?A new expandable CANbus-based control system for vacuum loaders uses a single cable to connect a vacuum pump with discretely controlled receivers, and easily accommodates the control of additional receivers. Developed by Novatec Inc. (Baltimore, MD), the new FlexBus CANbus control system incorporates a pump control, on-board controls for all receivers in the system, CANbus cabling, T connectors for each receiver wiring junction along the cable, and a handheld pendant that provides advanced control functions for the pump and receivers.
“The FB [FlexBus] network simplifies the installation, operation, and expansion of a vacuum loading system, saving time and plant space and providing greater versatility than complex, wiring-intensive conventional systems,” says Chuck Morgan, Novatec’s resin handling business director. “Because the network instantly recognizes and communicates with each added receiver, and because connections typically are plug-and-play, a processor can make an initial investment with the assurance that, down the road, the system can easily be modified or enlarged.”
Morgan says the FB system can be expanded to include dozens of pumps, receivers, and other devices, depending on factors such as pump and receiver sizes and throughput requirements.
“Particularly for larger systems, we recommend that customers consult with Novatec about the selection, arrangement, and installation of all devices in an FB system,” he says.
The FB system calls for vacuum power from each receiver on a first-come, first-served basis. System components include the following:
• Pump control: This component provides the power for the entire network and includes a pump overload alarm to help extend pump life and system performance.
• Receiver control: Available as a built-in part of the company’s new GlassVu Series receivers, or as a fully enclosed on-board component on other receiver types, the control requires no special instructions for making and changing on/off and load-time settings. It also incorporates a no-load alarm, and is fitted with a CANbus connector for plugging it into a communications network.
• Optional pendant: This handheld device plugs into the receiver control and provides an advanced level of control over the purging, proportioning, monitoring, and changing of loading functions. Changes to a receiver control made with the pendant are stored in that receiver, so the pendant can be used with multiple receivers. It also can plug into the pump control to make changes in vacuum breaker timing.
• CANbus cable: For plug-and-play capability, you can order sets of cabling in specific lengths, along with T connectors. Also, cables can be purchased in bulk, cut to length during installation, and field-wired in special terminal boxes connected to the receivers with drop cables.
Introduced by Novatec last year, the GlassVu materials handling system includes cylindrical loaders, receivers, and machine-mountable hoppers, all of which have large wrap-around glass midsections that provide a clear view of the filling process to ensure proper operation and to ease setups.
The loaders and receivers have slanted lids to optimize access to their interiors without disturbing materials or vacuum lines. And they have flat bottoms that provide large openings for resin evacuation. They incorporate slanted bottom panels inside the loaders and receivers that are pneumatically opened and closed to function as slide gate valves for efficient discharge.
GlassVu loaders and receivers are modular in construction; are built with tough, nonferrous metals; and they also feature tough, 5-mm-thick borosilicate glass sections.