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German leader manufacturer of chocolate decorations and ingredients, Ulmer Schokoladen, and global industrial wireless automation technology provider CoreTigo, announce today their cooperation in enhancing the efficiency of chocolate manufacturing operations.

Looking for a way to upscale its production lines, Ulmer Schokoladen turned to CoreTigo, to utilize its IO-Link Wireless solution for automation of chocolate manufacturing processes. Ulmer’s flexible production lines use mobile machines for sealing cartons with finished goods. Moving these machines from one location to another within the manufacturing facility creates complexity, which includes rewiring them for communication with the main control unit in each location.

CoreTigo’s industrial wireless automation solutions enable a quick, simple, and scalable retrofit on Ulmer’s existing machines. By connecting an IO-Link optical proximity sensor on each machine to CoreTigo’s IO-Link Wireless Bridge, the TigoBridge, it enabled wireless real-time communication of product carton counts to the TigoMaster IO-Link Wireless Master unit, and from there to the PLC via PROFINET for data processing. This enabled full wireless automation of the process, implemented on several machines, located in different halls. The solution eliminated Ulmer’s dependency on manual counting as well as the complex communication wiring and machine relocations.

Additionally, Ulmer intelligently utilized CoreTigo’s IO-Link Wireless connectivity to wirelessly connect PLCs on the production line. This is done by connecting an IO-Link Wireless Hub (TigoHub) to collect the digital outputs from the secondary PLCs and pass the data back wirelessly to a TigoMaster unit, connected to the main PLC and the factory’s MES system.

By going wireless Ulmer gained several benefits, including:

  • Flexibility and agility: With the elimination of the cables between the PLC and the machine’s sensors, moving the sealing machines to new locations became quicker and easier, saving valuable time and effort.
  • Easy deployment: As CoreTigo’s IO-Link Wireless devices offer quick and easy retrofitting of existing machines, switching to wireless required a very low effort and minimal downtime until the machine was up and running again.
  • Reliability: Being an industrial-grade wireless communication protocol, IO-Link Wireless allows full and ongoing connectivity, even when there is no line of sight between the IO-Link Wireless Bridge and Master, thus contributing to the seamless operation of the machine.

“Integrating CoreTigo’s industrial-grade wireless connectivity enabled us to increase productivity and agility of Ulmer Schokoladen’s production lines by enabling us a new level of flexibility”, said Justus Ulmer, Ulmer Schokoladen CEO, “This enables us to continue offering our customers the best quality products, even in high-pace production.”