Brabender Technologie: Smart controls, for present and future feeding solutions
Brabender Technologie’s next generation of feeders controller, the Congrav® CM-E 3.0 and Congrav® CB-E 3.0, provide a high-performance foundation for the future in which the Internet of Things (IoT), predictive maintenance and equipment monitoring will play major roles. “Processor performance and the new controller’s memory were developed with the future in mind, not just for today,” is how Jörg Pawlik, Head of Electronics Development at Brabender Technologie, describes the objective of the programme.
The new controller features multiple advanced RISC processors. These processors form the basis of an energy-efficient, high-performance platform and provide the necessary computational power to enable a high level of feeder performance required in today’s and tomorrows demanding industrial environments. Two main processors (CPUs) with five cores ensure fast and efficient communication as well as computational and distribution processes. The software has been designed for easy upgrades to make the best use of the new hardware platform.
On the road to smart feeders
The new control modules feature six digital inputs and six digital outputs, more than any previous generation of controllers. The inputs can be used for stop/start functions or interlocks, while the outputs can be used for operating, refilling (for
instance via a slide gate above the feeder), or for alarm messages.
The new controller provides multiple state of the art ethernet interfaces. It will be possible to connect two network socket connection terminals using a second new TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) network protocol interface. The controller can bi-directionally share data with other computers using this new link.
“We are offering the 3.0 controller with a web interface,” says Jörg Pawlik. This web interface delivers both Internet and cloud connectivity. “On customer request and approval, data can be analysed in real time via the Internet or in a dedicated customer cloud. We are laying the groundwork for integration into the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 and building a bridge into the future.”
More options and backward compatibility
A "real time clock" has been incorporated in the new Congrav® CB-E controller which even operates when the controller is turned off. It provides accurate activity information and aids in feeder diagnosistics and predictive maintenance. A total of four ethernet interfaces provide extra capacity for future IoT tasks, host interfaces, diagnosistics, maintenance or connection to the operator control unit. Having up to 63 modules for controlling external add-ons substantially increases the possible options. A mini-PCI express slot and slots for future add-in cards, like WLAN or Bluetooth modules, were also incorporated in the design.
The new generation of controllers can be operated using the existing Congrav® OP1-S (for one feeder), Congrav® OP6-E (for a maximum of six feeders) or Congrav® OP16-E (for a maximum of 16 feeders) operator interfaces. Backward compatibility is built in for most previous generations of Brabender Technologie controllers and operator interfaces.
Focus on security
The new generation of controllers features a separate security chip protecting customer data and hardware. Following a 2-year product development period, Jörg Pawlik is delighted to say: “By launching our new generation of controllers, we have laid a strong foundation and provided a wide range of options for ensuring that our feeders have a smart future.”
Brabender Technologie will be exhibiting at Compounding World Expo Europe.