Autoclave control saves energy
A new generation autoclave control system for composites manufacturing has been launched by AIC.
The Autoclave Management and Control System (AMCS) has been designed to offer precise digital control of the complex autoclave and oven processes used in the processing of composite components.
Developed in conjunction with Honeywell, the system provides a proven hardware platform, with fully integrated logic, control and data acquisition components.
Its SCADA based software has been designed by AIC's engineers with in depth knowledge of autoclave processes, combined with input from experienced machine operators. This ensures the system is easy to use, while incorporating innovative new features as well as fully digital data management for compliance with NADCAP standards.
AMCS will be of particular interest to operators of autoclaves controlled by FGH Controls instruments, production of which has been discontinued. As spares for this control system become harder to obtain, AMCS offers a route to improved performance but with a gentle learning curve. To simplify the upgrade process further, existing libraries of programmes in FGH's Autoclave Manager software are fully compatible with AMCS and can be simply uploaded without modification.
AMCS's advanced software can cut energy costs significantly, for example by slowing the control fan when full power is not required.
"Many control systems run the fan constantly flat out, even after all parts are up to temperature. This wastes a lot of energy," said AIC's managing director Tony Toll. "With AMCS you have continuous control over all the process variables."
Primarily aimed at the aerospace and motor sport industries, the system offers multi-zone control of the highly critical processes that make up the cure cycle, offering unlimited cure profiles of up to 20 segments each.
Full event logging of user and process actions is provided. Current status can be monitored from networked PCs, and the controller can email events and alarms as well as issuing SMS alerts.