Controllers tackle all aspects of plant operation

Paul Boughton

Every aspect of plant automation depends on a variety of different controllers. The latest releases tackle every aspect of plant operations, including aggressive conditions. Sean Ottewell reports.

ControlCare Field-based Control System (FCS) from Endress + Hauser is a combination of software and hardware components based on open standards, the purpose of which is to connect Endress+Hauser devices to process control, operating and maintenance systems. It provides quick and easy system integration and ensures that the benefits of fieldbus technology are available at all levels of the control hierachy. ControlCare components can be used to supplement a third-party system, or be used as a control system within its own right.

One of the company's recent successes is in Italy, where ControlCare is helping a solvent recycling company to meet its process and regulatory needs.

La Vichimica, located in Novara, Northern Italy, specialises in the reprocessing of solvents from different process industries, notably pharmaceuticals. During reprocessing, these solvents are separated from dangerous by-products.

Every day, tankers carrying contaminated solvents arrive at the works. The contents of the tankers are transferred into the storage tanks for the columns. At the start of the process the solvent is slowly heated. In the subsequent re-circulation phase, the solvent vapour is continually pumped through the columns until the required degree of purity is attained.

The program's configuration, which is implemented in both field controller and devices such as the valves, control the process. After completion of the process, the purified solvent can be reused and the residues are sent for disposal. The two columns that are controlled by ControlCare can be connected together to form a super-column, increasing the range of applications for which the product can be used.[Page Break]

The plant was equipped exclusively with Endress+Hauser fieldbus devices, and the contract also included: project management; basic, detailed and realisation engineering; and a complete instrumentation package totalling 45 devices. Integration of Profibus components, commissioning and optimisation of control algorithms, and training and instruction were also included in the contract.

In terms of integration, 33 devices operating in explosion hazardous areas are connected to six FISCO FOUNDATION fieldbus channels. The ControlCare Field Controller acts as a linking device, interface to the visualisation and is responsible for control and safety tasks. Additional devices are to be found in safe areas. The digital signals for motor control are routed through two SFD 101 Remote I/O units that are also connected to the H1 bus.

Meanwhile, on the banks of the Vistula river in Warsaw, Poland's largest waste water treatment plant - Czajka - will be commissioned in mid-2012 to treat the waste water collected from roughly 2.1 million inhabitants living in the greater metropolitan area of the city.

Siemens' Industry Automation Division will be providing a comprehensive automation solution for this major project, based on the Simatic PCS 7 process control system. More than 60 automation systems, more than 200 Sitrans flow meters, about 100 Multiranger level transmitters, Pointek level switches, and a large number of Ultramat gas analysers will make Czajka an environmentally friendly plant (Fig. 1).

With a population of around 1.7 million, Warsaw is the most important conurbation in central and eastern Europe and a major transport and trading hub. The city's river serves as an important potable water resource, but also collects waste water from the area.

Downstream towards the Bay of Gdansk, the Vistula was heavily polluted because existing waste water treatment plants could cope with only 70 per cent of all the waste water. The new plant has been designed for a daily treatment capacity of 435,300m3, representing a major part of the waste water collected from Warsaw and neighbouring districts. Alongside the complete process automation, including project planning, installation, and system tests, Siemens will also be supplying the lion's share of low-voltage power supplies and energy-saving drive technology.

Meanwhile EGE has launched two new controllers aimed at different aspects of process control. Its new KGFT-CER series of level controllers ensure that fill levels are reliably monitored even in environments with high pressures and high temperatures. They can withstand pressures of up to 30 bar at 140°C, and up to 15 bar at 200°C. Manufactured from 1.4571 stainless steel and a special ceramic, the IP 68 sensors are steam proof and can therefore undergo sterilisation processes, which are required in medical technology and many pharmaceutical and food applications.[Page Break]

The second new addition is the SDNC 5 inline flow controller which provides new optimisation possibilities for process technology engineers. Measuring 37x40x67 mm, the flow controller is very compact and serves as a space-saving alternative to conventional devices. EGE delivers the sensors with pre-programmed operating parameters, thereby minimising installation efforts. The analogue SDNC 5 version comes with an adjusted measuring range, while the switching version with a PNP transistor output is programmed with the limit value that needs to be monitored.

Three awards

Finally, Brooks Instrument, a leading provider of advanced flow, pressure, vacuum and level solutions, has won an unprecedented three awards from a specialist instrumentation publication. Brooks won in the categories of vacuum technology, gas flow measurement and control and software.

The company's XacTorr vacuum capacitance manometer received top honours in the vacuum technology category. The XacTorr is a premium, heated gauge that uses patented dual-zone heating to ensure 0.1°C temperature uniformity. It provides superior reliability by combining Brooks' patented Mark-IV shielded sensor technology and patent pending digital temperature control, which reduce the buildup of condensable products that lead to signal drift and premature device failure.

Another winner, the SolidSense II pressure transmitter, has been designed for stable, accurate and reliable pressure monitoring in high purity and general industrial applications.

In the category of software, Brooks won for its Smart Interface Model 0260. This Windows-based software application provides expanded control and monitoring capabilities in laboratory and research environments for Brooks RS485 Smart Protocol thermal mass flow meters and controllers. Together with the Brooks Smart Interface (BSI) tabletop hardware module, the 0260 provides a turnkey solution for monitoring and controlling up to 30 mass flow meters or controllers.

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