Our major projects have a common element: dPCs Concept.
Krones AG designs and manufactures bottling lines, used in all kind beverage and food production. Food and beverage preparation and handling conditions are very strict. In this particular case we speak mainly about beer production and bottling, but also tomato ketchup and other similar products undergo the same process.
A beer bottling line can produce over 100,000 bottles or cans per hour. The production line has a bottling machine, a Pasteurizer Tunnel, a labelling machine and packaging machinery, plus all the required conveyor belts. We’re speaking about important projects with costs between 20 and 50 million euros.
Sander Hansen A / S is manufacturer of Pasteurizer Tunnels for beer and other foods products. In 1988, ER-Soft was invited by Sander Hansen A/S to propose a better control technology to the at that time actual pasteurizer process control. ER-Soft quickly identified that current pasteurizer process control was poor in sense of intelligence, which was in strong contrast to the expensive process equipment and machinery installed in the pasteurization process. Other important factors as Environmental Care have become very important factors, so Energy and Water consumption in the process must be reduced to an absolute minimum.
A new engineer, responsible for the department of the electrical and process control systems in Sander Hansen A/S, quickly recognized that there really was “a lack of intelligence" in the technology used by manufacturers of pasteurization tunnels. The main objective started to focus on the theory of pasteurisation and creation of mathematical models of the process. The objective was to implement a control system that could control the temperatures in the pasteurization so that all products achieve the same desired level of pasteurization, some 12 to 15 PUs (Pasteur Units) in the pasteurization process. The secondary objective was to achieve this with minimal consumption of resources as energy and water.
It was a big challenge for Sander Hansen A/S, but it had to be tested. More engineers were emploied and the matematical modelling work started. The job was to model the product in its environment (in its bottle or can passing the different Temperu Zones in the Pasteurizer Tunnel). Determination of characteristic parameters as transmission of heat and PU absorbtion for different products and bottles and cans was part of the job.
The mathematical model has as objective to obtain the total PU absorbtion in the products at the downstream conveyor, but also it should predict the PU absorbtion for any the products inside the tunnel while they reach the downstream conveyor. The predicted PU absorbtion values were fed into the pasteurizer tunnel’s zone temperature control in order to obtain the optimal temperature profile in the pasteurizer tunnel. PU absorbtion is very progressive with the temperature raise and merely proportional with the time of the applied temperature. Due to the application of Digital tecnology, the choosen matematical model was based the Finite Element methodology.
The challenge for ER-Soft was mainly to offer the Process Control solution (Hardware and Software) that could cope with the huge amount of numerical calculations in real-time, required by the Digital Process Control model. PLC’s on 1988 could not perform calculations in the required order of magnitude. For that reason, we decided to use computer technology with Intel microprocessor 80x286 (the most powerful at this moment).
ER-Soft’s Software work started at this moment with the definition of a software environment (middle-ware) flexible, robust and capable to solve all the problems:
dPCs provided the requirements.
Customers very interested in the new technology and ready to make real-world and full-scale tests were Heineken and Carlsberg.
Over the years, more than 200 bottling lines in factories around the world have been equipped with the Sander Hansen technology using the described model and dPCs.
Krones AG is one of the major players in bottling lines, and needed very much upgrade their Tunnel Pasteurizer thecnology in order cope with the market demands. In 1999, Krones AG bought Sander Hansen A/S.
This change also initiated a needed technolgy change. The applied 16-bit technology in both Hardware and Software had to be replaced with 32-bit technology in both the applied Hardware and Software systems.
The 32-bit dPCs was designed, of course with Hard-Real-Time performance as requirement. Some of the dPCs subsystems were redesigned so they were enabled and prepared for possible future requirements for several multiple data communication channels in parallel. This is one of the really powerful sides of dPCs, it’s strong data communication capabilities that generally go far beyond many PLC and DCS systems, and at very competitive a costlevel.
The main platform defined by Krones was WinAC, the Siemens SoftPLC. The Siemens S7 PLCs supports only the standard Siemens supportes Fieldbus and Data Communication Networks. The dPCs concept supports several more data communication protocols than WinAC, so in several occations WinAC and dPCs were installed in parallel. The result was an integration between dPCs and WinAC using WinAC ODK (Open Development Kit). dPCs is open in design and requires no software kit.
Design and construction of a new pasteurizer. We started to work with KHS Inc. In order to design and implement a system of total control using dPCs on RTX on a PC with Windows XP and RTX from (Venturcom, Ardence, IntervalZero).
All data communication had to be based on Ethernet/IP (Rockwell Automation and ODVA standard), as specified by the final customers.
In the KHS Inc. Pasteurizer Control System, the dPCs PC works as a Total Controller. The dPCs is Fieldbus Master/Scanner on the applied Ethernet/IP fieldbus. The dPCsIo Fieldbus Master/Scanner (Ethernet/IP I/O) communicates with Inputs and Outputs on the distributed FlexIO modules. Devices such as PowerFlex and PanelView are also connected. Process data is communicated with other ControlLogix controllers on the plant, so the dPCs concept plays the role of a Controllogix in sense of Traditional PLC Control and Data Communication using Ethernet/IP, and apart from that it executes the complex Pasterizer Control System based on the Finite Element method implementation.
This system concept is currently used in several installations at the Anheuser & Busch (Budweiser plants), and at the MBC (Millers Brewing Company) plants, and also at the SAB (South African Breweries) in Durban, South Africa.
Advanced Ship Control System for Autopilot and Ship Maneuvering Coordinator.
ER-Soft has been involved in the development of the Autopilot and Nanuevre- Coordinators Concept for ships, designed and manufactured by EMRI A/S.
These ship control systems are based on dPCs in redundant architectures, an exclusive design by ER-Soft.
These advanced ship control systems are currently installed in ferries and basically all luxury cruise ships as Walt Disney, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise lines sailing out from Miami, Florida.
1989 Emri formed part of an invesitgation committee about a ship collision. EMRI needed for its Investigation Simulation a Modular Analog Computer to perform a simulation of the ship movements during a certain period of time.
Data from the ship itself and meteorological data were fed into the model in order to calculate the exact trayectory of the ship.
The dPCs concept from ER-Soft was chosen as an economic alternative to other systems. Modular Analog Computers are very expensive. The dPCs concept is a Digital Concept, but with the Modular Caracteristics as in an Modular Analog Computer, and performing very well enough.
The result came out so well that dPCs later became the core system of the EMRI Advanced Ship Control System for Autopilot and Ship Maneuvering Coordinator.
The responsible Maintenance Engineer: ”I had to make a decision soon about the new control system. We have used the ER-Soft dPCs of 16-bit since 1991 and I have to admit that it is the best system I know"
The decision to use 32-bit dPCs RTX was taken again in January 2008.