Pellet Press Control
AutoPilot4Feed's pellet press control module is designed to:
- Optimise pellet quality
- Eliminate blockages
- Reduce downtime
- Reduce operator workload
- Reduce mistakes
A typical display is shown below. This includes a mimic (normally one per pellet press line), alarms window and trend. Most normal operations are performed by simple point and click. All items of equipment may be overridden by clicking on the graphics (password providing). Additionally, all variables e.g. feeder speed may be opertated manually for maintenance purposes (again this is user level protected).
Mimics may be resized and positioned by the operator and shown over multiple screens if required. The trends give a handy representation of how the presses have been performing over say the last 15 minutes. A historical view of the trend is also available.
To start a pellet press line is simple; simply click on the go button, select a destination bin (or bins) and click on start. The liquid inclusions are all calculated automatically from the formulation. The press control is tuned using a profile which may be assigned to one or more similar products to save tuning the control for every product. Some parameters within the profiles may be modified by the operator if required e.g. they may reduce required throughput if the product is known to be difficult to make at the time. Other profile settings are locked for modification by trained personnel. The profile settings may be configured to either default to those used for the last run of the same product or the profile master setting.
To optimise the pellet press line AutoPilot4Feed control includes the following advanced features:
- Automatic start - press lines can be enabled to automatically start when product is detected in the pre-press bin. The destination bin is assigned when the production is entered in the blending day programme.
- Cold start - when a press line has been off for a while the press profile will be adjusted automatically to slow the ramp up to full control.
- Anti-blockage - the press is continuously monitored for blockages and action taken automatically. This action may vary from site to site. Typically the press feeder will stop for a time and then start ramping up again from it's idle speed. The throughput may be automatically reduced if blockage conditions are repeated a number of times. The conditioner may be automatically jogged to get rid of blockage material.
- Layered change-over - When a press bin goes empty, it is possible to start the next product immediately with out a cleanout time in between. This is only allowed if the product passes all contamination checks and is the same type of product. The changeover point is tracked through the system, changing steam, molasses and fat levels at the appropriate point. Finally, when the required amount of the first product has been transferred to the finished product bins, the system automatically changes bin to start routing the second product.
- Automatic Press Flush - It is possible to automatically pellet a flush if a press bin exists that contains material suitable for flushing out the press line.
Every press run is logged with the following information:
- Summary and totals for each run
- Details of tonnage to each bin
- Reference to batch numbers
- Liquid inclusions
- Quality results (if entered)
- Details of each run logged every, say minute, typically these would include temperatures, press loads, throught put
Viewing tools and reports are available to list and graph this data. Reports may be customised using the Crystal Reports software.
All configurations of presses, extruders and expanders are catered for:
- Single pellet press
- Double pellet press side by side
- Double pellet press in line
- 3 pellet presses per line
- Up to 8 pre-press bins per production line
- All forms of conditioner
- Long term conditioner/sterilizer
- HFC / BOA conditioner
- Fats spray at the die (or downstream)
- On-line pellet tester