Is your controller tough enough?

Controllers are the nervous system of the production process. Reliability is important. Controller malfunctions can throw a wrench into your production processes or even paralyze your factory. You need a rugged controller. See three tips to help choose a controller.

03/21/2013



Controllers are the nervous system of the production process. As critical couriers of information and implementers of change, controller malfunctions can throw a wrench into your production processes or even paralyze your factory. The stakes are especially high for manufacturers who operate in extreme conditions.

High temperatures, low temperatures, organic solvents, constant vibration, moisture and condensation—these factors and many others create challenges for manufacturers looking for the right controller for rugged environments.

The Allen-Bradley ControlLogix-XT (Extreme Environment) controller from Rockwell Automation operates in a broad temperature spectrum, minus 25 C to 70 C, and meets ANSI/ISA-S71.04-1985 Class G1, G2, and G3, as well as cULus, Class 1 Div 2, C-Tick, CE, ATE

Choose a reliable controller: 3 tips

How can you choose a reliable controller? Make the right choice. Follow these steps.

1. Recognize the need. This step is simple but too often delayed. Do not wait until something major goes wrong with your controllers and your operation is short-circuited. Be proactive and check out the condition and adequacy of your controllers before a crippling problem occurs.

2. Consider your environmental requirements. Every factory has a unique environment. After deciding you need a new controller, define the conditions of your manufacturing environment, specifically, where the controller will reside. Will it be exposed to extreme heat or cold? What kinds of gases are present? Will salts or corrosives come in contact with the controller? Are vibration, moisture, or condensation issues? How about fungi?

3. Match the controller to the specifications. Now that you have determined the exact environmental conditions of the controller’s future home, take a look at your control-system choices. You essentially have two: a standard control system or a control system designed for extreme environments. Extreme environment controllers function in the same way as standard controllers but come with enhancements for demanding applications, such as conformal coating that extends product life in harsh, corrosive environments, or redesigned ventilation for increased airflow.

For example, controllers are available that operate in a broad temperature spectrum, minus 25 C to 70 C, and meet ANSI/ISA-S71.04-1985 Class G1, G2, and G3, as well as cULus, Class 1 Div 2, C-Tick, CE, ATEX Zone 2, and SIL 2 requirements for increased protection against salts, corrosives, moisture, humidity, and fungal growth. The active controller components are separated on the backplane by vented faceplate segments that provide increased airflow, offer a thermal cushion, and help lower the need for air-conditioning panels.

Extreme environment controllers are ideally suited for corrosive environments, such as those found in oil and gas, wind-turbine, and ship-building applications. They are also well-suited for steel mills, as their machines are constantly exposed to extreme heat.

Price-sensitive managers might opt for a traditional control system and take measures to mitigate the heat, such as adding air conditioning. But that drives up energy costs and increases enclosure space requirements. Air conditioners also create moisture, which can negatively impact machinery, and come with filters that must be replaced by a maintenance worker. These factors add to the cooling cost over the lifetime of the equipment.

Some may decide to forgo the air conditioner, install a traditional control system, and hope for the best. The result: harsh conditions shorten the controller’s life, increase its chance of failure, and call into question the accuracy of the input/output data. These problems could be avoided with the right controller, which avoids the need for an air conditioner or any sort of temperature regulator. Such controllers can meet ISA Pollution Class G1, G2, and G3 standards. Gases and dust don’t have to be a concern, either.

If you manufacture amid harsh conditions, it is crucial to protect production assets. Extreme controllers can provide optimal control in the most rugged environments and lower lifecycle costs, making them a valuable investment.

- Dennis Wylie is ControlLogix controllers product manager, Rockwell Automation. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer, mhoske(at)cfemedia.com.

ONLINE

www.a-b.com 

Read more from Control Engineering about the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix-XT (Extreme Environment) controller from Rockwell Automation below.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.