Following the early success of the Squashies range of sweets, Swizzels needed to increase its operational capacity in order to meet the growing demand for these popular products. Swizzels decided to make significant investment in the implementation of new ovens and an innovative, state of the art production line that would enable them to streamline and automate processes by introducing the use of “connected” machinery.
To increase its productivity levels, Swizzels incorporated Internet of Things innovation into the production line, by commissioning the creation of three connected robots to load and unload each of the ovens. These robots operate by receiving live instructions from wireless signals and therefore needed to be able to connect and communicate directly with the business network. As such, Swizzels approached Prodec Networks to discuss the full project requirements of implementing a reliable and robust wireless network that could operate the robots in a highly demanding manufacturing environment.
Following discovery discussions, Prodec Networks conducted a detailed site survey consisting of RF planning and heat map technology in order to work out the optimum location for each of the wireless access points.
The environment that the wireless access points needed to be deployed into posed additional challenges. Great performance was a crucial requirement, with wireless signals needing to be strong enough to ensure each of the robots could communicate from the far back of the ovens, each of which is equivalent in size to three standard sized garages placed end to end. Furthermore, the amount of metal in the building’s structure and the machinery located on site had potential to cause propagation issues. The manufacturing process itself also added complication; jelly production creates a lot of very fine starch dust that could potentially cause damage or performance issues, which meant the wireless access points need to be protected.
Prodec Networks installed a number of HPE Aruba 802.11ac access points with a sub-5 millisecond network performance speed. These were contained according to IP66 waterproofing standards to protect them from the harsh environment, and special mounting construction was strategically placed to ensure the robots were always in range to be able to communicate effectively with the network and perform their tasks as efficiently as possible.
Following the deployment and testing of the new Aruba wireless network, Swizzels was able to successfully provide their new robots with operational instructions delivered through the wireless network.