PRODUCT PROFILE: Visual Supervisor

August 1, 2007
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A new series of visual supervisors combines data acquisition, control and process automation into what is effectively a mini-distributed control system.



As with many other ceramic industry processes, glass manufacture requires a high level of both control accuracy and reliability to achieve consistent product quality. This particularly applies to equipment like furnaces and lehrs, where accurate and consistent control is required throughout a number of different zones for functions like batch control and recipe management.

A solution to these control challenges is now at hand, offering improved efficiency at a substantially reduced cost. The Eycon series of visual supervisors combines control, data acquisition and process automation in a single process management unit. Because of this functionality, each Eycon visual supervisor is effectively a mini-distributed control system (DCS). As a result, not only can it function as a single unit, but the supervisor also has the flexibility to be a powerful component of a wider system.

Fitting In

When used as a building block within a larger system, the new instrument provides peer-to-peer communications over Ethernet (ELIN). EurothermSuite software provides a single environment for visualization, engineering and configuration across a plant-wide solution incorporating multiple strategy engines and input/output (I/O) solutions. Communication with any Modbus device is provided via serial or Ethernet connection, which, in turn, reduces engineering costs while increasing system availability.

"While customer feedback has been positive in terms of process visualization, the cost aspects of the Eycon supervisor are appreciated as well," says Eurotherm UK Product Manager Darren Mardell. "Our competitors typically offer a panel PC solution that requires extra investment in software. The fact that this is already embedded in our instrument means that the overall cost can be up to 40% less."

The instrument can also provide an excellent solution for glass production lines when combined with the T2550 programmable automation controller (PAC). In these applications, functions include local visualization; continuous, precise glass level control; cross-limiting lead/lag combustion control; oxygen trim; fuel switch over control; and fuel flow/ratio control. In addition, the redundant processors in the T2550 PAC provide high system availability.

Broad Functionality

Designed for ease of use and economy, both the Eycon-10 and Eycon-20 visual supervisors incorporate an integrated, full-color operator display with touch screen technology. A simple-to-use pop-up navigation menu provides the user with an intuitive interface to a range of functionality, including batch control, recipe management, commissioning and diagnostics tools, and communications parameters. While the touch screen display size is different for each model, both share standard display formats, 99 user defined displays, IP65 (Ingress Protection rating) front-of-panel enclosure displays, and user-programmable keys.

"We are also finding that users are very pleased with the panel depth of our supervisors," said Mardell. "They are not large and cumbersome like so many other solutions. This also saves money because the supervisors take up far less panel space. In addition, while the IP65 rating is important for users in the ceramic industry, we are currently also undergoing tests for IP66 as well."

As already mentioned, both supervisors are capable of continuous and sequential control. Their open network architecture allows connection to the process interface (T2550) I/O modules and other third-party devices. Separating the processing from the I/O allows physical distribution of the modules, which saves on wiring costs and panel/cubicle space. The continuous control strategy is built simply by interconnecting function blocks selected from an extensive library.

The batch manager function enables an operator to control (load, start, hold, restart, abort) a batch and monitor its progress from standard displays. Each batch is identified by either a unique, automatically generated number or a batch ID entered by the operator. Each batch can be configured from a setup page, which also allows six operator entry fields for factors like customer name and product type.

Meanwhile, versatile continuous control capability provides accurate, multiple PID loops and advanced process automation strategies. Eycon visual supervisor's sequential capability provides powerful sequential control and enables implementation of phases as defined by the ISA-S88 process model for batch processes.

For its part, the setpoint programmer function enables the operator to select and run a required setpoint program from a list. With the preview facility, the operator can view the program before running it. Once the program is running, the setpoint and achieved process values are plotted on the screen as trends. Up to 16 analog setpoint profiles, 32 digital output profiles and 250 segments are stored on a single time base, with up to eight setpoint programs running simultaneously.

Also of interest to users in the ceramic industry is the supervisor's recipe management capability, which is easy and efficient for the operator to use. Recipes can be created, maintained and downloaded from the front panel, and automatic version control ensures that the correct recipe is being downloaded. The order of execution of a recipe is the order of the values in the file in a top-to-bottom manner. Up to 500 parameters can be stored for every recipe.

Recording and Trending

In terms of recording, Eycon visual supervisors and EurothermSuite also provide continuous, built-in data logging and trending capabilities. Online and historical trends can be viewed locally at the Eycon display or at any EurothermSuite operator station. Logged files can be archived to a removable USB memory stick or to servers on the network using file transfer protocol (FTP).

Finally, the Eycon visual supervisor provides trending of analogue and digital values with data logging to historical files. Historical data can be stored in a secure, encrypted format or ASCII to best suit the application. This can include multiple log groups, batch, hourly, daily or on-demand. Standard displays include horizontal and vertical trends, bar graphs and numerical data representation, and log files can contain reports, alarms, events, and operator messages. Up to three remote file servers can be configured for added security of the data.

Whether used as a stand-alone unit or as a component in a larger system, the new Eycon visual supervisor gives users in the ceramic and related industries the opportunity to improve process efficiency and make substantial cost savings at the same time.

For more information, contact Eurotherm at 741-F Miller Dr., Leesburg, VA 20175; (703) 443-0000; e-mail info@eurotherm.com; or visit www.eurotherm.com/eycon.

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