Some of the latest implementations of this approach can be found on autoclaves from ASC Process Systems, Sylmar, Calif. ASC is currently embedding such controllers in many of its production and laboratory autoclaves used in composite curing, composite bonding, glass manufacturing, cement manufacturing, vulcanizing, and food processing.
Snap Ultimate I/O controllers execute control programs and issue commands to ensure the autoclave heats to the appropriate temperatures — as much as 1,500°F — for the prescribed duration. Either ASC or autoclave users define the control programs via flowchart-based control programming software. The Snap Ultimate controller, from Opto 22 in Temecula, Calif., then gathers readings from sensors inside the autoclave, confirming that temperatures are accurate. The Snap hardware can communicate using common enterprise protocols such as FTP, SNMP, and SMTP, so data the system collects can go to ASC databases for quality assurance reporting and other purposes. The onboard controllers also handle auxiliary systems such as the vacuum supply, pressurization supply, and cooling water supply.