Category Archive: Automated Industrial Systems

Elements of Control Systems

Many modern industrial processes and equipment have significantly reduced their reliance on manual input. As more companies adopt automation within operations, production lines often incorporate advanced control systems.

A control system communicates the needs of the operator to the automated production equipment. As inputs get programmed, the control system facilitates the appropriate response from each device. The main function of the control system is to manage, control, monitor and regulate how the devices within its system respond to the received input to provide a controlled output.

Elements in a Control System

Elements of Control Systems

A variety of elements combine to form a control system. The primary components of a control system include:

Sensors

Many industries rely on sensors to measure or monitor certain aspects of processes. The sensor may obtain measurements such as pressure, weight, speed, stress, and more. Sensors may monitor whether a function completes an assigned task to provide a desired output, such as allowing another control system to operate in the next part of the production line. Sensors often provide vital warnings when a system is malfunctioning.

Flow Meters

Flow meters measure process fluids moving through pipes and systems and ensure that current conditioners do not exceed or fall short of their desired flow rates. These meters use various methods to measure factors such as the mass rate, linear/nonlinear rate, or volumetric rate of gases or liquids. The specific function depends on the type of meter used. The different types of meters include positive displacement, differential, and inferential meters.

Pressure Sensors

A pressure sensor converts pressure within a system into a readable analog signal. Numerous process applications and hydraulic and pneumatic systems rely on pressure sensors to monitor relative system pressure. Examples of pressure sensors include pressure switches that trip at a specific pressure point, or pressure transmitters that offer differential analog or absolute pressure readings across a broad range of measurement.

Temperature Detectors

Temperature detectors monitor the temperatures in the ambient environment, as well as in process fluids and materials. The control system may then quantify this data to perform a function, whether it involves moving a mechanical dial on a display, activating an alarm or notification, or more complex functions.

Feedback Controls

Feedback control systems are types of closed loop systems. In a closed loop system, the input may be at an undesired rate, volume, mass, temperature, or other factor. Rather than allowing an immediate output, an error signal tells the devices inside the control system to perform specific functions to bring the input to a preset level. The feed goes through the system repeatedly in a feedback loop until it reaches the correct level for output. The control system will only allow the input to proceed through the output when it reaches the specified level.

Design Concepts

There are numerous design concepts that guide the development of industrial process control systems. Best practices for the control system design process include:

  • Developing a thorough understanding of all goals for the system, including any variables that need to be controlled. Additionally, create a baseline set of specifications that you can use later to measure the performance of your control system.
  • Next, develop a model of the process and how it should function. This will allow you to establish the configuration of the four main elements of any control system, which include controllers, actuators, amplifiers, and feedback components.
  • Run simulations and analyze the performance of the control system. Continue to adjust and optimize the various parameters of your design and analyze performance until the control system meets your baseline specifications. Once these specifications have been met, you can finalize the design.
  • With a finalized design, you can move into the programming and software development phase for your control system.

Control Systems by Turner Integrated Systems

Turner Integrated Systems provides industrial process control system design, software development, and fabrication services for manufacturers and industrial companies. We offer supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and process control systems including flow meters, specialized sensor systems, analytical sensors, and remote access control systems. We offer simple control sensors for standalone equipment to highly advanced systems that may be linked to ERP systems or centralized analysis software.

For more information about control systems and how they can improve your production operation, please contact us today.

PLCs and SCADA Systems in the Wastewater Treatment Industry

From cooking and drinking to bathing and washing to product manufacturing to waste management, water plays a role in many of our day-to-day applications. Once it has served its role in these applications, it is not simply discarded. It is categorized as wastewater—also referred to as sewage—and sent to a wastewater treatment facility, where it is cleaned up for reuse. This water use cycle ensures we maintain a sustainable supply of safe water for the future.

The wastewater treatment process is highly complex, requiring accurate and precise measurement and control over various equipment (e.g., pumps, purifiers, and filters) and equipment parameters (e.g., pressure, flow, and filtration). By integrating measurement and control technologies into operations, wastewater facilities can ensure they achieve and maintain the proper process conditions for effective and efficient water and wastewater treatment. In recent years, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems have grown in popularity within the industry as facilities work to manage the increase in wastewater stemming from rising water use across the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.

Importance of PLCs in Wastewater Treatment

Programmable logical controllers (PLCs) are ruggedized digital computers often utilized for industrial process automation. They can be used to automate a single process or machine function or an entire system setup by stopping, starting, slowing, or speeding equipment operation in response to inputs from connected devices (e.g., control panels and sensors).

In the wastewater industry, these devices help ensure treatment operations proceed smoothly with little to no human operator involvement. Some of the equipment they are typically used to control include filtration and aeration units.PLCS & SCADA Systems

Compared to older automation technology (e.g., relays and timing mechanisms), PLCs have a number of advantages, such as:

  • Greater ease of use. PLCs require less time and resources to integrate as they can simply be reprogrammed to suit different process requirements and restrictions. In contrast, older automation technologies needed to be rewired to accommodate new specifications.
  • Better process reliability. PLCs automate equipment operation based on data provided by various sensors and input devices. This function ensures the process conditions remain appropriate at any given time.
  • Lower labor requirements. Automating wastewater treatment operations reduces the workload of human operators, freeing them up to focus on other important facility tasks.

Importance of SCADA Systems in Wastewater Treatment

PLCs are an essential component of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. SCADA systems consist of a collection of hardware and software components that collect, transmit, and distribute data across various devices within a network. The information can then be analyzed to determine whether any system adjustments are needed.

In the wastewater treatment industry, these systems are used to ensure the quality of the processed water. They provide graphical and numerical data about different process instruments and equipment and enable human operators to adjust operations accordingly in response to the provided information. These functions help ensure conditions during water treatment operations remain at effective and safe levels.

Some of the benefits of integrating SCADA systems in water and wastewater treatment facilities include:

  • Improved use of existing infrastructure and resources
  • Reduced risk of operator overload in situations where multiple system alarms may occur within a short period of time
  • Enhanced monitoring of remote and vulnerable sites
  • Decreased costs for utility companies and customers
  • Better oversight over systems and processes
  • Automated data collection and reporting operations

PLC and SCADA Solutions for the Wastewater Treatment Industry at Turner

PLCs and SCADA systems are key to improving water quality, increasing process efficiency, reducing labor costs, and more in wastewater treatment facilities. If you’re looking to integrate them into your facility, turn to the experts at Turner Integrated Systems.

We design, manufacture, and install control systems for a wide range of industries, including the wastewater treatment industry. Whether you need assistance with PLC programming and implementation, SCADA integration, hazardous areas design, or something else, we’ve got you covered. We will deliver an appropriate control solution and discuss how to properly use and maintain it to ensure it operates smoothly.

To learn more about our control system capabilities and how we can benefit your wastewater treatment facility, contact us today.

What is Industrial Automation?

 

What is Industrial Automation

Industrial automation uses computerized robotic control systems to facilitate the use of manufacturing equipment with minimal human intervention. Unlike manual industrial processes, automation does not require manual human operation of each mechanical aspect of the manufacturing process. 

Benefits of Industrial Automation

Automation has become the mainstay of industrial manufacturing due to its overwhelming cost efficiency and risk mitigation. Ongoing innovations and technological advancements have allowed manufacturers to upgrade their systems to increase product quality and overall productivity without the need for increased labor costs. 

Productivity

Industrial automation increases productivity, as the equipment can be programmed to run 24/7 at greater speeds than manually operated machinery. In addition, there is less worry about scheduling for holidays and weekends for an entire crew of employees. Production can continue apace without interruptions.

Quality

Since the parameters are programmed using computer software, there is less likelihood of costly mistakes due to human error. Automation further allows for more consistent and reliable product quality without the minute variations that commonly occur between workpieces in manual production.

Flexibility

Rather than having to adjust or install equipment for production shifts, automated systems can be configured to allow users to program changes with less manual intervention, facilitating faster and more reliable production adjustments.

Accuracy

Automated systems work in tandem with each part of the system, thereby reducing the risk of error between system components. In addition, computer software is pre-programmed for more accurate production.

Safety

Fewer workers will be needed on the line, and automated safety devices ensure that workers will spend less time in the vicinity of dangerous equipment as it operates. 

Disadvantages of Industrial Automation

The only real disadvantage of industrial automation is the initial investment. While upfront costs may seem intimidating, they are easily offset by the energy and labor savings, enhanced production, and reduced energy use and material waste.

Types of Industrial Automation Systems

Industrial automation is used in a wide variety of manufacturing and fabrication industries. A variety of automation systems have been developed to suit the needs of different applications.

Fixed or Hard Automation

Fixed automation, or hard automation, is used for the performance of a simple and repetitive task. This method is ideal for high-volume production with little variation, as modifications to fixed automation equipment can be expensive and time-consuming.

Programmable Automation

Programmable automation is ideal for batch production, as the automated equipment may be reprogrammed or changed out for each new design. The process requires manual adjustment of machinery between batches.

Flexible or Soft Automation

Flexible automation, or soft automation, uses computer software to direct manufacturing equipment. The equipment used in flexible automation allows for production adjustment without equipment changes.

Integrated Automation

Integrated automation takes from all of the above technologies and combines them into one manufacturing system that is capable of both large-scale and batch production through the use of a computerized control system and a variety of versatile machines. 

Industrial Automation Tools

Industrial automation relies on multiple internal tools. Below is a short list of the most common automation tools.

Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)

A PLC is an industrial computer control system used to manage automatic operations for pre-programmed manufacturing and industrial operations. This system constantly processes and analyzes information from sensors throughout the operation.

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)

A SCADA system uses sensors and PLC systems throughout the manufacturing process to acquire and record data and events for analysis to enhance and improve system operations.

Human Machine Interface (HMI)

An HMI or Human Machine Interface is the user interface that connects an operator to the controller for an industrial system. The interface consists of hardware and software that allow user inputs to be translated as signals for machines that, in turn, provide the required result to the user. An HMI offers a visual representation of the operation of the machine providing real-time data.

Distributed Control System (DCS)

The DCS is the network that monitors and connects all of the devices and interfaces within the automated system.

Industrial Control Systems with Turner Integrated Systems

At Turner Integrated Systems, we are pleased to provide the highest quality industrial control systems in the industry. For more information on our automated industrial systems, contact us today!