Control heads help company streamline processes

Burkert Australia was approached by a process engineering and automation consulting firm who were commissioned by a dairy manufacturer in Victoria to assist them in the consolidation of raw milk inflow processing.

Ultimately, the dairy manufacturer wanted to de-commission one site where they had an external milk drop off station and bring all of its resources and processing into one main site. This entailed bringing all raw milk deliveries back into its main storage silos located at the main processing site, streamlining operations and through this relocation exercise, consolidate all facility production.

After assessment of the dairy site’s current equipment and requirements for future-proofing the facility, they ended up with a number of dissimilar process valves and control heads located between the two facilities. On review of the project, the consulting firm offered them the opportunity to reduce the overall cost of the project by utilising a mixture of existing and new process valves. This was designed to save the dairy both time and money in bringing their processes onto one site, without the outlay of a completely new fit-out.

To achieve this consolidation methodology, while also improving their overall reliability of the process, the consulting firm sought to partner with Burkert Australia. With knowledge of Burkert’s products, the company requested Burkert’s assistance in reviewing current site equipment and worked together to supply a solution for the dairy that would work best for project timelines and budget restrictions.

Through investigation and itemisation of the dairy’s existing equipment, the engineering consultant offered the project management team the option to maintain their existing process valve equipment from multiple suppliers and brands by implementing the Burkert Type 8681 control heads. They were fitted with their existing equipment to standardise and automate their processes on the one site. This solution was investigated and found to be the best suited to the application and clean in place (CIP) needs, giving the dairy peace of mind as they would also be future proofing their facility as the control heads are equipped with ASi Communication. This application would also ensure lower costs for ongoing maintenance, standardise communication as well as ensure data accuracy and assurance through a single system feed. The control heads were able to be fitted to the multiple-branded seat and butterfly valve types allowing for a decentralised automation process to the consolidated facility.

Due to Burkert’s adaptability and capabilities of its control head, the Type 8681 was able to work with all of the process valves supplied at the dairy without complication.

Decentral automation can have significant advantages regarding monitoring, flexibility and safety, even with complex projects. If local access to information and valves is required, decentral automation offers many further benefits. The basis is formed by flexible process valve systems that make for lean automation processes and straightforward cabling and piping. This shortens planning phases and makes the plant design more transparent, saving time and money in the installation phase and ensuring a fast start-up. Operation is efficient and economical due to switching intervals being short, with little delay times. In addition, the combination of intelligent information exchange via direct messaging and status diagnosis, greater reliability thanks to clear-cut process monitoring architecture and easy troubleshooting all speak for themselves. LED displays ensure that switching statuses are visible even from a distance. The components can also be cleaned easily and are suitable for thorough washdowns.

Type 8681 was implemented, along with a number of required new valves to complete the project and bring together the mixture of pre-existing products. Therefore, a hygienic process automation solution was put in place for the dairy.

This simple control head allows for decentralised automation of hygienic processes such as this. Due to its universal adapter, it can be combined with all normal commercial butterfly valves, ball valves, single- and double-seated valves. With a decentralised automation concept, the control head takes over all pneumatic actuation, feedback and diagnostic functions including field bus communication.

The housing is easy to clean and features high IP ratings for protection and chemically resistant materials for use in hygienic processing in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Depending on the process valve type, up to three pneumatic actuator chambers can be controlled independently from each other. The switching speeds of both movement directions can be set separately. A built-in check valve prevents incorrect switching of process valve actuator chambers, which could result from back pressure.

The process valve switching positions are detected by an inductive, analogue position sensor and reported to the PLC system. Up to three switching points can be adjusted automatically by a Teach-In function. Additionally, a fourth switching position can be read in and fed back via an external inductive proximity switch. The coloured status display signals the particular process valve switching position or indicates a diagnostic function such as maintenance required status or fault conditions. The pilot valves are equipped with a manual override. If the device housing is closed, the patented magnetically encoded manual override tool can be used to open the process valve from the exterior. Bus communication is available with AS-interface or DeviceNet.

Burkert was chosen because the solution was easily scalebale, as well as the ease by which it interfaces to third-party hygienic process valves and a reduction in control head suppliers. Then there was the seamless integration into the site-wide existing fieldbus infrastructure and especially the highly visible LED colour status indicating the process valve switching position.