Process Control

Industrial Automation and Process Control.

This is a Digital Panel Meter based on ICL7107. This was the workhorse Digital Readout chip before Low power uC designs were developed. Even now it is the easiest way an analog parameter can be displayed in an instrument.

Instrumentation and Measurement Circuits

3-1/2 Display is just enough resolution for recording process data or troubleshooting equipment. With 4-1/2 you notice the problems of thermoelectric EMF of probes and connectors. That is one reason gold plating is used another being low contact resistance. In 4 1/2 the reading can change due to contact resistance too, if the input impedance of the analog signal conditioning is low or the protection diodes, RC filter caps are leaky.

ICL7107 DPM Digital Panel Meter

When you measure an analog parameter from a sensor; you attenuate or amplify it, to scale to the A/D converter range. You also need to protect or isolate the analog front end from high energy mis-connections, which will happen during field use. The operator should not get injured from any high energy leakage while measuring.

Resolution is the finest detail you can enumerate in a parameter or object. You can say the crowd was 3000 or 4000 people. Here 1000 is the resolution, finer data does not matter here. You would also hear things like, there were 80 to 90 boys in that classroom. 10 is the resolution there.

Accuracy is how precise a statement or number is. If there was 85 boys in that class, the above statement is accurate. If there was 65 boys, the measuring method or process needs calibration or examination.

In this circuit, the plastic caps should be of very low leakage. Multilayer plastic caps are good for instrumentation.

Below is a Electrical Control Panel, It has a Strip Chart Recorder which is electro-mechanical, It has a PLC Inside. A handheld PLC Programming unit. The computer is showing the Ladder Logic Program. PLC is based on a embedded uC. The DIN Controllers are Analog + Digital circuits. So you see it is a Electrical Control Panel with Electronics and the PLC Ladder Logic means, Software too.

Process Control Application Notes

This is a PID Controller based Control Panel using a PLC from GE Fanuc Automation. The Computer is a 386 40MHz with 40MB HDD.

PID Controller PLC

Electrical Control Panel Wiring

Control panes have many DIN Instruments like Indicators, Controllers and Recorders. They also have in the back end contacters, drives and circuit breakers with orderly wiring and cable management.

This is a way by which you can monitor the level of fluids like water in a tank. Based on data from the sensor you can control things like solenoids or motors as required or even turn on a buzzer, hooter or annunciator in a control panel. A simple Water Level Controller.

Description.

Look at the picture on the right, the float can be a Styrofoam type with a couple of ceramic magnets stuck inside. The float must move freely up and down a long plastic pipe of around 10 mm dia. If the fluid is not water but a solvent then design a non-soluble float or coat the float you made with something like an epoxy resin.

Water Level Controller

Then you need to assemble a small circuit within the long plastic pipe. Many reed relays with a chain of resistors in series has to be inserted in the pipe. The resistor and the glass reed relays should be in different levels of the pipe where you need an alarm or indication. Seal the pipe hermetically at both ends with epoxy resin after taking out a shielded cable of just 2 wires + 1 ground shield.

When the fluid level changes, the float moves up or down with it, when the float moves over a section of pipe where the reed relay is mounted, the magnets on the float make the reed operate and the resistance of the sensor changes.

The resistance is measured and the alarm can be operated as you like. The advantage of this arrangement is the electric circuit does not come in contact with the fluid, no sparking risk.

Reed Relay. It was invented by Dr. W. B. Ellwood at Bell Labs in 1936. Contacts are in a sealed glass tube filled with inert gas like in a bulb, so they do not corrode. It is faster than regular relays and as no spring is used it has a longer mechanical life. The two contacts are ferromagnetic blades plated with rhodium. When you take a magnet close by, the contacts touch each other. You can also put the reed in a coil, then when you energize the coil the reed operates. Used in telecommunication.OKI is one manufacturer of this type of component.

Design and Caution.

When you drive inductive loads you have to use RC snubbers, freewheeling diodes, varistors or zeners. when you drive lamps the cold current is high so use thermistors. The Reed relay is best used in telecom and instrumentation and avoided in power electronics. It can handle high RF frequency as the path of current is straight and footprint small.

Here is a Circuit to Build and Learn this Concepts – This can help make a Water level controller from sump to overhead tank. This can also be used in industrial fluid level control like oils and thick fluids. It may not work with highly viscous fluids or sticky mixes.

Fluid or Water Level with Reed Relays

“When you use the DMM or digital multimeter, try not to use it for high voltages and currents, use external shunts and attenuators instead. If you try to measure 230V AC in the Ohms mode or in the Current mode with the probe in the current socket then you will see fumes in your DMM and a hole in your pocket !!”

– Solderman Talks 1702

Group of individuals and firms supporting and helping the implementation of Modbus communication protocol suite and the evolution to address architectures for distributed automation systems.

Modbus Communication Protocol Suite

Some Activities of the Modbus Organization are …to Encourage, support and evolve …

  • Participation in standards activities worldwide.
  • Leading the evolution of the Modbus protocol and its variants.
  • Modbus across a broad spectrum of physical layers and transmission media.
  • Conformance testing program to insure greater interoperability of Modbus devices.

Some Facts –

Modbus Protocol is a messaging structure developed by Modicon (Schneider Electric) in 1979. It is used to establish master-slave/client-server communication between intelligent devices. It is a de facto standard, truly open and the most widely used network protocol in the industrial manufacturing environment.

The semiconductor industry has implemented a Network Communication Standard and an Object Messaging Protocol using Modbus TCP/IP. This allows SEMI Sensor Bus compatible sensors to communicate with each other using Modbus TCP/IP.

Modbus mMint

The mMINT (Modbus Master INCOM Network Translator) Module is an Eaton accessory product that will provide communication between a Modbus RTU network and an INCOM network.

The mMINT module is a slave device on the Modbus network and as such requires a master that will exchange register objects with the mMINT module. 32 products can be connected to INCOM network port (246 unique addresses maximum).

The circuit is a two stage sequential timer with auto reset. It can turn a Solenoid On/Off after a Sequence of delays that are preset. This is also a basic example of timer usage in automation.

Design Documents

Source Files Orcad Format

All Timers are 1 – 30 Secs Analog with Presets to adjust with a screwdriver. The Switch, Solenoids and Power supply has to be via terminal blocks or plug-jacks. The PCB may be upto six Square Inches for standard DIP components but with SMD it may be smaller.

Block Diagram :

Sequential Timer Specs

The PCB has to be tested to conform with the circuit, this has to be Meticulous. The Circuit is for the Battery and Solenoid Specified and will have to be modified if battery and solenoid are different. D1 to D4 can be replaced by a 300V 3A Bridge Rectifier Module. F1 fuse could be 2A – 3A Slow Blow depends on Solenoid inrush current. Presets can be with some graduations if possible for ease of adjustments. LED resistors can be a bit lower if more brightness is required.

The temperature in a pipe is monitored with four RTD Pt-100 Sensors, The type of probe could be Extruder RTD probes with Bayonet or Compression Fitting, Get it from Omega. To keep costs low you can choose small thin film RTD sensors, they will be fast but on rough usage may break.

Design Documents

Source Files Orcad Format

The time taken to measure the temperature at the 4 points will be less than 4 seconds. An optional display of the measured temperature as shown above can be avoided by using a DMM to adjust the setpoint.

The Analog Timer Module can be set from 0- 30 minutes. If out-a remains high even after set time a out-b alarm goes on to sound a buzzer and flash a LED light.

Block Diagram :


Four Channel Temperature Alarm

It all started with a email from a client like this ……….

“I am looking at an idea for a circuit design; The idea is to sense a temp of 130 degrees and then light an LED and start a timer delay. The delay would be 3 min, after the delay if the temp is still above 130 sound alarm.

With the LED I would like to drive a counter display to show how many times the temp was sensed. I would like powered by 120vac and a 9 volt battery backup for counter circuit. If you can assist please let me know.”

This is a prototype of a Preset Counter. It is built with ICM7217. The cabinet is ABS Plastic DIN 96-96. The Panel is Engraved on Acrylic.

I don’t remember for which application it was used. It has three thumbwheel settings, when the proximity switch counts upto the set-value, the corresponding relay turns ON, with a State Indicating LED on front panel.

Three Point Preset Counter

These can be configured sequentially or to work synchronously, this depends on what customer wants. Both modes may give the same result. In sequential operation, Some of these counters-timers may need to wait for an external trigger or feedback from a limit switch or another process like pressure alarm. Then more Input options may have to be provided.

Basic Electronic Digital Circuits

Counters, timers, analog-process and its interconnectivity makes up the various process loops or chain-reactions in Machine control. The various types of sensors for measurement and feedback of analog and event parameters, monitor the mechanical system and communicate the data to the process instruments.

The below circuit is a reference, i used the old intersil hot ideas book. There was no internet then. Databooks were valuable reference material. In the below timer circuit replace the clock with a schmitt trigger signal conditioning, it becomes a event counter or preset counter with thumbwheel input. See photograph above.

ICM7217 Timer and Counter

The Actuators like Drives, Solenoids, Pumps, Valves and Heaters act in accordance to the commands of the control system. This regulates and manages the process or machine to deliver consistent and repeatable yield of the end product.