Hi-Tech Hits the Heartland

Control systems integrator Kata Corp. (Evansville, Ind.), working with Process Control Concepts (also Evansville, Ind.), a controls engineering firm, recently provided an economical and energy saving control system solution for one of the newest U.S. soybean processing facilities. The project involved CGB Enterprises' (Mt.


Control systems integrator Kata Corp. (Evansville, Ind.), working with Process Control Concepts (also Evansville, Ind.), a controls engineering firm, recently provided an economical and energy saving control system solution for one of the newest U.S. soybean processing facilities.

The project involved CGB Enterprises' (Mt. Vernon, Ind.) newly constructed soybean crushing facility. It is one of only a handful of such operations that have been built in recent years in the United States. The CGB plant is unique among this group in that it features a streamlined equipment layout that simplifies the crushing process and promotes energy efficiency. The primary processing steps are the same as in conventional plants. The CGB plant layout reduces the amount of machinery and energy required.

To maintain the efficiencies that had been designed into the plant and to promote further improvements once operations started, CGB and its general contractor, Younglove Construction Co. (Sioux City, Ia.), reviewed what was available in process control systems. The project's financial constraints were a major factor; approximately $600,000 had been budgeted for control equipment, its installation and configuration, training of personnel, system startup, and other related services.

PLCs examined

Programmable logic controller (PLC) hardware solutions were found to be attractively priced, but human-machine interface (HMI) costs and associated configuration significantly increased the final system cost. CGB was also concerned that PLCs would be unable to provide the level of data management desired to improve plant efficiency. A distributed control system (DCS) could manage data, but hardware and software costs for the 2,200 I/O points would push expected system cost over budget.

Kata Corp. suggested Freelance 2000 from Elsag Bailey (Wickliffe, O.), a compact control system that resembled a PLC and HMI package. Freelance 2000 uses DCS-like programming functions in addition to standard PLC logic types. It has a global database and uses off-the-shelf PCs as operator stations. Freelance 2000's hardware was priced competitively with the PLC/HMI hardware, and coupled with its installation costs, was estimated to be within CGB's budget.

What was helpful to CGB was how easily the control system could be installed. The $30 million crushing plant project was fast paced, beginning construction in 1996 and shooting for completion in November 1997 to coincide with the fall soybean harvest. As production equipment was received, it was installed and instrument wiring was run to terminal blocks mounted in cabinets located in each operational area. To simplify wiring, Process Control Concepts developed a "universal" block that can be configured to accept field signals regardless of the power source. This also removed construction constraints from the configuration and validation activities.

The plant was able to start-up as the harvest arrived. Plant operators, trained on simulators provided by Process Control Concepts, had the plant operating at 60% capacity in two weeks, and full capacity shortly afterwards.

By taking advantage of a unique building design and control system architecture, CGB's first soybean crushing facility is showing itself to be a viable operation in its market.

Comments? Send e-mail to: mdrakulich@cahners.com

For more information on Kata Corp. ; on Process Control Concepts ; on Elsag-Bailey , or visit www.controleng.com/info .

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