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Batch control can be implemented, with relatively little expense, at any manufacturing plant that needs to measure and control fluids during a process. By installing a flow meter with basic onboard intelligence, a process manager can achieve very accurate recipe automation.

This intelligence should include, at the very least - volumetric flow capability; programmable outputs and robust wetted materials. The most economical and time saving option would be to install an electromagnetic flow meter with on-board programmable relays. Electromagnetic flow meters, otherwise known as magflows, are very accurate. They can be installed on most standard pipe sizes and pipe materials and they measure a multitude of conductive fluids, which is normally the case in most fluid recipe processes. The programmable relays on Arkon MAGX2 magflows can be set to trigger (open/close) at predetermined volume measurements. So as the process starts, the flow meter’s counter will monitor the amount of liquid passing through the pipeline and once the preprogrammed value is reached the relays will change state. These relays can be used to control many different types of peripheral apparatus. In the most common instances they would be used to open and close a solenoid valve and start or stop a pump (Special Note: Magflows are generally more suited to long cycle batching processes). They could also be used to trigger audible or visual indicators for local display viewed by machine operators. In larger plants relays or analogue 4-20mA outputs would be wired into the PLC for process system monitoring and control purposes, where more complex automation and PID control is then available to plant managers.

By investing in a “modular” magflow solution a smaller plant can purchase and install basic instruments capable of entry level process automation, with the option to upgrade the magflow meter as their requirement evolve. Starting with a magflow complete with programmable relays only, will be more than adequate for localized/isolated automation such as valve and or pump control. Later upgrading by adding a 4-20mA output will then enable a magflow reading to be continuously monitored and it’s relays controlled by a PLC and SCADA system (Side Note: Utilizing a magflow meter with integral programmable relays will reduce the processing load on the PLC since the processing of relay activation is done on-board the flow meter). Finally, replacing the 4-20mA output module with an EtherNet TCP/IP communication module will allow for the same monitoring and control of the flow meter as 4-20mA’s does, with the added benefit of a universal communication protocol and far less wiring requirements. This can radically reduce the cost of plant expansion projects. TCP/IP can also be easily transmitted within a plant via Wi-Fi which further reduces installation and commissioning costs.

Therefore the automation of a batching process in a plant of any size can begin small, simplistic and within budget, then grow organically as the business realizes it’s ROI in real Rand’s and Cents over time.

The concept of the Arkon MagX2 is simplicity. The basic MagX2 consisting of a mother board and power supply with an integral programming keypad and a local backlit display. The options are then added accordingly to suit the particular process requirements, which really means, you only pay for the particular functionality you need. A “plug and play” module, the size of a postage stamp, is fitted to the mother board for each particular function required.

For example, output options include 4-20mA or Frequency&Pulse module which includes 4 programmable relays. Plug in communication modules include Bluetooth, RS-232, RS-485, USB, GPRS or Ethernet TCP/IP communications. The unit comes standard with a MicroSD card slot and real time clock which is great for Data Logging. The meters are available with universal power supplies and a choice of lining and electrode materials to suit most applications.

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