Terry Davis is the president of Meter Maintenance & Controls in Redlands, Calif. His company has been implementing HART digital fieldbus technology in the Valspar Paint and Coatings factory environment for the last year.
“The ease of configuration and the ability to bring back critical diagnostic information from the factory floor with out having to directly connect to the devices has brought a completely new level of information gathering,” says Davis.
“We are using the PC-based ProSoft configuration builder, and it is easy to use and very versatile. It allows us to either message from the PLC or use the on-board ProSoft client module to send information to the PLC. This gives us a wide variety of configuration options,” he adds.
Although the HART network can access up to 15 meters together on each channel, meter management typically limits each bus to ten devices or less to increase speed and reliability.
Valspar uses Micro Motion mass flowmeters to read flow, temperature and density during batching. It uses a diagnostics screen access the internal information at a static state. During batching, the system tracks the information from the meters and transmits it via Rockwell Software RSSQL into a Microsoft SQL database for trending and maintenance scheduling. Alarms and meter information are displayed in RS-View.
“Analyzing meter data gives us the ability to predict pump changes and meter problems without having to be there when the batch is in progress. We can also discover problematic trends before equipment is compromised,” says Davis.
“We see great advantage in accessing and manipulating information accessed from the meters via HART. We have had no downtime on any of the systems we have implemented, and we find that the system requires no technical expertise to get critical information via the HMI,” reports Davis.
“Valspar has embraced the technology and is using the information with great success. The ability to trend filter changes based on flow rate and predict when they must be changed instead of waiting for the filter to clog completely saves time and money,” he concludes.