The PLC (programmable logic controller) is the device responsible for controlling furnace processes. A PLC has complex data acquisition systems, remote access and event alert capabilities.
Learn more about PLCs, their advantages and their importance in furnace combustion processes.
There are three different classes of control devices for combustion systems. Here, we will talk a little about each one.
1. PACs (programmable automation controllers)
- This involves the most complex control technology and so PACs have not yet been widely adopted by industry
- They have a significant processing capacity and are highly customizable
- The disadvantage is that PACs require a specialist to perform programming and also analysis of problems
2. PLCs (programmable logic controllers)
- Easy to maintain
- Great processing capacity and ease of programming, unlike PACs
- Different models for all needs, given that a mid-range PLC can control from 8 to 15 control loops and a single high-end PLC up to hundreds of them
- Easily programmable, so they are ideal for a technical team with basic programming knowledge
3. Dedicated controllers
- These have a very limited capacity, since they can only control from one to three temperature loops
- They do not need very complex programming: one just has to configure a few simple operating parameters
The PLC works hand in hand with combustion systems, executing programmed commands and controlling process variables.
Previously they had to be programmed by an IT specialist to link with the operating systems, but now PLCs have pre-programmed sequences, cards and platforms that facilitate the interpretation of information for technical staff.
They have a high level of connectivity, allowing operators to observe what is happening and to subsequently make adjustments from a mobile application without the need of additional platforms.
This technology provides numerous benefits for furnace operation, such as:
- Greater control over furnace temperature: not all PLCs are able to provide good temperature uniformity and at Nutec Bickley we are experts in the selection of equipment, driver card and control algorithm tailored to obtaining the required levels of temperature uniformity.
- Sending notifications to the operator: when a problem occurs, the system sends alerts to the responsible person to take preventive action.
- Providing information to avoid safety problems and explosion risk: safety PLCs send the equipment to a ‘safe state’ in case of failure, so that if there is an energy outage the equipment will not restart abruptly or perform any action that is a danger to personnel or production.
- Compliance with NFPA 86 industrial furnace safety standards: we are experts in combustion and safety standards, so we help our customers select the most suitable equipment based on their needs.
- Allowing the operator to automatically initiate the operational sequence with a single button.
- It is a technology with great connectivity features and capabilities that increase over time.
At Nutec Bickley we are industrial furnace manufacturers and experts in the safety, processes and programming of combustion systems. Contact our advisors to learn more about how we can help with your project.
Author: Ernesto Pérez