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Alfa Laval has launched the Thinktop Basic AS-Interface (AS-I) valve sensing and control unit, which is suitable for use in the food, beverage, brewery and personal care/biopharm industries.

The AS-I unit uses a single cable, instead of individual discrete wires, to link a programmable controller with sensors and actuators.

The system can be employed in a Master-Slave system where a single AS-I Master can exchange input/output (I/O) data with up to 62 AS-I slave devices and each slave can transfer up to four inputs and four outputs on a bus cycle.

The AS-I unit provides basic but effective automation in applications where the cost or complexity of higher fieldbus systems cannot be justified, according to the company.

It simplifies the installation process and reduces engineering, hardware, pretesting and commissioning costs.

The new Thinktop Basic AS-I unit provides the automated control and monitoring of sanitary valves.

Based on the Thinktop sensing and control unit, the AS-I version is said to be ideal for use in all hygienic applications and is compatible with all major programmable logic controller (PLC) systems and master gateways using the AS-I specification from Version 3.0.

The extension of the AS-I v3.0, the Thinktop Basic platform comprises 62 nodes.

Mounted on top of the actuator of an Alfa Laval sanitary valve, the Thinktop Basic AS-I comprises a sensor board and solenoid valves to provide the automated control and monitoring of each connected valve.

The Thinktop platform’s no-touch and set-and-forget features eliminate mechanical sensor adjustments.

Light-emitting diodes on the unit constantly indicate the status of the automated valve (saved valve positions, solenoid valves energised, setup in progress and local fault indication).

Installation is said to be a straightforward procedure; no special expertise or expensive adaptors are required.

Connected to one network cable and configured with a unique node address, the initial setup of the sensor board is carried out manually using a rapid five-touch process.

The process operator not only saves time on installation and project costs but also reduces the lifecycle cost.

The Thinktop Basic’s modular design makes it suitable for the migration, upgrade and extension of existing plants.

The new Thinktop Basic AS-I complies with the IP66 and IP67 standards for protecting electronic equipment against the ingress of dust particles and liquids.

Completely watertight, the platform incorporates vents to remove accumulated moisture and can withstand physical impact, frost, ultraviolet radiation and grease, oil or chemicals.

Alfa Laval's operations are based on leading global positions in the three key technologies of heat transfer, separation and fluid handling. Continuous product development is essential to strengthen competitiveness. About 2.7 per cent of total sales are invested annually in research and development, resulting in 25–30 new product launches a year.

Alfa Laval's products are sold in approximately 100 countries, 50 of which have their own sales organisations. The company has 20 large production units (12 in Europe, six in Asia and two in the US) and 70 service centres.

The customer's peace of mind depends on having the right service setup. For Alfa Laval, service is a total concept that covers everything from supplying the smallest spare part to being a lifetime performance partner. Alfa Laval has a global network with more than 200 skilled service specialists, a broad range of competitive service solutions, unique expertise based on more than 120 years in business and service centres in hundreds of locations in more than 50 countries.

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