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How can you achieve precise control over experimental environment? Automate pressure and vacuum control

Industry - Education

Summary: The University of Cyprus is dedicated to developing their facilities as a premier research university.  In order to achieve this goal, the University wanted to install a system that would control the pressure and vacuum of experimental environments.  They installed a Unitronics Samba All-in-One PLC+HMI; this compact, powerful controller allowed the university to control and monitor the pressure and vacuum with a platform that was easy to configure and to use.

“After some years using Visilogic I realized how easy it was for me to do almost whatever I asked to, either by the excellent help documentation of Visilogic and the fast support from Unitronics team.” - Charis Christoforou

The University of Cyprus was founded in 1989 with the goal of aiding the social, cultural and economic development of Cyprus.  In order to achieve this goal, the University strives to be one of Europe’s pioneer research institutes.  They have a system of state of the art laboratory facilities to enable that research.

For many experiments, being able to precisely control the experimental environment is vitally important; factors like moisture, temperature and pressure can all affect the results.  The University of Cyprus needed a system that would be able control the pressure and vacuum to ensure accurate results. The control needed to automate two compressors on a pre-set time schedule, in order to evenly divide the load time, as well as synchronizing an air dryer. The University also wanted to be able to remotely monitor the application from the head technician’s office.

They selected a Samba Programmable Logic Controller with onboard I/O and integrated 3.5-inch HMI from Unitronics in order to implement the vacuum control.  The PLC gets pressure and vacuum readings from analog sensors, ensuring precise control.  The PLC controls the pressure and vacuum using air compressors, operating on a time-tabled master/slave schedule.   It also synchronizes the air dryer valves, which removes moisture from the air.  If the pressure or vacuum are outside of the desired range, alarms are triggered, allowing the operator to make necessary corrections or adjustments.  The Samba PLC is also equipped with an Ethernet card, enabling it to connect to the University’s network; the head technician can then remotely monitor the process from his office.

The Samba was a great fit for the University of Cyprus; it met all of their requirements and offered a high quality product at a very affordable price.  The all-in-one design carries over into the programming software; ladder logic, HMI design and communication configurations are all programmed in a single environment.  Using this software, VisiLogic, made project development and modifications quick and easy; for example, installing the Ethernet port was simple, both in the hardware and the software.  Charis Christoforou explains, “After some years using Visilogic software for programmable controllers  I realized how easy it was for me to do almost whatever I asked to, either by the excellent help documentation of Visilogic and the fast support from Unitronics team.”

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