How to Measure Length or Volume of Products?

time clock 3 min read • February 18, 2020 evocon measures product length to calculate oee
erki viidalepp evocon

Erki Viidalepp

Head Engineer

In addition to other production outputs, the Evocon system can also measure the length and volume of products. If your production process fits either of these, then this article outlines how Evocon can help you monitor your production.

What Hardware Do You Need to Measure Length or Volume of Products?

If you need to measure the length or volume of your production output then you need devices that are continuously rotating and sending a large number of signals.

For example, in the case of pipe extrusion you need a rotary encoder that is on a measuring wheel. The wheel touches the pipe and rotates as it moves along the production line. The rotary encoder generates many signals per second and is capable of measuring product length with extreme precision.

Measuring the amount of liquid works in a very similar way. The liquid moves through a pipe with a flow meter installed. The flow meter is connected to a rotary encoder. Moving liquid rotates the meter, generating many signals per second.

The Evocon’s device registers these signals and sends them to our server. Evocon system processes data and displays it. All of this happens instantly and you see the data displayed in real-time.

evocon measures product length to calculate oee

You may already have a device that registers signals from a rotary encoder or a flow meter: a PLC. It is a small computer connected to your equipment directly. Newer automated machines usually have PLCs built into them. If there is a PLC signal available, it is best to choose this method over the signal from a rotary encoder or a meter.

One advantage of that is that any problems with PLC would be spotted and fixed sooner than if something happens to the machine or an encoder/meter. Also, PLC outputs are generally more stable.

evocon oee monitoring by connecting to machine plc

The picture illustrates how Evocon uses a PLC installed in an electric cabinet.

Converting Signals Into Length or Volume

Alternatively, you could find out the length or volume of your product not by measuring it directly with a rotary encoder of a flow meter, but by counting pieces of your product.

Let’s say, if the liquid is in canisters, bottles or tanks, it might be possible to count filled containers with a sensor and configure the system to convert that number into volume units.

The system can store multiple definitions of products and their corresponding weights. When you change from one product to another, different definitions apply.

evocon counts items and converts into kilograms oee

The picture demonstrates how Evocon works when converting the number of products into weight units, but it works in exactly the same way for length or volume units.

Which Hardware Is Provided by Evocon?

We provide the Evocon’s IIoT device, together with the power supply. You need to have sensors (or other hardware mentioned above) and cables. If requested, we can supply the sensors and necessary connectors and cables at an additional cost.

Below is a picture illustrating Evocon setup, including connection to the network and display devices. For more information, please read our article about setting up Evocon.

how to set up Evocon's production monitoring and OEE system

Using Control Signals to Increase the Reliability of Data

In some situations, it is practical to “verify” the validity of a production signal by backing it up with a second signal. For example, you may want to make sure that accidental signals, triggered by the sensor during maintenance or cleaning process, do not influence your OEE data.

This is how the previous example would work:

using control signals to increase reliability of oee tracking

using control signals to increase reliability of oee tracking

On the picture above you can see that the primary signal comes from the sensor and the secondary signal – from the Andon light. When the Andon light is on, the Evocon’s device registers sensor signals as usual. When the Andon light is off, it ignores all signals from the sensor.

In our example with the extrusion of pipes, we can also use multiple control signals from the machine to get accurate production data.