Although batch controllers may be used for gases and aggregates, this article will concentrate on a liquid batch controller. Batch controllers are used for dispensing liquids accurately. The amount of liquid varies from small amounts of fluids to the capacity of a whole truck load. They tend to be quite compact electronic devices, being relatively easy to show the required information in a small amount of display space.
How Do Batch Controllers Differentiate?
There are many different types of liquid batch controllers and the way that they are organized varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. In order to avoid confusion, it is advisable to keep to one specific brand.
Components of batch controllers include flow computers, totalizers, ratemeters and so on. Some are designed for hazardous areas, some have large digit displays and some use LEDs. There are a whole number of readability factors you might not have even considered, such as the need to be able to see the figures in direct sunlight. It might be single stage or many stages. Most batch controllers have alarms which operate when there is an imminent problem.
Another varying detail is whether the batch control is a short process or one which is continuous. If it is the latter, it can measure the differences at pipelines or compare your system’s flow with that of other companies. It can measure this difference at various time periods (hours, days, etc.)
Another detail to be wary of is whether a batch controller needs a DC or AC power supply.
What are the Requisites of an Effective Liquid Batch Controller?
In order to get the most out of a liquid batch controller, there are a few things to take into consideration before purchasing.
First, it needs to be fairly simple to operate with, start, stop and batch buttons. An operator’s manual should be included to further explain these buttons and their functions.
Second, the devise needs to be explosion proof and able to withstand harsh conditions, such as:
- the force of high power jets
- strong precipitation
- snowy environments
- exposure to salt
- extremes temperatures
Third, it will also need to be corrosive proof. This means is should be made out of epoxy or similar material.
Fourth, if you plan on using the liquid batch controller in an area with lots of noise, you might want to take a look at the noise filter capacity of the batch controller.
Even taking all these variables into account, most batch controllers still only have a limited life span. There is still a change that it can become damaged or worn out due to the factors described above. When this happens, you will have to replace it with a new liquid batch controller.
What Security and Controls Are Required?
In order to maintain security, a number of passwords need to be entered into the liquid batch controller for it to operate correctly. Some also have a lockout feature for extra safety. The lockout feature allows attempted front panel changes by an unauthorized user to be blocked.
Not all batch controllers are approved as measuring devices, which may be surprising. An MOT test centre for example requires certain specific equipment. In order to save confusion, it helps if you stick to metric measures. This is because industries rarely use the imperial ones, despite many batch controllers showing both types.
How Do Batch Controllers For Use In Explosive Areas Differ?
If the environment is extremely dangerous, a batch controller needs to work on a time delay. An explosion proof liquid batch controller is made of a material such as aluminum. It is easy to identity equipment suitable in such areas by an Ex mark inside a hexagon. Explosion proof housing is also available as an accessory.
As with the more usual batch controllers it may be used for a single stage operation, or one with multi-stages. Some caution should be made with the number of electronic systems in one place. When dealing with explosive areas you will require other items too, such as explosion proof light fitting, safety barriers and obviously training for employees. Safety switches may also be required on certain equipment.
What Other Equipment Is Required?
As well as the safety equipment referred to above, it is also necessary to have some kind of storage system for all reports. This will ensure that you have a hard copy of all information regarding the batch control. It works with various types of batch control software, which is attached to a maintenance PC as well as a PC workstation. There should also be a link to an external database. Again this will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Complete loading systems may consist of many different parts, flowmeters, valves, panels and so on. These will need to be professional designed before they are installed, as different factories have various needs. As well as this it should be as safe as it can be.
The dosing of all liquids needs to be exact, especially if a number of liquids are required to be mixed together. It is also vital that you keep records of the number of the batch. Everything should be as safe as it can be.
Calibration may be required for water flow, this is created through electromagnetic means. However this can only be achieved by the form of a rig, as this is a specialized form of batch control. The system is quite easy to regulate through a valve. Batch systems are different for each type of liquid, for instance pure water needs to be controlled in a contrasting way than liquefied gases. The systems can have up to 25 steps, maybe more, and this all needs to operate smoothly.
What Records Are Required?
If you are dealing with the batch control of trucks, you need to keep a record of all the forwarding agencies, products and customers as well as the individual trucks. These orders also need to be password controlled. Batch control is just a section of the whole process, if a fairly substantial one.
Whether batch quantities are organized by mass or volume, it is vital that error messages, the time that the batch starts and when it ends are stored for future reference.