A new control for material conveying systems can easily be expanded to include additional receivers, pumps, and purge valves, yet requires zero additional training. Called FlexMaster by its developer, Novatec Inc. (Baltimore, MD), it also can be remotely monitored and controlled from anywhere in the world through an Ethernet connection, according to Chuck Morgan, Novatec’s resin handling business director. “When programmed to do so, FlexMaster can even automatically e-mail system alarms to any e-mail account on a PC, Blackberry, or smartphone.”
In a basic system configuration, the wall-mounted FlexMaster control is hard-wired to as many as five vacuum pumps, 32 material receivers, and 25 purge valves. System expansion involves the connection of special FlexXpand modules to the FlexMaster via Novatec’s NovaNet communications cable. Up to 88 receivers, 15 pumps, and 64 additional purge valves can be accommodated.
The PLC-driven FlexMaster color touch-screen displays all conveying functions as interactive icons with descriptive text and alarm messages. Parameter changes can be made with assignable levels of security via input screens that deliver instantaneous command confirmations. And a FlexMaster can exchange information with up to nearly two dozen FlexXpand modules, which also can be wall-mounted.