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case study

EtherCAT at an abattoir SMC and a leading Victorian-based OEM specialising in wastewater processing equipment have teamed up to provide a solution for the treatment of wastewater in a large Victorian abattoir. The requirement for the project was a rendering plant with a large capacity to receive, store and process waste effluent with an integrated system redundancy. The aim was to ensure continuous 24/7 operation from an operational and maintenance point of view, and increased volume of throughput resulting in a more efficient and lean process. In addition to the upscaled mechanical equipment that facilitates the physical sequential rendering process, the electropneumatic system employed for the job has significantly enhanced the functional and operational features of the system. “This system sets a new benchmark within the Australian process industry by challenging the perceptions that a leadingedge networking system such as EtherCAT is only suitable for very high speed, complex and demanding applications within the industrial automation sector and successfully demonstrates the benefits of its application over the traditional system design,” SMC Pneumatics Business Development Manager for Electronic Platforms Jozef Ceh explained. The objective was to provide a system with an increased volume of effluent processed per day by improving the receiving, storing and processing efficiency of the wastewater. The plant’s current production schedule needed to be accommodated, and future increased demands taken into consideration. The system was set up to return higher quality water back into the environment while exceeding the minimum specifications of the water authorities. The recycling of water back into the plant for repeat usage also reduced the water consumption and running costs of the plant. The result was a rendering process plant with capacity to receive up to 1.5 ML of effluent on a daily basis. EtherCAT is by and large the fastest Industrial Ethernet technology, but it also synchronises with nanosecond accuracy. This is a huge benefit for all applications in which the target system is controlled or measured via the bus system. The rapid reaction time works to reduce the wait time during the transitions between process steps, which significantly improves application efficiency. Lastly, the EtherCAT system architecture typically reduces the load on the CPU by 25–30% in comparison to other bus systems (given the same cycle time). When optimally applied, EtherCAT’s performance leads to improved accuracy,

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greater throughput and thus to lowered costs. Accommodating the current effluent requirements and allowing for about 35% more capacity for future expansion was quite a challenge. Safety and hygiene requirements as well as the refining of the process that deals with extracting the suspended solids more efficiently was another obstacle that the technical team had to overcome as well as the measuring and dosing process of the required chemicals. All of these elements had to be incorporated into one process. In the end, water with the right pH balance had to be put back into the system and this had to be done all in one cycle of the process. The whole SMC EtherCAT solution was designed, manufactured and delivered in an integrated control panel solution, ready for plug and play, in two weeks. “This project successfully demonstrates the value in challenging the traditional approach to solving problems and looking outside of the comfort zones of historically specified legacy systems that were significant in their time, but may impose limitations when encountered by demands of the modern plants,” concluded Ceh. SMC Australia | New Zealand www.smcworld.com

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Sustainability Matters Dec 2016/Jan 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Dec 2016/Jan 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...