Under a one-day deadline, we solved a tough programming issue which was the result of poor programming from another software vendor. The System was tested and shipped on time because we worked through the night to make it happen. The features we added completely replaced the other software, while only using a scripting tool.
Water pressure fluctuations were causing major quality issues. The unreliable pressures were causing errors in control system predictions. Because the piping was mostly large diameter (over 24”), off-the-shelf devices were cost prohibitive. ThinkFirst created a vertical piping overflow system which requires very little floor space and no maintenance.
Standard roll designs were causing scratches and poor drying performance on moving metal strip. Costs were very high for standard design. This is an example of how we think differently. The problem centered on too much mass of the standard roll. We redesigned the roll to remove mass and over 50% of the cost. Drying performance was increased greatly and lifetime in service increased by a minimum of 4-fold.
An industrial fabricator had files and papers everywhere. Finding related information was a major chore, if possible at all! True costs were unavailable. We rolled up our sleeves and got to work identifying all important documents, as well as information that was needed – but missing. Armed with this information, we created a relational database that pulled all infor- mation together. Now good data is just a click away.
When rolling hot steel, it is necessary to cool it at the right rate, to the right temperature. Heat Transfer is a difficult field to model and control. Since we helped in the design of the mechanical cooling devices, we already had a head start – understanding the mechanics of cooling in this application. By identifying all required process parameters, and creating appropriate control algorithms, targets and cooling rates are achieved well over 99% of the time.
A sheet bending machine was not giving the right physical positioning for a known travel measurement. This resulted in non-uniform and unacceptable sheets. Because we designed and programmed the controller and all instrumentation for this machine, we knew that the controls were working as expected based on sensory input. The problem? We pinpointed the mechanical drive had “slipping” issues which caused the error. When fixed, the sheets met spec!
Data was to be transferred wirelessly within a noisy industrial environment. The path was not line of sight. Differences in text encoding could cause errors. This system we designed from the ground up – sensors, physical mounting, circuitry, and programming (microprocessor and.Net). Using standard ASCII, data was sent using a pre-written radio API for all error correction and acknow- ledgement. Operators love this system -- because it simply works.
A major natural gas drilling site needed immediate help with a poorly documented gas compressor. Controls were partially installed and no programming existed. Without the compressor working, all the money spent would mean nothing – because they couldn’t deliver what they produced. ThinkFirst tackled the job by identifying all operating parameters and instrumentation. Then, we wrote the program to control a Modicon PLC and OIT. And we did it under the deadline.
A fabricator’s multi-chamber header design required long, continuous welds. The heat caused warping and alignment issues. Efforts to control this cost too much. We thought first, then asked a few questions. The long welds had to go. There was a potential for water leakage without the welds. Our redesign centered around the multiple header design, but accomplished the seal with one extra o- ring and a custom mixer. With each new installation, the design is validated.
To check cleanliness of a surface, one method is to wipe the surface with a cloth. Then, it is compared to an identical clean cloth. Results are too subjective to use. Here’s a case where it would definitely be better for a computer to “look” at the results. A clean “control” cloth was scanned and stored as a reference. Then, when a reading is required, the wiped cloth is scanned & compared within a custom program which evaluates the dirt load as a histogram. Predictable.
On a galvanizing line, steel is required to be cleaned before coating. Large equipment is required – cleaning, brushing, rinsing, drying & all support systems. Here, we divide a large challenge into manageable subsystems, then into disciplines – mechanical, electrical, programming, systems. Of course, project management was key to keeping the total supply on track and within budget. After finishing the design, we closely monitored the fabrication and assembly.
In order to test hot gas for presence of key elements and impurities, it must be tested at 700C. A “quick-change” requirement needed careful seal selection! The seal was the problem – at that temperature. In addition, the ingredients of the gas were aggressive to most options. We designed a vertical clamping mechanism that held appropriate closure force hydraulically. The seal was custom designed by calling one of our contacts in the industry.
Mailing Address: PO box 1495 Cranberry Township, PA 16066 Telephone:724 / 602 - 4354 Fax:866 / 687 - 6003 Email:sales@TFControl.com If you need to work with a company that “gets it”, a company that will take your project seriously, and real people who understand how to work with you, give us a call. It’s time for a new way of thinking. It’s time for a serious yet creative approach to what’s challenging you. Let ThinkFirst tackle your challenges. That’s what we love to do, and you’ll love the results!
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