This may sound very technical in the view of most industrialist operating in different categories of industries. Irrespective of the type of company you operate with the technology I want to reveal to you can help eliminate some number of workers in the industries and simply replacing their functions with the automation device.
Automation itself needs to be explained for the purpose of individuals who may not be clear with such terminology. When we say automation it simply means the process of making an engine or machine to perform a function or several functions at a specified time according to specifications on it without the need of operating it to do such, in that case the machine or engine receives instructions from the already programmed device inserted into its power supply and memories.
I shall be discussing on this automation in a simple manner for better understanding, at the course of doing my school projects, I was told to do a project on the “ DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF AN AUTOMATED FURNACE AIR BLOWER” a project meant to assist the existing furnace in the foundry workshop following the complaint by the metallurgist working at the workshop on the severe heat and smoke that do come out during the heating and melting of metals for practical purposes such that it used to affect his health whenever he goes home at the end of each practical activity, suggestions were raised in the aspect of raising the chimney of the furnace and putting more other factors into place to curb the situation, and automating the whole workshop activities became one of the ways suggested by the team of engineers in the department fortunately it became the project I was asked to do. I tried to understand the whole scope of the project and then arrive at the specified to limit the scope for the easy actualization of the project.
I decide to choose one particular device first in the workshop and that is the centrifugal blower used in blowing the furnace for the melting of iron, in this case I shall focus on the automation aspect of that project and how you can utilize it to automate any device in the industry. Below is the procedure and summarized content of the automation in that project:
Taking a look at the figure above you will notice two things
Below is the circuit diagram;
Explanations in regard to the circuit diagram:
Q11= Contactor of 3-Phase Motor Q12 = Contactor of Single Phase Motor
F1 = Overload Relay of Motor 1 F2 = Overload Relay of Motor 2
E1 = 3-Pole Circuit Breaker E2 = Single Pole Circuit Breaker
K1 = Timer Relay S2 = START AND STOP SWITCH
M1 = 3-Phase Induction Motor M2 = Single Phase Induction Motor
The diagram explaining its working feature;
When a critical look is taken on the diagram, you will get even more explanations than the text.
The major electrical devices at the automation box are:
Two electrical contactors
One electrical timer its earth base
Electrical thermoset wire connector
Others in circuit diagram are: two resistors, two circuit breakers, two overload relays, etc.
THE WORKING PRINCIPLE
The earth base is connected the two contactors at its two opposite ports with wires having live and neutral terminals, the timer is then inserted into the earth base to be able to alternate the supply of voltage between the two ports of the earth base at the opposite directions, the major function of the timer is to alternate voltage to the ports of the earth base which are connected to two different contactors meant to carry different loads, at the top of the timer is a clocklike device that indicate to you how long you need the timer to stay before supplying voltage to a particular port in the base; how long will it stay in idle position before supplying voltage to the other port at the earth base, with this simple working principle that is where all the automation work lays.
Having positioned the timer and its earth base, it is time to discuss of other components; the two different contactors are meant to carry different machines in the foundry workshop, hence at the instance a voltage is supplied to the control box it will first enter into the timer which is controlled by an electronic processor, the timer will act immediately according to the settings on its timing for example if the instruction is saying switch MACHINE (A) ON for 30minutes and stay idle for 5minutes then switch MACHINE (B) ON for 20minutes and repeat this circle, since all the machines are to operate within minutes it simply means all settings will be in minutes, therefore, adjust the timer to display minute calibration board, then the adjustment for that instruction of MACHINE (A) & MACHINE (B) on the timer will be done by moving the first pointer with green color to 30minutes at the minute calibration, move the second pointer with red color to 5minutes, then move the third pointer with the yellow color to 20minutes that’s all your automation is now ready. Whenever the timer receives an electric voltage it will first reset itself to the idle time which is the five minutes and then switch machine A ON for the 30minutes OFF it and stay another 5minutes then switch machine B ON for 20 minutes and OFF it after then the circle will be repeated with another five minutes idle.
Now how does this working principle automate industrial activities? Very simple I love that technology because that is what I now do for industries automating many of their actions to reduce a cost for labor, assuming in a bottling company where the bottles need to be filled with drinks and moved to the unit where its cover shall be inserted by another machine, then the automation is to calculate the actual time these activities are requires for each machines involved and align its sequence of production with moving tray or belt conveyor, the conveyor moves the bottle 2seconds to the drink filling machine who’s switch is triggered ON that moment to insert its nozzle and pour out a drink for 6seconds into the bottle, after that moment it returns back to its normal position, then conveyor is switched ON again to move the filled bottle to the corking machine for 2seconds and stops then triggering the corking machine to insert the cork into the bottle at a specified pressure these processes are repeated for all the bottles. These activities may require more than four people under the manual method of production to carry out the same function effectively, even at that the human errors will be higher when compared to that of machines.
NOTE; that I limited the explanation to the timer and contactors, however there other devices attached to the whole automation unit to ensure its working conditions are safe and sparks are avoided, the voltage fluctuations do not affect its functions, and sensors for signals and an indication of irregularities, etc. such devices may be a topic for another day, meanwhile note that this is the method some industrial robots where made.