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August 1, 2000

3 Min Read

npe2.jpgController--Conair's System One is a plant-wide computer system that integrates blenders, dryers, silos and loaders, granulators, temperature control units and chillers into a single control and monitoring system. Users can supervise equipment and monitorperformance, capture quality data,view alarms, and set processing parameters from one or many locations.

The System One control can beconfigured to suit the needs of specific jobs by integrating various equipment modules:

The Silo Module monitors up to 48 silos, with functions that include digital level indication, and high-, low- and reorder-level alarms.

The Conveying Module is designed to control up to 200 loaders configured in 10 vacuum pump circuits. Individual loaders can be configured for eight different parameters including: full alarm, positive discharge valve, proofing, material alarm, regrind ratio valve, purge valve, pocket valve and regrind ratio calculation.

Vacuum pumps are monitored for faults and run-time. Existing Conair central materials conveying control systems can also be integrated into System One, with control allowed at the existing control panel or the System One operator interface terminal.

The Blender Module ties blenders into the system by a series of servers, with up to 16 blenders linked to each server. This module is designed to set up and download material blend recipes, read back operation data and alarms, log all material usage and generate shift/daily/weekly/monthly production reports.

The Drying Monitor Module connects up to 32 Conair Drying Monitors via each server, allowing setpoints and operating parameters to be downloaded. The temperature profile in each dryer can be displayed along with other actual running values and alarms. Shift/daily/weekly/monthly production reports can be generated. The system can also monitor individual dryers not equipped with the Conair Drying Monitor.

Granulator Module functions include monitoring of run/stop status, logging run times, and overload relay alarm. Up to 48 granulators can be monitored.

The Water and Downstream Extrusion Module allows downloading of setpoints and operating parameters to as many as 32 pieces of equipment per server, including chillers, temperature-control units, pullers, cutters and sizing tanks. It also allows the display and logging of actual running values, run times and alarms. Product reports per shift, per day, per week and per month can be generated.

These modules tie back to a central PC that can be networked to other computers that can be configured to allow full or partial control privileges, orfunction as a view-only monitoringstation, according to Conair's Chuck Humphries.

Wireless communication between computers means that a supervisor could take a laptop computer out onto the shop floor and maintain access to the System One control from anywhere in the plant. Even authorized users outside the plant (including the Conair technical service department) can dial in to monitor production or perform diagnostic scans. Comprehensive security features prevent unauthorized access to the system.

The communications protocols used are said to allow multiple pieces of equipment to communicate over the same cables. Humphries says the system is based on the following protocols: ModBus, Ethernet, TCP/IP, SPI, M-LAN and the DM1 Network.

Conair supplies all System One software, which comes pre-installed on a Dell Pentium III computer running the Windows NT operating system. Touch-screen operator interface panels are available, as are industrial PC cabinet configurations.

Pittsburgh, PA 

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