The interface between man and machine often provides potential for optimization in automated production. In particular increases in efficiency in the operation of plant contribute to improved production results overall.
Technical filtration solutions in mechanical engineering for mechanical processing technologies for continuous processes and batch production cover a very wide range of applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical, food and environmental fields. All the machines and equipment used in these processes are characterized by their high performance and robust construction. Visualization solutions with quick response times permit these complex machines to be further optimized and production processes can be accelerated.
In the application under consideration in the chemical industry, the existing control units of the centrifuge have been adapted to state of the art technology in order to increase the speed of the system. The safety technology provider BARTEC replaced the old panel on site with the modern 12.1" widescreen touch panel of the POLARIS Professional series, suitable for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. Indeed, modernization of the centrifuge control was absolutely necessary: centrifuges used in the chemical industry are part of a highly flexible production system and are constantly being configured for the preparation of different formulations. But the far too long response times when entering new commands impeded the operator in his work and slowed production down. Here the main problem was in the serial processing of the input panel: data collection, control, processing using the keypad and image display were performed in a sequence of steps. The reaction times corresponded to serial logic and so set very narrow limits on speeding up the production process in the sense that they hindered more efficient interaction between man and machine.
A more convenient and faster system for operation was necessary but without changing the existing plant, and it had to be suitable for use in potentially explosive areas, since the materials processed in the centrifuge contain solvents. For this reason the customer was looking for an option to upgrade his existing plant without high engineering costs. As a specialist in industrial safety technology for use in potentially explosive areas, BARTEC had the right solution and offered the added benefit of flexibility. The existing BAT VGA pro-Panel was replaced with a modern 12.1" widescreen touch panel from the POLARIS Professional series which was able to be integrated without major outlay in time and effort into the existing plant. Since the installation dimensions were identical, no mechanical changes were necessary. Also, the existing visualization images could be adopted and reused after modification.
In the POLARIS Touch Panel with Ethernet interface, communication, imaging and processing using the keypad work in parallel. As soon as the next log retrieval takes place, all parameters are already updated. The communication processes run in the background using a Modbus/TCP protocol, new entries are entered and integrated directly. To put it briefly, the recorded comparisons demonstrate that the previous response time of one second is now a thing of the past after the equipment has been converted. The appropriate response is immediate. This means that all commands are executed almost immediately after entering and the objective of near real-time operation under hazardous conditions has become tangible.
All POLARIS series panels are certified to ATEX, IECEx, InMetro and Gost R for worldwide use in potentially explosive gas and dust areas and are supplied as a standard unit or modified according to customers' wishes. Equipped with Windows XP Professional ready installed, besides the remote desktop connection via Ethernet, the use of BARTEC's proprietary software BMS Graf Pro 7 is also possible. In the present application, the decision was made to use BARTEC's own solution, in particular in order to be able to continue using visualization projects from the previous equipment with very little engineering work. The project transfer can be done using both FTP protocol over Ethernet and using the BARTEC USB stick. In addition, BMS Graf Pro Runtime 7 has many other advantages, for example, the integrated user administration. Multiple user profiles with their respective access and task-related rights can be configured directly via the touch panel. These include individual masks and entire process levels or input fields. This speeds up each operator's access enormously and practically excludes operating errors since each user can only access his own areas of operation. Within these, he knows his way around and time-consuming clicking through many levels is eliminated. In addition to the positive change towards more security in use, the process documentation has improved, too: by means of the operating logs, BMS Graf Pro Runtime 7 provides a log of all actions such as refills, the start and end of an action and the operators' input, independent of events.
The 12.1" display with LED backlighting has true-colour capability so that as many colours as desired can be displayed. In addition, the device has a resolution of 1280x800 pixels at a maximum brightness of 400cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 1200:1. All data are transmitted to the control system or retrieved from there via Modbus/TCP. This connection is provided by a standard built-in Ethernet interface. To sum up, the operating staff is working on a visually quick and easy to understand screen, which is comfortable and secure to use because of the touch function.