Programming Methodologies and Total Cost of Ownership

If you have ever been involved with or had to fund a new application or an upgrade to an existing application and experienced excruciating pain (cost, duration, delays, …) in the process, then you might be interested in this. Carpenters have a saying – “Measure twice, cut once”.  It’s not quite the same, but planning out how the system should operate and perhaps as importantly what you want to prevent it from doing and even more important how to recover from an “abnormal exit” is ‘required thinking’.  Just for clarification, I am calling an abnormal exit some sort of ungraceful and unplanned stoppage for the system.  That could be a power outage or perhaps a drive failure or a chain breakage or an E-STOP or ……………. Just as you eat an elephant one bite at a time, you also have to tackle a large solution one sub-system at a time. I need to point out that this is not a treatise on “modular programming” in its purest form which is defined as “a software design technique that emphasizes separating the functionality of a program into independent interchangeable modules, such …

Batching Best Practices

This intent of this paper is to present a few Best Practices I have discovered over the years that lead to an improved performance of ingredient automation (batching) systems. Any welding should be done prior to installation of the load cells. Proper drainage should be provided to prevent the load point assembly from standing in water. All load cells must be on the same plane (level) within 0.5 degrees of each other (which is approximately an inch over 10 feet). In any batching application, the volume of material in transit between the shutoff device and the actual batch container has an impact on the ability to perform fine batch adjustments. Piping best practices are also important. Some liquid flow sensors require staying flooded in order to provide a reliable feedback signal. Nearly all flow devices need to be isolated from vibration and many flow devices (liquid and gas) assume a uniform velocity profile for their approach and exit. Even though today instruments are more tolerant of poor location, it is still best to locate the instruments with some consideration of the approach and exit conditions. …