Smart solutions help keep waste digestion under control
Eaton is now the exclusive supplier of all key automation components used by Advetec.
Integrating Eaton solutions has allowed Advetec to devise control systems that are fast to build, intuitive in operation and easy to maintain, with spare parts readily available in every part of the world.
Advetec’s thermal digesters make use of bio-stimulation, a method of invigorating and stimulating thermophilic and extremophilic bacteria so that they digest organic waste. So efficient is this process that the company’s compact containerised digesters can process over 30 tonnes of waste in just 72 hours. The volume of the waste is reduced by 96%, eliminating the need to send material to landfill. The only end products of the digestion process are clean water and a tiny amount of sterile residue.
As they offer such an effective way of dealing with organic waste of all types, Advetec digesters are finding a ready market all over the world. They are usually installed in tough working environments and used by operators with skills more closely focused on the physical handling of bulk waste than the operation of sophisticated control systems. Furthermore, they are often required to operate 24 hours a day.
This combination of factors posed multiple challenges. An easy-to-use intuitive operator interface was essential, and if a problem occurred, it should be possible to diagnose and rectify it easily and quickly, ideally without the need for an engineer to visit the site. Finally, it was crucial that spare parts should be locally available irrespective of the location of the machine.
The engineers were impressed with Eaton’s SmartWire-DT lean panel wiring system. The SmartWire-DT allows all of the major components within the control panel to be linked with standardised plug-in cables instead of ordinary panel wiring.
SmartWire-DT can also be extended outside the control panel so that machine-mounted sensors, which are most likely to suffer damage, become plug-in devices. It also makes detailed diagnostics possible, as it allows easy access to detailed information about the status and condition of the connected devices. Additionally, if any of the devices connected by SmartWire-DT are replaced, the system automatically reconfigures itself so that the new device is correctly addressed.
With these benefits in mind, the Advetec engineers decided to base the design of their new control system on Eaton automation solutions and SmartWire-DT. They also decided to use Eaton’s XV-152 touch-screen operator interface panel, which has integrated programmable controller (PLC) functionality.
This robust device, which has a high ingress protection rating and a tough damage-resistant screen, allowed the Advetec engineers to develop a very easy-to-use operator interface based on colour graphics, while at the same time permitting a flexible scheme of control that can easily be updated. The interface panel also allows users who are in possession of the appropriate security passwords to access the machine’s comprehensive diagnostic system.
Advetec has now used Eaton automation solutions in its two most recent machines and are planning to integrate it in all future machines. The company has found that SmartWire-DT simplifies the design, building, testing and commissioning of the control system, as well as allowing the size of the control panel to be reduced making it easier to accommodate.
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