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Programmable batch control cuts overfill, aids ISO 9000 effort

While working to secure its ISO 9000 certification, State Chemical (Cleveland. O.) recently replaced deteriorating batch controls in its 30,000-ft.2plant with Easy Link solutions from Burkert USA (Irvine, Calif.) consisting of its Type 8035 inline flow transmitters with digital display, direct-linked to its Type 2000 y-pattern valves for on/off control.

State Chemical now automatically controls all bulk and mixed chemical transfers by using Type 8035's programming capabilities for automatic or manually entered batch volumes. This approach also saves material by reducing the plant's overfill rate from more than 5% to less than 1%; reducing necessary human interaction with chemicals during the transfer process; and offering a system payout in two months

For more information, visit or .

Technology update: software boosts control

Manufacturers, suppliers, and OEMs are under constant pressure to reduce project times. One solution is to take a modular approach to automation, but programming communication links is more complex with distributed automation solutions. The goal of Component-based Automation based on Profinet is to simplify use of "distributed intelligence."

Component-based Automation makes distributed intelligence easier to manage. In component technology, the entire functionality of a module is mapped and encapsulated in an associated software component. Component-based Automation is based on the Profinet standard, which standardizes access to the component interface among other functions. Component-based Automation allows components from different manufacturers to be combined despite their internal programming.

The devices are networked via Ethernet and Profibus. Ethernet devices to be used for Component-based Automation functions must have Profinet communication mechanisms. With Profinet's proxy concept, transparent interfaces can be created between Profibus segments and Ethernet, and Profibus devices can be used without any modification.

For more information, visit or .Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor,

Software review: optimize process with simulation

A process control system's function is to maintain unit operations of the process at specific values/setpoints or within determined bounds. One way to determine the optimum set of operation parameters is by using models developed for computer simulation of the process.

RealPlant by GKO Advanced Technologies (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) is a software tool that supports the development of graphical process models for simulation. This tool's simulation model allows users to quickly explore effects of changes to process variables and discover how the process needs to be configured at startup.

Because process conditions are the result of many parameters, testing each potential combination of parameters can be time consuming. RealPlant simulations allow "faster than real-time" process operation, so results are determined faster and without wasting resources. Once an optimal set of conditions is determined, users can verify conditions in the actual process.

RealPlant also allows control designers to experiment with placement of sensors and control elements. Poor placement of process sensors can result in less-than-optimum input for control actions. Also, as part of the package's process visualization capabilities, simulation of different distribution displays is possible. RealPlant will operate under Microsoft Windows 95 or higher systems. This review is based on RealPlant operating under Microsoft Windows 2000.

For more information, or visit .Tracy J. Coates P.E., contributing editor, is also a consulting engineer at PCE Engineering (Johnson City, Tenn.)

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