Case: The sputtering maching at the University of Groningen
The University of Groningen had been using a sputtering machine for the composition of materials for years. But the entire set-up of its control system was hopelessly out-dated. The PC still used Windows XP and could not be connected to a network for remote control. There was no clear distinction between the control and operational functions either. This was pretty confusing for students, who are naturally allowed to make mistakes, but preferably on a system they can handle. Incorrect input and incorrect procedures caused regular system failures, frustration and a hefty repair bill.
In close consultation with Mr Johan Holstein at the university, Pro Control completely changed the set-up. ‘Flexible’ and ‘student-proof’ were the keywords. To start with, Pro control replaced the PC by a Beckhoff PLC that ran on Windows 7 with a sound security system and the possibility of remote control. We installed a LabVIEW application for simple and unambiguous operational input, as well as the Dizanta Suite for automated data acquisition and reports.
The PC is now solely used as an operator interface, for data storage and as a recipe manager for automated procedures. The control system and alarm management no longer depend on the PC. Students can now make all the mistakes they want – and learn from them.
Case: Tata Steel
At our research centre for applications of steel, Tata Steel has been conducting research into tribology for a great many years. With the emergence of high-temperature conversion techniques in the car industry came the wish for the ability to characterise friction. A so-called Hot Friction Tester (HFT) needed to be coupled with an existing conveyor oven that also heats metal sheets for an industrial press.
Pro Control eloborated on Tata Steel’s idea and accepted the challenge of its construction and control. The HFT has become a key tool in the research into wearing parts and friction behaviour in conversion. We are very satisfied with the collaboration and results. We now have a very functional and frequently used test machine.
NIKHEF engineers wanted to perform acceptance tests on the 400 V–12 V DC/DC converters, which they are developing for the supply voltage of the DOM’s in the Km3Net experiment. They were looking for a reliable LabVIEW application that would be able to communicate with all the instruments that were part of the test unit and could acquire all the relevant data of the performed tests. This data had to be stored and had to be easily readable.
Pro Control delivered a PC-based National Instruments LabVIEW software application to take care of the communication with the attached devices. Pro Control developed LabVIEW drivers for each device in order to deploy the desired functionality and an interface showing all the controls and indicators needed to control and monitor all the devices. Pro Control also added functionality in the form of buttons to start and stop an experiment as well as report generation based upon the latest performed experiment data which is currently being stored on the PC – with the reports provided in CSV format. The user only needs limited technical knowledge to run the experiments. This all makes the application extremely user-friendly.
Emerson Automation Solutions deliver services and products to automate process plants all over the world. To support their customers to run a plant with confidence, Emerson supplies several performance based calibration solutions. For a new service, Emerson developed a Mobile Calibration Unit based on Coriolis Master Meters resulting in the best onsite uncertainty and a CMC of 0,075% with Flow rates from 1.8 to 1800 kg/min.
Emerson designed the Mobile Calibration Unit hardware, mechanical, operations and software specifications.
As high accuracy and fast data acquisition and flexible data processing for calibration is key, Emerson was looking for a knowledgeable partner to deliver a turn-key project based on a Labview solution. This Labview solution comes with a final control cabinet, LabView based software, a touch screen for easy operation, and a software link to create Emerson standard uniform reports. Pro Control installed and delivered the fit-for-purpose, cost-effective and user-friendly solution with all the cables, software and required licenses.
During startup and FAT, Maru in De Rijp lend us a solar installation power unit that helped us test the device extensively. The unit is now on its way to support Emerson’s customers and Pro Control is very proud on the final result and being part of this innovative solution.
At Ineos Brussels’ test facility, a single operator runs an 8-fault autoclave system to test the catalyst for the polymerisation process of ethylene twice a day by manual operation of the existing SCADA software.
Ineos challenged Pro Control to come up with a solution so that the operator can run the system 8 times a day.
In order to run multiple jobs per day, these jobs need to be executed in parallel. This means that multiple operators need to work on the plant simultaneously.
Pro Control had already developed a software application, Dizanta Compass. This automated operator is one of the modules of the Dizanta Suite that elevates the SCADA application to a higher level of automation.
Dizanta Compass can carry out all a human operator’s chores using a predefined recipe of all the required actions and transitions.
For Ineos Brussels, we needed Dizanta Compass to be able to execute multiple recipes in parallel, so we extended the module with parallel recipe execution.
Dizanta Compass now runs up to 8 recipes in parallel at the test facility of Ineos Brussels, which boils down to approximately 10 jobs per day – so we more than met the challenge!
We even went a step further and installed the Dizanta Prisma trending tool with on-the-fly analysis features for a selected trend within a selected time window, such as:
• Minimum and maximum value
• Mean value
• Standard deviation
• Integral and derivative information
This analysis tool provides good and fast information and direct insight into the process. Not even Ineos Brussels could do without it.