Open-loop vs. Closed-loop Process Control

Posted by Matt Newton on Feb 7, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Process Control

Process control systems are used in everything from advanced manufacturing to run-of-the-mill activities at home, like heating your house and brewing your beer. (You do brew your own beer, don't you?)

A control system that manufactures a product requires monitoring and control of many different process variables, while some at home require little more than a timer. For example, in manufacturing we may use flow meters to make sure fluids flow through pipes at a certain rate, or float meters to ensure ingredients fill a vat to a specified level.

When I brew beer at home, I may use a temperature sensor in my mash tun, wired to a controller that’s controlling my heating element to keep the mash tun at just the right temperature for optimum starch-to-sugar conversion. This is an example of a closed-loop control system.

(To see how small closed-loop control principles are scaled up to build industrial process control applications, check out the New Belgium Brewery case study and see how they use Opto 22 gear to brew their world-famous Fat Tire and other beers.)

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Topics: Food & beverage, PLCs, Tips, PACs, Oil & gas

OptoNews: Operators monitor refrigeration remotely

Posted by Jean Femia on Aug 31, 2016 4:28:14 PM

Tasty and wholesome, the frozen fruit bars made by Natural Fruit Corporation must be stored at precise temperatures.

Although their cold storage rooms were automated, on weekends operators used to have to stop by the company's factory to verify that systems were running and temperatures were within range.

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Topics: Energy management, Case studies, Food & beverage, groov, Internet of Things, Remote monitoring, IoT, optonews, Building management, OptoNews 2016-08-31

OptoNews: Join us in Chicago for automation and manufacturing tech

Posted by Jean Femia on Aug 17, 2016 4:29:04 PM

One of the world's largest automation events is headed to Chicago!

It's the international trade fair for industrial automation: Industrial Automation North America (IANA).

And here's an even bigger reason to attend: IANA is co-located with IMTS 2016, North America’s leading manufacturing technology trade show.

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Topics: Energy management, Process control, Food & beverage, Discrete control, Internet of Things, IoT, optonews, PACs, Events & conferences, REST API, OptoNews 2016-08-17

OptoNews: New industrial refrigeration video case study

Posted by Jean Femia on Aug 3, 2016 3:54:09 PM

How do you get fresh apples in March?

California Controlled Atmosphere (CalCA) knows the secret: strictly controlled storage.

CalCA builds produce storage systems for growers in California and all over the world. Each system must be flexible to accommodate fluctuating harvests and individual produce varieties.

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Topics: Case studies, Videos, Food & beverage, optonews, PACs, OptoNews 2016-08-03

OptoNews: New ATEX approval for Opto 22 products

Posted by Jean Femia on Jun 8, 2016 4:52:14 PM

ATEX is the name commonly given to the two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres in workplaces.

Several Opto 22 products are now approved for both standards and offer you options for applications in potentially explosive areas.

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Topics: Process control, Food & beverage, Discrete control, Machine builder, optonews, PACs, OEM, Integrators, I/O, Oil & gas, OptoNews 2016-06-08

OptoNews: CalCA delivers fresh produce to you

Posted by Jean Femia on May 11, 2016 5:18:05 PM

If you live just about anywhere in the U.S.A., you can probably thank California Controlled Atmosphere (CalCA) for some of the fresh fruits and vegetables you buy. 

In fact, CalCA's industrial refrigeration systems for storing produce can be found throughout the world, reaching to India and China. 

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Topics: Energy management, Case studies, Process control, Food & beverage, Remote monitoring, optonews, OptoNews 2016-05-11

OptoNews: Frick integrates refrigeration equipment efficiently

Posted by Jean Femia on Mar 30, 2016 3:34:06 PM

Way back in 1883, the Frick Company started manufacturing refrigeration compressors. During the next 100 years they became well known for a variety of reliable refrigeration system components.

By the 1980s Frick began automating their systems with Opto 22 products, and they began to notice a new need in the industry: custom system design and integration.

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Topics: Case studies, Process control, Food & beverage, Machine builder, optonews, OEM, Migration, Integrators, Building management, OptoNews 2016-03-30

OptoNews: Choosing I/O modules for temperature monitoring

Posted by Jean Femia on Jun 17, 2015 4:31:00 PM

Do you monitor temperatures?

A lot of control engineers do, especially in fields like water treatment, refrigeration, thermoforming, refining, food processing, and energy or building management.

There are a variety of temperature sensors on the market—ICTDs, thermocouples, RTDs, thermistors, infrared sensors. Accuracy, cost, wiring complexity, and environmental conditions are some of the factors that determine which one is best for your application.

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Topics: Energy management, Process control, Food & beverage, Water & wastewater, Machine builder, optonews, OEM, Integrators, OptoNews 2015-06-17

Visualizing water use with groov - part 2

Posted by Ben Orchard on Apr 21, 2015 2:30:00 PM


The biggest user of water in our house is not human:

A web browser is installed on most of the key devices we use every day. PCs, smart phones, tablets, even our TVs now have a modern web browser installed. I can even surf the web from my Android smart watch (a Moto360).

It makes sense then, does it not, to view everyday data on an interface that we use every day?

How much water flows through our house was the subject of last week's blog... It both surprised me and pleased me to find out that the biggest user of water in our house was not a human.

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Topics: Food & beverage, Remote monitoring, Water & wastewater

BEER LOVERS….We’ve got a problem.

Posted by Matt Newton on Feb 13, 2015 7:50:00 AM

Opto 22 exhibited at the ATX – Automation Technology West show this week in Anaheim. The show was one of five shows held at the Anaheim convention center, all centered around a general theme of manufacturing and packaging technologies. With that many shows under one roof it was a bit overwhelming to try and absorb all of the cool new tech being showed off. I've never seen so many robots under one roof.

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Topics: Food & beverage, groov, Remote monitoring

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