Innovative control system for slabstock and molded foam

Hennecke machines are distinguished by their extreme durability and often decades of use. In contrast to plants made of steel and high-quality, permanently resilient components, the life cycles of the electronic control software are usually much shorter. At the same time, the plants are constantly being further developed and expanded. This in turn brings with it new requirements for the software, which is continuously updated accordingly. With FOAMWARE, Hennecke 2021 has introduced a completely new development of the control software in the area of plant technology, which is now also available for the molded foam product area alongside the variant for slabstock lines.


The previous process data recording and monitoring system (PDE) or PURTRONIC for slabstock and molded foam line is already around 20 years old and – despite constant updates – no longer up to date. In addition, the security of the underlying operating system can no longer be guaranteed because Microsoft has discontinued support. The bottom line: Hennecke’s developers had to adapt the control software to current – and especially future – needs in order to keep the system operation for its customers future-proof and operationally reliable in equal measure. The result is the current FOAMWARE, which represents a completely new development. The new user interface impresses with intuitive user guidance that does not puzzle previous Hennecke customers during the changeover, a wide range of functions and the possibility of integrating numerous useful plug-ins and additional options. “During the development of FOAMWARE, we worked closely with our customers and users to integrate their current and future requirements for the control system,” reports Eugen Kern, Team Leader Service Sales BU Germany.


SIMATIC Quad-Core industrial PC of the latest generation

Large 32-inch UHD monitor

Remote Service Router for secure online support

Uninterruptible power supply

Ergonomic PC desk

Air conditioning unit

Laser printer

State of the art hardware

The control software is available in two versions: FOAMWARE Slabstock – which has already been established on the market for around two years – and FOAMWARE Molded Foam, which will be available from October 2023 in place of the previous PURTRONIC. Both applications are based on the same system and are adapted to the actual application scenarios. Extremely powerful hardware equipment serves as the basis: the free-standing operator console with a SIMATIC Quad-Core industrial PC of the latest generation and a 32- inch UHD monitor enables ergonomic working and a good overview of a wide range of parameters – optionally, up to three additional monitors can even be connected. Also integrated are a printer, an uninterruptible power supply, an air conditioning unit and a remote access router for online support.

Extensive additional benefits for users

The range of functions of the previous control system has been extended by numerous new features. For example, the standard scope of delivery of the FOAMWARE already includes visualization of the Flow Chart, Process Chart and Calibration Manager, as well as other software tools for the effective analysis of target and actual values. A real highlight is the “Magic Eye” function for slabstock lines, which detects metering deviations and other irregularities in the running process and makes them visible immediately. “This enables the operator to react more quickly and provides active support in deciding whether production must be stopped or can be continued. This ultimately saves time and raw materials,” explains Markus Häsler from Hennecke Service Sales. What is more, the new system works much faster than the previous PDE or PURTRONIC – so recipe changes or the adjustment of individual discharge quantities can be implemented more quickly. Another highlight of FOAMWARE is the detailed calibration function, which ensures more precise metering and faster achievement of the setpoint values and ensures that the system always runs in the optimum process window.

These values can also be archived and analyzed with the help of the “Calibration History” – keyword “Predictive Maintenance”. This makes it possible to recognize more quickly whether a pump is slowly wearing out and needs to be replaced, for example, or whether a calibration was carried out incorrectly. The integrated database enables absolutely secure, local storage of production data, metering programs or formulations. A sophisticated error analysis provides a comprehensive overview of all current and completed error messages; the chart analysis with its diverse filter options facilitates evaluation and process optimization.

Clear display of all fill levels of the individual raw materials.
The RISE PROFILE MEASUREMENT visualizes the rising process and ensures constant production of optimum foam blocks.

Plug-in concept with optional extras

FOAMWARE impresses with its extensive plug-in concept, into which various useful optional modules can be integrated depending on the application scenario and individual requirements. For instance, the Hennecke Process Analysis (HPA) enables comprehensive graphical evaluation of production data in a customer-specific view in the form of tables, diagrams and trends. Users can import or export data and connect to higher-level production systems via an optional third-party interface, which provides connectivity to SAP etc. Furthermore, Hennecke is constantly developing additional optional modules such as the web service – thereby enabling production monitoring on mobile devices such as tablets or cell phones. This is an ideal solution for maintenance and production personnel and includes information about ongoing operation, current chemical consumption, error messages, and an alarm history.

Slabstock foam in perfection through optional modules

For slabstock foam production, the FOAMWARE Slabstock is ideally suitable for Hennecke’s innovative hardware enhancements. The RISE PROFILE MEASUREMENT visualizes the foam height at various points in the rising process, ensuring better and more consistent production of optimal foam blocks. Up to 30 data points from different sensors are displayed and deviations in temperature, humidity or activators are immediately detected.

AUTO-FLAT is the fully automatic version of the FLAT-TOP system and enables the production of slabstock foam with an absolutely even surface. Independent of the specific know-how of the operator, this results in a constant and reproducible foam quality. This avoids waste and thus saves valuable raw materials. The prerequisite for use is the use of the FOAMWARE.

Optimized for automatic molded foam production

The slabstock foam version of FOAMWARE – already hugely successful on the market – has also been adapted for the molded foam sector. In addition to various specific process-relevant overviews and detailed controls, FOAMWARE Molded Foam also offers special optional add-on modules. Since automated robot systems are increasingly being used in molded foam production, the software offers a separate module for this purpose. Allowing simple and intuitive selection of the robot type and programs, it features an ASCII editor so that changes can be made conveniently – even without knowledge of the robot language. All data adjustments can be made directly during production and visualized in the software.

Analysis of plant downtimes is provided by the non-production option. This clearly displays the duration of the various operating modes (automatic, manual, stoppage) of the current and past shifts and automatically records the causes in the event of downtimes. The web service is also under development for FOAMWARE Molded Foam, which makes production monitoring available remotely in the form of a specially programmed website and offers extensive visualization options with tables, diagrams and measuring instruments.

Clear graphics visualize the current production process.
Optimal for highly automated applications with integrated robot control.

Bringing old systems up to date

The current FOAMWARE is not only the new standard equipment for all new plants, but can also be integrated as a retrofit into all existing plants to replace the old control system. In addition to the visualization software, the available retrofit solutions also include all necessary hardware components. “In this way, even plants that are more than 20 years old can be raised to a completely new level and continue to be used efficiently,” explains Markus Häsler, who has already equipped numerous aging plants with the new software. Depending on the conditions on site, this involves either a standard retrofit solution or an individual adaptation. This not only guarantees optimum performance, but also ensures that the company is up to date in terms of IT security, as the PDE operating system will no longer be supplied with security patches by Microsoft in the future. Additional options such as RISE PROFILE MEASUREMENT are also in high demand, according to Markus Häsler.

Switch now – discontinuation of the old PDE

Hennecke’s technical support for PDE of slabstock lines commissioned before January 1, 2019, will end on December 31, 2023. Systems commissioned after January 1, 2019, will receive extended support until the end of 2024. However, customers who order a new FOAMWARE slabstock before these deadlines will benefit from guaranteed support until the new control system is installed.

The PDE PURTRONIC for molded foam lines will also be discontinued in the near future.

Users who would like to ensure the future security of their existing systems are requested to contact Hennecke Service.

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  • Engineering