak (maximum) and valley (minimum) diameters. Add encoder input and the system provides the ability to also measure peaks-per-foot and pitch (the distance between consecutive peaks or valleys).

Measure Stranded Products

For stranded products such as stranded wire and wire rope, the Max/Min module measures enveloping diameter, the diameter of the smallest circle that fits around the product, even when the number of strands in the outer layer is odd.

Find Largest and Smallest Measurement

For general gauging applications, the module simply finds and reports the maximum and minimum measurement values over user-defined intervals.

When used with the Profile Vu-R™ add-on, the Max/Min module measures width, thickness, height or other product features even when the orientation of the product is not known or cannot be controlled.

Microsoft, Excel, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks
of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

OPC is a registered trademark of the OPC Foundation

An audit trail provides a complete history of dimensional characteristics, and for production applications, process conditions as well. If you have a process analysis or improvement project, are a supplier to the automotive industry, or you produce critical products such as those that affect human health, complete process and product monitoring is important.

All of the information and data sources described below form a complete picture of the product and the process—an audit trail—from which stakeholders can draw important conclusions and devise corrective actions.

And all of the information is stored electronically—no more handwritten logs that are error prone and too time-consuming to use effectively.

Data Sources

LaserLinc’s Total Vu platform supports the collection of data from our non-contact measurement devices (scanning laser micrometers and ultrasonic material thickness), but it also can be used to acquire data from:

  • Transducers and sensors via analog voltage input
  • Smart transducers and sensors via serial and Modbus RTU input
  • Hand tools and non-electronic devices via keyboard input
  • PLCs, other HMI/MMI systems, or any OPC-compatible platform via the OPC protocol
  • Barcode readers

In addition to these sources of data, other notable tools include: Process Tracker™, Attributes, and Event Characterization.

Process™ Tracker Event Reporting

Process Tracker™ captures event information such as spool changes, operator notes, recipe changes, material changes, closed-loop control actions, and more. Each event is time, date, and length stamped (requires Encoder input). Data is stored in comma separated values (CSV) format so that it is easily imported into other software tools.

Event Characterization

At rates up to 12,000 Hz, it is impractical to continually capture high-speed data to disk. However, this high-speed data provides inspection resolution capable of revealing process and product details that would otherwise go unnoticed.

The Event Characterization module of Total Vu HMI limits high-speed data capture to events of interest, such as around an out-of-tolerance measurement, or a trigger from an external device such as a flaw detector or spark tester.

All of the data from just before, during, and just after each event is stored in one file and a separate file is created for each event. You only keep the data that matters, making it easy to analyze post-process.

Attributes

To complete the audit trail, it is important to gather contextual information about the run, and other process or product information not captured by other means. An Attribute value can come from a barcode reader, operator input or selection, MES and ERP system, OPC, or other source. Attribute values can be logged alongside other product and process measurements.

Microsoft, Excel, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks
of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

OPC is a registered trademark of the OPC Foundation

SPC is the application of statistical methods to monitor and control a process to achieve optimal product quality. The Total Vu platform has standard and optional SPC features to help you reduce variability and scrap, and improve the process, product quality, and productivity.

Standard:

  • Track and display Maximum, Minimum, Range, Average, Standard Deviation, Sample Count, and process capability statistics Pp and PpK
  • Save electronically (CSV format) and/or print a statistical summary report per package/spool and per batch/run

Advanced SPC Option:

  • Apply SPC Sampling Plans (sampling frequency and sub-grouping) to properly analyze process capability
  • Identify process shifts when they happen using X-bar/Range control charts rather than after post-processing the data when product quality is set
  • View real-time histograms and quickly assess quality distribution
  • Track and display many additional statistics: Estimated sigma, Relative Standard Deviation, Coefficient of Variation, Coefficient of Variation Percent, subgroup Maximum, Minimum, Range, and Average; Range-bar, X-double-bar, and process capability statistics Cp and CpK
  • Built-in calculation of process control limits
  • Generate reports suitable for engineers, managers, and customers with Excel-based templates

Statistics and charts are available for all measurements in the system. Separate sampling plans may be defined for each measured characteristic to tailor analysis to process improvement or quality needs.

With integrated, real-time SPC, satisfy customer-driven or government requirements for documenting product quality.

Microsoft, Excel, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks
of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

OPC is a registered trademark of the OPC Foundation

LaserLinc’s Total Vu™ HMI has customizable buttons and displays. With these, you can set up a LaserLinc system to appear and operate exactly the way you want.

Standard displays are included with each system for common applications. When your team of operators, engineers, supervisors, and managers sees opportunity for improving the effectiveness of the system, changes are easily made:

    • Create your own displays by dragging and dropping:
      • Trend charts
      • Measurement values
      • Statistical values
      • Part position indicators
      • Histograms
      • X-bar / Range charts
      • Graphic images (e.g. logo or line layout drawing)
      • Labels
      • Buttons

All of the above elements are resizable and can be positioned anywhere on the screen

  • Create and quickly switch between multiple, tabbed displays, each composed of its own elements
  • Customize buttons —caption, color, and function—to suit your specific needs
  • Limit visible information to only that which is of interest and importance to the user
  • Limit actions to those necessary for your operations by removing unwanted buttons from the display
  • Build in aspects of your standard operating procedure (SOP) by customizing the actions behind each button to ensure a valid sequence of steps is taken
  • Attach up to six monitors (size and resolution of your choosing), each independently configurable. Users can view everything they need, when and where they need it
  • Use one or more touch-screens with full support within the HMI for intuitive and easy operation

Buttons Make It Happen

Users press buttons on the display to make things happen, such as: toggle data collection, switch the display, load a recipe, manage alarms, jog line speed, and trigger reports. These are just a few of the hundreds of predefined functions available. They have been developed over nearly 20 years of applications experience solving problems and accomplishing tasks commonly encountered in industries like yours.

Macros Make It Really Simple

Predefined functions (introduced above) can also be dragged and dropped into user-defined functions, called macros. Suddenly, a single button press can make a long list of things happen! For example: accept entry of customer, material, and job ID, clear data, set closed loop control to manual mode, start data logging, start SPC, enable flaw detection, enable alarms, and initialize the display. You can even change the properties—caption, color, and function—of the same button to execute a different macro the next time it is pressed, for example, to end the job.

A System Designed by You, for You

With customizable buttons and displays, one or more monitors, including touch-screens if desired, you can adapt the look and operation of your Total Vu HMI to conform to the way you run your process. And you can do it without custom engineering charges, PLC programming, or building an HMI and back-end logic as would be required with tools like WonderWare® and RSView®.

Contact us to have an applications expert show you a system that perfectly matches your needs.

WonderWare is a trademark of Schneider Electric; RSView is a trademark of Rockwell Automation.

Microsoft, Excel, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks
of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

OPC is a registered trademark of the OPC Foundation

LaserLinc understands that our products must work in a diverse manufacturing environment. Today, information flows from the front-office down to the manufacturing floor, and vice-versa. Information also must be shared amongst devices and software applications on the same production line. OPC is one of the most powerful and flexible ways to meet this need.

The OPC module for Total Vu HMI makes Total Vu configuration settings, status, and measurement data accessible to other devices and applications. OPC allows other systems to trigger or automate virtually any action within the Total Vu HMI.

OPC UA

With the introduction of the Universal Architecture (UA), OPC is now a universal protocol. Data can now be exchanged directly between PCs, PLCs and other devices with OPC UA--no gateways or bridges are needed, provided the receiving device is a client.

The importance of Server and Client functions

Most devices only offer Server functions. A server listens and waits for requests before responding. If two devices need to exchange information, and both are OPC Servers, then 3rd party software is required: an OPC Bridge which will act as a client to both servers.

An OPC Bridge to direct traffic between two servers adds cost, complexity, and another software tool to learn and maintain.

Since the Total Vu platform acts as both an OPC Client and an OPC Server, information can be easily acquired from or sent to other OPC-compliant platforms for a fully integrated and connected plant floor.

Some Special Uses

OPC is one of the many ways in which a Total Vu system can gather process data and product measurement characteristics as part of building an audit trail.

OPC is a software-only option for implementing the closed-loop feedback control function. In this configuration, the Total Vu HMI determines the optimal setting for the controlled parameter, such as line speed or extruder RPM, and shares the setting with the PLC or other device that maintains the speed or RPM. No other hardware is required with this method.

To learn more about the OPC standard, visit the OPC Foundation website: opcfoundation.org.

Microsoft, Excel, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks
of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

OPC is a registered trademark of the OPC Foundation

Closed-Loop Control

Closed-loop control takes continuous in-process monitoring to the next level by analyzing real-time measurement data and automatically adjusting a process variable to keep your product within specifications, reducing scrap, improving product quality, and saving money.

Profit Maximizer

In some processes, additional savings can be had without compromising product quality by optimizing material usage (typical in extrusion) or process efficiency. The Profit Maximizer™ feature of Total Vu™ HMI compares process capability with product specifications and automatically optimizes the process in real-time to balance material usage (such as minimum wire insulation thickness) and quality. Best of all, you control the relative importance of these two opposing needs with just one parameter.

Controlled Parameters

In typical extrusion operations you can control line speed, air or vacuum pressure, or extruder RPM. Other examples include roll-stand position in flat-wire or other forming operations and grinding wheel position in centerless grinding applications.

Process parameters may be controlled through a variety of interfaces:

  • Pulse-width modulation (a variable pulse length proportional to desired process change)
  • Pulse-count modulation (variable number of fixed length pulses proportional to desired process change)
  • Motorized potentiometer (MOP)
  • DC analog voltage output (e.g. 0-10VDC where zero and ten represent the minimum and maximum settings for the controlled variable)
  • Current output (4-20mA or 0-20mA)
  • OPC software protocol

Advanced Capabilities

Several optional features of the Total Vu control module are available to optimize process performance, product quality, and profitability. You have already read about Profit Maximizer above.

In extrusion applications, Shrinkage Compensation provides an optimal control response while assuring the finished product is within specification. Monitoring product dimensions as close to the extruder as possible shortens the control response significantly while gauging at the end of the line monitors finished product dimensions. Shrinkage Compensation automatically adjusts the upstream setpoint so that after shrinkage, the product is the right size.

Other adaptive features optimize performance of the control function to minimize process drift and the frequency of control changes.

For hose and tube applications, the Total Vu control module can manage two process parameters simultaneously (e.g. line speed and air or vacuum pressure) to maintain OD, ID, and wall dimensions.

Control in Multi-Strand Applications

LaserLinc has commissioned Total Vu systems that monitor each extrudate and control dozens of independent line speed or pressure parameters for multi-die extrusion lines. If your process involves multi-die extrusion, contact LaserLinc for this unique capability. (See the Multi-Strand application page.)

Microsoft, Excel, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks
of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

OPC is a registered trademark of the OPC Foundation

LaserLinc offers a range of input and output options beyond those for laser micrometer and ultrasonic measurement devices. They include:

  • Analog Input
  • Analog Output
  • Closed Loop Control
  • Digital Input
  • Digital (Relay) Output
  • Encoder Input
  • Serial (RS232/RS422/RS485/Modbus RTU) Input
  • Serial Output

These additional inputs and outputs satisfy virtually any auxiliary application requirement. Contact LaserLinc to learn more about any of these I/O options.

Analog Input 

Monitor process parameters represented by a DC voltage:

  • Temperatures
  • Pressures
  • Loads
  • RPMs
  • Strain
  • Tension

These additional measurements can be graphed, logged, analyzed statistically, compared against specifications, etc., as is done with diameter, wall thickness, and other measurements.

Tracking these process parameters along with product dimensions can be critically important for gaining process knowledge and improving the process.

Analog Output

Convey measurement values represented as DC voltage or current to devices such as PLCs, strip chart recorders, and data loggers. A variety of hardware is available with different resolutions, voltage ranges, update rates, and channel counts.

Closed-Loop Control 

Automatically adjust a process parameters such as line speed to maintain a measured product dimension within specification. Read more about the control module here, including hardware interface options.

Digital Input 

Automatically trigger actions within the Total Vu HMI from a PLC, discrete control such as an E-stop button or foot-pedal, or from equipment such as an automatic spool changer.

Digital Output (Relay Output) 

Switch external AC or DC voltage signals on or off based on selectable status conditions such as an out-of-tolerance measurement or a device error. These outputs are frequently used to actuate lights, buzzers, marking devices, solenoids for sorting, and cutters.

Digital I/O offers simple automation that makes quite an impact on production efficiency.

Encoder Input 

Track length and speed with this input. The following are some of the useful operational benefits of encoder input:

  • Plot measurement values against length on trend charts and run charts to identify patterns and locate anomalies
  • Delay process control activity by length following a correction to ensure the process has stabilized, independent of line speed
  • Trigger sorting by tracking part location
  • Make advanced measurements such as pitch and taper length
  • Make measurement, logging, SPC sampling, and other functions operate consistently, independent of line speed
  • Automatically identify defective equipment such as capstans when combined with the FFT module

Serial Input 

Read measurement values from smart sensors using serial input. Many devices stream measurement data via RS232/422/485 connections and if your Total Vu host PC has the hardware, these values can be accessed and treated like any others in the system: they can be graphed, logged, processed statistically, et cetera.

Tracking additional measurements can be critically important for process improvement and thorough, unified reporting of all data related to the process and product.

Serial Output

Transmit measurement values to other devices via RS232/422/485 connections. (This capability is standard, provided the host PC has the serial connection hardware—hardware is not included.)

Contact Us 

Contact LaserLinc for help analyzing all of your I/O needs and understanding the value of complete process and product monitoring.

Microsoft, Excel, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks
of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

OPC is a registered trademark of the OPC Foundation

FFT allows users to analyze periodic deviations in a measurement, such as the diameter of a wire or cable. By combining the FFT information with specifications for line speed, Total Vu™ HMI can identify likely causes of the measurement deviation, such as a faulty pulley. FFT can identify patterns that are not otherwise discernible, even when viewing trend charts. It is an essential tool in any process improvement effort.

Sometimes the value of FFT is best understood by evaluating it in your process. Contact us to get a free trial of this powerful tool.

Fourier analysis is applied to a set of samples (measurements) taken at regular intervals, to transform time-domain information (the measurement values) into frequency-domain values, where periodic changes in the input signal are seen as spikes in the frequency-domain graph.

Skilled operators can interpret the graphs and make decisions to take corrective action and improve the process. However, to simplify the decision making process, the FFT module in Total Vu HMI converts the spikes to measurement values, allowing the system to automatically alert the operator about potential process problems.

Total Vu HMI supports any number of FFT input measurements. This enables the user to tailor the resolution of the frequency analysis and view the resulting frequency-domain graph for each measurement.

The user may also select any FFT data point to see its magnitude, the harmonic frequencies associated with it, and the diameter of the pulley that might be responsible for the deviation.

Structural Return Loss in Communication Cable

SRL is an option of the FFT package that is of particular interest to the wire and cable industry.

Periodic fluctuations in wire and cable dimensions can cause significant signal loss, especially in high-frequency products such as network patch cables. Because periodic disturbances in a cable cause a portion of the signal to be reflected, overall signal transmission at various frequencies is degraded due to destructive interference between the reflected signal and the original signal.

By analyzing the periodic deviation of certain measurements, such as insulated wire diameter, the software can compute the signal loss that will occur at various frequencies along the length of a cable.

Monitoring SRL during production makes it possible to correct problems much faster. Prompt correction of problems helps you reduce scrap and improve production line throughput.

Total Vu HMI offers SRL calculation, and displays the SRL values (dB) in a graph correlating transmission frequency with signal loss at that frequency. As with the FFT graph, users can select an SRL data point to see its transmission frequency, signal loss, and the harmonics associated with the selected frequency.

As with FFT, “peak” values from SRL calculations, both frequency and amplitude values, can be converted to measurements. These values can be automatically checked and actions taken to alert the operator when warranted.

The SRL Spectrograph shows a graphical representation of the signal loss that occurs at various transmission frequencies over the length of a product. On completion of each SRL computation, that information is linked to the position (length) within the product at which the signal loss was computed.

The chart includes a configurable color spectrum to indicate the signal loss magnitude for a given length/frequency pair. An operator can quickly assess whether any portion of the cable is expected to show significant signal loss at one or more frequencies; the software also supports graphical zooming to examine areas of potential problems in greater detail. Because the spectrograph display is cumulative, it provides an excellent historical record of the SRL information acquired over the entire run of a product.

Microsoft, Excel, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks
of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

OPC is a registered trademark of the OPC Foundation