Scalability and flexibility are the new watchwords in industrial control technologies, as manufacturing and processing plants must be able to adapt almost instantly to changing market requirements. Movicon.NExT™ has been designed to ensure maximum scalability while offering an all-inclusive configuration environment through the selection of modular options that enable the easy development of bespoke solutions.
Modern manufacturing and processing operations have to be both scalable and flexible so that they can cope with ever-changing requirements. Typically production starts with a modest throughput and this is expected to increase as market demand grows. It is then quite likely that increasing numbers of product variations will be introduced and the plant will be expected to adapt seamlessly to varying demand for these.
If such an adaptable plant is to be built it is inevitable that its control system will have to be equally able to accommodate change. Historically control systems have been monolithic and relatively inflexible, but a new generation of SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) technology has emerged that achieves flexibility though modularity, and the latest iteration of this, Movicon.NExT™, according to its UK division provides the ultimate in flexibility and scalability.
For continuing long term success in a market, manufacturers must constantly improve their products through, for instance, new features, lower prices, quality enhancements, technical advances and increased reliability. To achieve this the production technology must constantly evolve, initially as a series of small predictable steps and then later a step change is needed to take the product to the next level. To achieve this, production technology providers must recognise that new challenges are arising and find the courage and originality to confront them in new and creative ways.
SCADA specialist Progea was founded and nurtured to always be at this emerging edge of new industrial control technologies. One of its innovations was to restructure SCADA and HMI (human-machine interface or visualisation) technologies into a modular format so that systems could be designed and constructed quickly. Similarly, they could easily be reconfigured as requirements changed.
Its latest automation platform Movicon.NExT™ is engineered to overcome the restrictions of conventional SCADA/HMI technology by using next-generation native-based software solutions incorporating the most advanced technology. This creates solid foundations for long term investments, as its inherent flexibility coupled with openness allows easy expansion and reconfiguration without having to scrap existing systems.
Movicon.NExT™ is based on .NET code which provides a plug-in framework for systems design and offers an all-in-one modular and flexible work environment for systems development. The industrial software feature applications are distributed around the system as required and thus optimise field communication, data collection, HMI interface graphics and supervision. Further Movicon.NExT™ uses its computing power to provide datalogging, analysis, efficiency monitoring, business productivity calculations, maintenance management, alarm handing, safety and much more.
Key features of Movicon.NExT™ include: scalability for cost effective and straightforward systems extension; openness which ensures interoperability between systems and the use of best-in-class software such as XAM, WPF, MS SQL Server, Azure for cloud applications, XML, VB.NET and OPC UA; security through user authentication and third party security modules, and web connectivity. Movicon.NExT™ guarantees maximum native connectivity to any device or application module and thus provides new levels of fast communication, real-time data management and graphics optimisation.
Coupled with this performance level, Movicon.NExT™’s developers have created wizards, templates, symbol libraries and toolboxes to make programming and installation as easy and intuitive as possible. All of this means Movicon.NExT™ is fully able to implement control systems for Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications.
User friendliness has been built into Movicon.NExT™ at every level. For instance it is able to support the latest in 2D and 3D graphics so that screen displays can include realistic images, clear schematics and well presented data. It ability to collect, store and analyse data then produce clear, concise and accurate reports means Movicon.NExT™ offers the best possible level of industrial process control, while its modularity allows users to control the cost of ownership in both the short- and long term.
Filtration system launches with titanium membrane
Titanium filtration membranes that extract maximum solids with minimal cleaning have
been launched commercially in South Australia.
The robust nature of the super-strong titanium also means they are unaffected by salt or
chemicals such as chlorine and can be adjusted to screen out specific materials.
Adelaide-basedAdvanced Material Solutions (AMS) began commissioning its first
commercial units last month and plans to ramp up its workforce from 26 to more than 200 to
cater for burgeoning global demand.
Managing Director Gilbert Erskine said the titanium membranes, which can extract
solids up to 80 per cent, were so strong that they could run 24-hours a day for a week.
Polymeric (plastic) or ceramic filters, which have extraction limits of around 10 per cent,
could spend 30 per cent of their time in cleaning modes, which often included chemicals.
He said his Viti-flow membrane could be easily cleaned in minutes with steam or hot
water up to 90C.
“We have the ability to change that micron and that comes down to the strength of the
titanium because as you go up in pore size you are traditionally weakening the support
structure but titanium can withstand it,” Erskine said.
“There are people claiming to make titanium membranes but there is no one else in the
world that we know of producing small pore titanium membranes in commercial quantities.”
The systems are initially being aimed at the wine industry, where they have shown the
potential to increase production by more than 7 per cent.
However, a commercial system has already been installed at a meatworks in Victoria
where the filters removed fats, oils, grease, blood cells and reduced e coli levels from 240,000
down to less than 20 parts per 100ml.
Testing has also been done at large scale breweries and inquiries have been received
from a wastewater company in Canada.
“We can remove anything that is not in solution – all the particles, bacteria and viruses,”
“Titanium is not affected by chlorine whatsoever so we see desalination as a huge
opportunity for us before the water goes through reverse osmosis.
“We are also talking with people about ballast water, which is a big problem globally,
there is an opportunity to put filters in to handle that ballast water and being titanium it will
last the life of the ship.
“We also see opportunities in defence with the submarines and frigates and it is also
very good for filtering oils.”
The systems are scalable with the bigger units installed at major Australian wineries so
far featuring four sets of membranes capable of filtering 35,000-40,000 litres an hour. They
produce clean filtrate at less than 1NTU and solids of up to 80 per cent.
Based at Lonsdale in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, AMS Filtration has been in business
since 1985 and has had a long affiliation with the wine, food and beverages, pharmaceutical
and wastewater industries.
It started out making stainless steel fittings, heat exchangers and refrigeration plants for
wineries before experimenting with polymeric, ceramic and stainless steel filter membranes.
The stainless steel filters were the most effective but also the most expensive and they
were eventually set up in Indonesia to service the palm oil industry, where they proved more
After many years of experimentation and collaboration with Australian universities,
AMS Filtration developed the titanium membranes, which it has been secretly trialling with
industry partners for the past few years.
“It’s been a 30-year journey but it is very difficult to do, titanium itself is very difficult
to work with and it’s taken us a long time and many mistakes,” Erskine said.
“Titanium is very expensive – it’s much more expensive than stainless steel but due to
its properties we’ve been able to make it much, much thinner and make the capillary size
much smaller than traditional stainless steel so we’ve reduced the weight of the membrane
and just by reducing that weight it compensates for the high cost raw material.
“We wanted to focus on wineries first because we have a history in the wine industry
but as other opportunities have come up we’ve taken them.”
AMS Filtration exhibited at the 2018 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in California
in January and took orders from American wineries without them even seeing the filters in
action. Erskine will return to the United States next month to follow up with major wineries
that made inquiries at the symposium – the largest wine show of its kind in the Americas.
Erskine said he was confident his titanium membrane filters would eventually be sold
across the world.
“We’ve put a salesman in New Zealand and we intend on having a sales force globally
so we’ll open offices in South America, North America, Europe and we will definitely have
these filters right around the world.
“We are a tiny little company so we are trying to hammer along as fast as we can go but
as we get a little bit stronger we will increase our capacity and we’ll just keep doing that to
whatever size we need to be.”
“The sky is the limit, the filtration market is absolutely enormous and even if we ended
up with a very small percentage of that you’d be talking hundreds of employees.”
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