Motan GmbH's redesigned Gravicolor gravimetric batch blenders are now equipped with Gravinet, the first of a new generation of controllers under the umbrella name of Controlnet.
Motan, in Konstanz, Germany, set out to achieve three goals with Controlnet: to develop a common control system for its dryers, blenders and central conveying systems; to overcome the limitations of local unit panels; and to have a central blower from which blenders and dryers can control conveying, eliminating the need for supplementary systems.
Motan market segment manager Peter Breuer spoke about the Contronet system in an interview at K 2004, held Oct. 20-27 in Dusseldorf.
Breuer said the Controlnet concept uses established computer protocols such as Ethernet, http:// and e-mail. Any part of an installation can be operated via so-called Web panels. These can be built into a Motan unit or located anywhere in the production facility - even via a personal digital assistant with a wireless Ethernet connection.
Using ``inter-process connection,'' when a loader needs a vacuum, it sends an e-mail to the central conveying system, putting the request into an internal queue. When the request comes to the top of the queue, the pump is activated, and an e-mail goes back to the loader telling it the pump is ready.
``In the past,'' he said, ``you needed a special program, digital I/Os for synchronization, and lots of cabling. Now you just need one network cable and you're done. You can build up huge systems in a very simple way.''
Gravinet supports one blender, up to seven material loaders and allows one blower station to be shared between several blenders.
Motan says Gravinet is no more expensive than its predecessor, easier to use and more powerful. It is also one-third the size of the old text-based controller and features a color display with touch-screen controls.
When the Controlnet roll-out is completed in the next few months, it will comprise Luxornet for drying, Metronet for conveying, Gravinet for blending and Pocketpanels for remote, wireless controls.