November 28, 2012

Friedrich electronic: It’s all in the mix

The choice of suitable dosing machines for blending applications can be determining for the product quality as well as the smooth operation of the process. Friedrich electronic are facing this challenge with their Flow Controller FC3.

In many companies of the worldwide bulk processing industries the possibilities of flow regulation at the silo discharge often remain underestimated. There are still manual sliders in operation, set to optimum dosing performance via markings. This may be quite useful with some of these applications. In other places, older types of volumetric dosing units are still in operation. However, before exchanging manual or older units or designing new plants, one should be aware of the huge possibilities modern systems can offer. 

The operation of volumetric dosing units may in some cases cause malfunctions or inaccuracies. It demands interventions of skilled personnel in case the bulk density changes. The same problem occurs, if the blending ratio is to be changed; the operator has to estimate the performance and to adjust the machines accordingly afterwards.
By installing a Friedrich electronic FC3 Flow Controller, the blending efficiency of most plants can be improved.

Blocking or running dry of the silos remain partly realised with an immense time delay, or they demand extremely sensitive notification systems in order to avoid that. An effective process monitoring including visualised material flows, which is today’s state-of-the-art, is unfortunately impossible in those cases.

For all that, especially in the bulk processing industries the accurate mixture of components e. g. cereals or legumes is most important, as it is determining for the quality and at least for the success of the product.

Although some of these shortcomings do not occur using volumetric dosing units, which offer more exact dosing compared to manual sliders, it remains volumetric. Therefore, effective process control including blocking and running dry prevention is not reached. Parameter adjustments have to be made manually, while remote control and proper process monitoring are still impossible.

A further alternative is the usage of dosing screws. In that case, process manipulation by means of remote controlling is possible, and the performance can be adjusted via rotation speed. Nevertheless, even this method is volumetric and holds the danger of inaccuracies, rarely bearing a relation to the high investments as well as installation and maintenance efforts. The general problem with blocking and running dry can also not be solved using a dosing screw without any additional sensor technology.

Having to cope with these kinds of problems with the production of blendings was decisive for the development of Flow Controller FC3 at Friedrich electronic.

The result is a dosing system developed on the basis of many years of experience, allowing for intelligent, accurate blending of various products. Moreover, it offers the possibility of exact performance adjustment and quantity balancing. 

The system is designed with a pneumatic flat slide at the inlet and a specially embedded baffle sensor, regulating the flow capacity in t/h according to the desired value and weighing the product in kg. Meanwhile, the process is monitored and constantly checked for malfunctions. If blockings or bridgings occur above the unit, the flat slide automatically opens up more widely until the problem is solved or - if the problem remains - individually triggers an alarm. Therefore, once the process control is programmed the monitoring and malfunction detection is greatly facilitated. The electric slide control also provides automatic and zero-taring as well as checking of plausibility regarding slide position and weighing signal.
Thanks to its low housing, the FC3 Flow Controller can be retrofitted in many production processes.

If necessary, the operation personnel may intervene quickly and effectively in the process via interface to make adjustments or to analyse the collected data. With these features a very high level of integration is reached, providing both maximum process safety and product quality - and offering valuable data on the process itself.

Thanks to its very low housing, most of the production processes can even be retrofitted with Flow Controller FC3 in order to increase the plant efficiency. The only precondition for a successful installation is a product reservoir of a free-flowing product above the machine. That is why in most cases the controller is installed directly underneath the silo discharges.

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