Miller Brewing Company Increases Plant Floor Efficiencies

When Miller Brewing Company needed a solution to collect business data from plant floor equipment without upsetting the control architecture, Digi International responded with the ideal solution, the new Pass-through port addition to the Digi One IAPT device server. Digi modified its Industrial Automation focused serial-to-Ethernet server to allow a networked and local serial application to connect to automation equipment at the same time. This was accomplished by adding pass-through port functionality to its industry-leading Digi One IA device server. The pass-through port is an additional COM port that enables users to connect serial devices locally to automation equipment without interrupting the existing PLC-COM connection.

Miller Brewing's automation equipment consisted of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), most of which only have one RS-232 serial port. The dual-port capability of the DigiOne IAP provided Miller Brewing Company with the additional port it needed to gather data from its devices without losing the existing PLC COM connection. According to Larry Trunek, corporate principal electrical engineer for Miller Brewing Company, his technicians can now maintain an HMI interface for example, and simultaneously collect data from the PLC. Miller now enjoys the convenience of maintaining HMI panel serial connectivity while at the same time communicating with its PLCs via software applications across the TCP/IP network.

Miller also benefits because the Digi One IAP makes the intermittent maintenance of PLCs easier. Technicians can now plug into the available pass-through port via laptop and communicate with a PLC without interrupting the devices already connected.

"The additional connectivity provided by the Digi One IAP with pass-through port feature increased efficiencies throughout the automation process," said Larry Trunek, corporate principal electrical engineer, Miller Brewing Company. "The flexibility provided by the additional COM port has proven extremely valuable."

According to Trunek, the Digi One IAP was easy to install, configure and deploy. He was also impressed with the out-of-box experience including the user-friendly Web Interface, thorough documentation, and knowledgeable technical support.

"Digi's willingness to work with us as a partner made implementation easy," Trunek added. "Digi provided more than just a technical solution. They provided the necessary documentation and outstanding training and technical support that enabled us to quickly and easily begin using the product."

The Digi pass-through port provides an additional local serial connection to the PLC for industrial serial devices like HMI panels. Now HMI panels can communicate to a PLC as a local serial master while the PLC is simultaneously communicating via the Digi One IAP with a network master. The Digi One IAP is ideal for industrial applications requiring Modbus to Modbus TCP or Allen-Bradley DF1 to Ethernet/IP Industrial Ethernet protocol conversion.

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