Nova Systems Inc.
 

CASE STUDIES

Expertise in Diverse Industries and Applications

At Nova, we have designed integration systems for many different industries. Some examples of the projects we've completed are described here.


Food Packaging

Project Goal: Verify the shape and quality of a container opening.

Nova Solution: A stand-alone "drop-in" system was designed for the production line, housed in a NEMA 4X enclosure with a solid-state air conditioning unit required by the facility environment. The vision system used a single camera with an LED light source and the machine vision equipment was integrated into existing process controls.

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Motorcycle Engine Manufacturing

Project Goal: Identify the model of a carburetor prior to installing it onto the engine.

Nova Solution: Two identical vision systems were integrated into existing production lines to distinguish various carburetors by part number. Because lighting was a major consideration, a variable RGB light source with strobe capabilities was incorporated into the system. A Visual Basic software front end was used to identify the steps of the vision system operation and the data received from the inspection was transmitted via RS-232.

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Machine Design/Build

Project Goal: Engrave predetermined part numbers on machined pieces via a laser.

Nova Solution: A PC-based computer was used to control the laser. This computer was fitted with a Motion card to position the part and a Frame Grabber to orient the part to the laser. The Operator Interface, machine logic and laser control were integrated using a Visual Basic application developed in Visual Studio. Communication/transfer of data between the various components was done with Active-X servers. The laser engraved codes were used to separate Factory Original material from 3rd party material in warranty situations.

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Medical Equipment Manufacturing

Project Goal: To increase the capabilities a standard OEM machine by integrating precision controls and mechanical modifications which enabled the equipment to produce parts to the owner’s specifications.

Nova Solution: The new system was redesigned by integrating a PLC for digital I/O, a VFD for the spindle, a 2-axis CNC for the cutting table and a PC-based HMI for the operator interface. Ethernet communications were used to communicate between the PLC and the HMI to increase the data transfer speed. The diamond coated saw blade was supported in an air bearing and guided by a pneumatic air jet. After entering the correct recipe, the operator would load the raw crystal and the machine would run unattended until the part was complete.

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Heavy Equipment Manufacturing

Project Goal: Develop an electrical retrofit kit for a MAAG gear shaper to replace the 70 KW DC motor, MG set and the obsolete controls.

Nova Solution: An AC motor was specially designed by Nova and integrated with an AC vector drive to replace the DC drive motor and the MG set. The new control system, made up of readily available, off-the-shelf equipment, was developed using a servo controller and a PLC. This machine upgrade was a turn key operation. The control system features an IEC 61131 compliant PLC using an OPC client/server to communicate with an XP based Operator Control Station.

Since the original project in 1992, Nova has replicated this project on 7 machines. We have also done MG set replacements on 4 additional machines.

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Light Manufacturing

Project Goal: Retrofit a rotary knife with a new control that corrected the discrepancies of the existing machine.

Nova Solution: A new motion controller and HMI were integrated into an existing rotary knife. The rotary knife software was rewritten to make the cut while travelling at the speed of the material. This corrected the tearing that occurred with the old controls that were not able to match the knife speed and material speed during the cutting process.

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Spring Manufacturing

Project Goal: Retrofit a lathe style spring winder.

Nova Solution: A European manufactured lathe style spring coiler was out of service due to failed components not available in the US market. Stateside service was unavailable. The controls were rebuilt using a Visual Basic application running on an XP industrial PC. The winding chuck and the pitch table were driven by a CNC controller. The controller was integrated with new amplifiers and drives. All new components were selected to be available and serviceable in the US market.

Since the original project, this system was replicated 3 more times.

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Recycling

Project Goal: Design and build a control system to drive equipment that composts solid municipal waste.

Nova Solution: A biomixer is designed to accept approximately 240 tons of solid municipal waste (garbage) and activated sludge. A 250 HP AC vector drive, motor and control system were integrated into the biomixer drive system. After three days of processing, the effluent is sorted into compost, recyclable material and land fill material. This process reduces the amount of material sent to the land fill by approximately 75%. Because it has been through the composting process, the material is suitable for a construction class land fill.

Since the original project, this system has been replicated multiple times.

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Leather Processing

Project Goal: Measure the thickness of leather blue stock while moving and grade each piece of rawhide into one of six categories.

Nova Solution: LVDT’s were used to collect the raw data using a National Instruments data acquisition card. The data went through a statistical analysis to identify the appropriate grade. The grade was displayed on a marquee so that the operator could sort the hide into the proper stack according to grade. The entire measuring device was implemented on an industrial PC running a Labview application.

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Consulting

Project Goal: Map an electrical distribution system, calculate the harmonic content at the PCC and verify the calculation with actual measurements.

Nova Solution: A wastewater treatment facility installed a quantity of Variable Frequency Drives. The installation was required to meet IEEE-519 for harmonic content. After the existing system was mapped using SKM Power Tools, the replacement system of drives was designed and mitigated for harmonics based on the predictions of SKM software. After physical installation, the calculations were field verified using a Fluke power recorder.

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Industrial Computer Automation
Nova Systems Inc.
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