Ipsen Kleve: The AutoMag 4 Process Control System: More Efficiency in Plant Control

By Matthias Rink – Ipsen International GmbH

The AutoMag® 4 control system was developed for the central control of heat treatment systems to meet the logical and logistical goals of a modern production facility. This includes the traceability of batches in interlinked and automated heat treatment systems as well as the reliable documentation of all process data. As an HMI, AutoMag 4 is the ergonomic and intuitive interface between people and the entire heat treatment line.

The development of this software focused on the following goals:

  • Efficient use of energy and resources
  • Optimization of the utilization of the heat treatment plants
  • Use of standard components (software/hardware)
  • Nadcap/AMS and CQI-9 compliance
Ipsen AutoMag

The AutoMag 4 software is characterized both by a logical structure and by a simplified, ergonomic operating concept. Companies that choose AutoMag 4 save time and money and benefit from the increased operational reliability of safe and fast operation. The same operating concept (“look & feel”) is used with other Ipsen HMI like Carb-o-Prof 4 and VacuProf 4. All HMI support multiple languages.  Through the integrated user management, AutoMag 4 can be configured to allow any user group or each user only certain tasks according to his or her qualifications or rights assigned.

The Ipsen software solutions are developed using the current Microsoft Visual Studio and .NET developer platforms. The data is stored by Microsoft SQL Server. The automatic data backup can therefore take place directly on your company backup computers or in the cloud. Only an “industry standard” computer (PC with current Windows 10 software) is required for necessary operation. All systems communicate via TCP/IP. AutoMag 4 can also work with your heat treatment plant growth. An extension with additional system components is possible without any problems, since the standardized AM basic version only needs to be adapted to your system.

All components (ovens, transport systems, washing machines, etc.) of the automated heat treatment system can be integrated. Once a batch has been introduced into the system, the selected treatment program runs. After being introduced, the load is transported from the loader to the pre-washing machine, cleaned and then preheated in a preheating furnace. Then, the batch is picked up and loaded into the multi-purpose chamber furnace. After the batch has completed the selected case hardening process, it goes into the post-washing machine. Finally, it is transported to the tempering furnace, followed by discharge. Freezing systems or nitration systems can also be integrated. Batch storage locations can be used for “unmanned” operation. This makes it possible to run several batches. In this case, a sufficient number of batch memory locations is required so that the transport systems are not blocked when they are discharged from the system. It is also possible to prioritize batches after they have been started. Depending on the degree of automation, the appropriate treatment program is either selected by the operator or automatically specified by the higher-level ERP system.

All batches run are stored in the archive with all process data and error messages. AutoMag 4 is sufficient for the requirements of the current versions of the CQI-9 and AMS 2750, as the data is stored according to the “write once, read only” principle and cannot be changed afterwards. By using an SQL database, the usual database tools are also available so that specific batch numbers, programs or components of a specific date can be easily found if required. In addition, the data can be analyzed using Industry 4.0 tools.

AutoMag 4 is your solution for automated heat treatment.