Annual Certification and Calibration Testing

This month saw successful annual MOTs (certification and calibration) for the Mobile Dosing Trailers (MDT) for Leicester, Longbridge and Shelton areas. They support our clients with emergency dosing following pipe bursts and general localised pipe modifications to critical supplies.

MCS & Weetabix Food Company – Efficiency Drive

Accurate end-product sizing, lower maintenance costs, quieter operation and reduced energy bills are the results of replacing DC drives and motors with their AC equivalent across two extruder lines used in the production of the breakfast cereal, Weetos.

Product is fed into a hopper and is measured into the extruder screw. The extruder mixer transfers the product forward through the barrel under a controlled temperature and pressure through a faceplate. From here it is extruded into a long hollow tube before being cut into short lengths prior to cooking. There are two types of extruders, named as BC92 and BC72. Extruder BC92 uses two motors rated at 250 kW and 132 kW respectively while BC72 consists of four, 64 kW and two, 90 kW motors. A speed signal from the system’s PLC to the motors, synchronises the extrusions with the rotating cutter.

As part of The Weetabix Food Company’s ongoing improvements program in partnership with system integrator MCS Control Systems Ltd, energy and productivity reviews are undertaken on various aspects of the electrical, mechanical, control and automation systems throughout the year. It was during one such review that MCS Control Systems suggested inviting its variable-speed drive partner, Sentridge Controls, to carrying out an energy appraisal.

Whilst looking at all applications from vacuum packing to air compressors, an area of high energy use was the extruders. Up to 30 percent of the site’s energy consumption is taken up by the extruders. Portable energy loggers were installed to the incoming supply to monitor and measure kW, kVA, kVAr, power factor, current and voltage.

As a result, eight ABB industrial drives, five ABB general purpose drives and low voltage ABB motors, rated from 0.75 kW to 250 kW were installed during a two week phase, part of which was the plant’s shutdown period. The equipment was selected as the incumbent drives supplier is not able to offer a drives and motors matched pair.

Following the installation, further measurements were taken and a 20 percent drop in energy consumption was observed. The results showed that by changing to AC drives, Weetabix has saved some £28,000 per year, with a payback within three years.

From an engineering perspective Weetabix have eliminated maintenance on the drive train, as there are no carbon brushes to replace, no forced cooling, and feedback devices are eliminated as the gearboxes are protected by implementing a torque limit control on the AC drive. It is estimated that engineering maintenance cost and plant downtime are reduced amounting to nearly £20,000 per year. This provides an overall estimated cost saving of £48,000 per year.

Apart from energy savings, there were other benefits as Dave Chapman, MCS Control Systems’ site engineer describes: “The new AC drive technology brings greater torque control and speed accuracy, thanks primarily to the motor control platform, direct torque control (DTC). Unlike DC drive technology which needed a tachometer feedback arrangement to maintain accuracy, using DTC, no encoder feedback is needed, which reduces complexity and cost; yet we are able to get a far better control of the process resulting in a constant extrusion rate.”

“The benefit of the repeatability function,” explains Allan Norman, Manufacturing Manager at Weetabix’s extruded line, “is that the end-product – the Weetos – are produced with consistent length, thickness of the tube and density. DC drive technology is subject to surging which affects the product output. Because the speed and torque control are now so accurate, the rotating knife that cuts the extruded wheat, can do so in a more uniform manner. This means that the cooking time of the end-product is optimised; there is minimal temperature fluctuation which further saves energy.”

Using the old DC drive technology, installed in 1980, lead to carbon brushes being replaced every two-and-a-half weeks, with total reconditioning taking place every 18 months. Meanwhile a by-product of the AC motors is that the noise and heat levels have fallen.

Working in the area of the DC drive train would require ear defenders, with noise levels as high as 130 dBA, yet now the levels are within the regulation 80 dBA.

“A key factor in our choice of drive and motor controls remains the engineering skills of the people involved,” says Allan Norman. “MCS Control Systems and its drive partner, Sentridge Controls, have excellent engineers, that know what they are looking for and offer sound and timely advice. They provide the same team and are prepared to tackle and explore any new engineering avenues that might benefit our production. The overall installation was supplied with guaranteed cost savings- or money back to the difference. This probably accounts for the fact that, following installation, we started the extruders on Sunday evening and they ran without a hitch until turned off on Friday night.”

Weetabix Golf Day for Comic Relief

MCS Control Systems were pleased to attend and help with sponsoring the event held at Priors Hall Golf Course in aid of Comic Relief. Dave Chapman and Simon Speed attended the event and the fantastic weather was only spoiled by Simon’s poor golfing performance. Well done to the Weetabix teams and staff who helped raise over £1,200.00 from the event.

Receiving the Enrolled Partner plaque from ICONICS

In recognition of their commitment to creating and delivering innovative customer solutions / services based on ICONICS technologies, MCS Control Systems Ltd have now become an Enrolled Partner for their range of visualisation, analytic and manufacturing intelligence products.

With over 30 years’ experience with SCADA & PLC systems, MCS has an enviable track record in delivering successful projects in most industry sectors including Water Utilities, Power (Fossil/Nuclear), Process, Automotive, Aerospace, Food/FMCG, Logistics, Manufacturing & Petrochemical. Whether you have the need for a new plant requiring a large complex networked SCADA & PLC solution, or simple modifications to an existing legacy SCADA or PLC, with our significant in-house and experienced software team you are sure to get a successful project.

Clients can be confident; all SCADA & PLC software is developed in full accordance with our rigorous change control procedures required under our ISO9001:2008 TickIT accreditation which is externally audited by NQA.

ICONICS is an award winning software developer and Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner that allows organisations to visualise and control their operations and assets. Through real time visualisation, fault detection and a suite of other analytical tools, ICONICS’ software can guarantee improved operational efficiency and asset awareness. Operations can benefit from significant reductions in cost, energy consumption and emissions, while increasing service reliability, all with payback periods under eighteen months. To deliver these efficiency capabilities, we rely on Microsoft’s Enterprise platform, including the Microsoft Smart Energy Reference Architecture (SERA).

ICONICS promotes an international culture of innovation and is the reigning Microsoft Sustainability Partner of the Year; this award recognises software innovations built on the Microsoft platform that help organisations, governments and cities around the world reduce their impact on the environment. With a growing client base of over 300,000 installations worldwide, organisations across vertical markets such as Building & Facilities, Utilities, Renewable Energy, Manufacturing and Oil & Gas are now able to visualise, analyse and mobilise through ICONICS’ technology.

  1. Click here to visit the Iconics website
  2. SCADA, PLC & HMI’s are one of our core services

MCS Control Systems announce another new delivery

MCS Control Systems are pleased to announce another new delivery, its our latest baby, a complex Oil and Gas Control Panel and Control System delivered as a customised solution for Hydrate inhibition with Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG). This is a well-established means of preventing the formation of hydrates in hydrocarbon production pipelines for one of our Oil and Gas clients.

This comprised of a completely integrated control panel and process control system based upon Rockwell ControlLogix PLC’s operating in a high availability dual redundant configuration. Software for this process intensive application included configuration in accordance with BSEN61508 and providing a SIL category to level 2.

This solution has a SCADA platform based upon Rockwell’s FTView SE and comprises of approximately 10,500 tags of information. All of the events are time stamped allowing the client to be able to accurately diagnose a fail analysis based upon this time stamped information which is globally synchronised from a central clock. This accuracy of time stamping as well as detailed fault analyses allows for rapid root cause analysis of the failure.

It is a unique feature of this system with over 1,000 D code events generated within the PLC. This is not something that is normally carried out within the PLC and is usually a SCADA based function. However, with extensive client testing within our factory based in Coventry we were able to extensively prove the operation of this failure detection system.

In addition the final section included a full desalination and centrifuge control process. All of these processes were produced within the PLC yet MCS had configured the solution to Match a Yokagawa DCS format. This customised approach shows clearly that when it comes to a complicated delivery all of our software surgeons are more than up to the task.