Reduced-cost recipe management

2 min read

Mitsubishi Electric’s latest batch server has been developed for controlling short-run processes in small and medium-sized specialised applications.


Based on Mitsubishi’s Melsec System Q controllers and developed in collaboration with industry partners, the new PAC (programmable automation controller) solution for recipe-oriented production offers a reliable and inexpensive alternative to conventional computer-based solutions.


This new solution from Mitsubishi Electric is yet one more step in the development that began with the successful introduction of dedicated PAC CPUs for the process industry and redundant process CPU modules for the modular Melsec System Q controller. The high-availability PAC Batch Server conforms to the ISA S88.01 industry standard and is a joint development by the technology company INEA and the renowned Jozef Stefan Institute, both based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The Jozef Stefan Institute actually laid the foundations for this technology by developing the algorithms for the implementation of these standards.


Conventional batch process solutions often require complex and expensive software tools for implementation of the ISA S88.01 standard. However, there is a large demand for more economical technologies, particularly in the type of hybrid applications that are common in the food industry. Mitsubishi’s objective in this project was to give users an inexpensive solution for their smaller and medium-sized applications.


In many of today’s applications, industrial computers are used as batch servers for processing and executing batch processes. The disadvantages of these computer-based systems are well-known: personal computers are more error-prone than the robust programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that are commonly used in industrial applications, which are easy to integrate in automated manufacturing processes and form the basis of the PAC solution.


The latest generation of controller, like Mitsubishi Electric’s Melsec System Q, provides a powerful and versatile integrated platform. This is reflected in current developments in the process industry, where distributed control systems (DCS) are increasingly being replaced by powerful new PAC systems.


Following this trend, the partners have developed a complete ISA S88.01 batch server with a single process CPU for the Melsec System Q that enables a PAC to process batches and recipes directly. After the recipes have been entered with a software tool, they are then transferred immediately to the controller. In addition to recipe management the PLC can also simultaneously process control circuits and other basic instructions. Users benefit from a cost-optimised solution without a server, along with faster communications and greater availability. In addition to all these benefits, the PLC solution also makes it possible to monitor and control batch production with an HMI control terminal, using a ready-to-use display template.


The new PAC Batch Server can be combined with the comprehensive product portfolio of the Melsec System Q controller series to configure high-availability solutions for handling small and medium-sized batch processes.


Powerful multi-processor technology

Over the last few years Mitsubishi Electric has continuously expanded the capabilities of the modular Melsec System Q controller platform to cater to the needs of applications in the process industry. Today, System Q can be used to build systems with redundant architectures that allow hot-swapping of components during normal operation, with the maximum flexibility of both staged modular design and a transparent communications system for high system availability and fully-customisable configuration. The controller’s multi-processor architecture with support for up to four CPU modules provides major advantages for process applications: different tasks can all be handled by a single controller, but at the same time the individual task types can be assigned to a CPU type that is optimised for those specific functions.

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