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Accurately tracking liquid collection via Unitronics Vision560 PLC

05 June 2015

Based in Mobile, AL, Aaron Oil Company, Inc. is a leader in used oil recycling and petroleum-based hydrocarbon reclamation sector.  Aaron Oil has consulted with ENGraphted Inc. to lead the development of a new generation route collection truck. 

The companies wanted to track gallon amounts of various liquids pumped through a collection truck by analysing the liquid as it is loaded onto the truck. This real time analysis data is used to route different waste products to their respected holding compartments on the truck, and tally up individual totals for the various liquids being pumped on-board. It is common to find various liquids that are stratified within a single ‘waste’ tank at a customer location. Some of the stratified liquids may be considered a liability, while other layers may be considered an asset. They needed to separate these layers in real-time, in order to provide an honest report as well as introduce a  level of handling efficiency that is second to none in this industry. 

To achieve this the companies used a Unitronics Vision560™ PLC with a V200-18-E6B snap-in I/O module. The V560 PLC was able to provide the specific communication features, I/O support as well as the HMI preferences that they needed for their application. The PLC handled all of the on-board automation and data collection on the truck. The PLC accepted an input from an in-line multi-parameter analyser to keep a running total of various liquids pumped through the truck and to route various liquids into different compartments. It also provides usable output to an on-board PC for real-time invoicing purposes; to give the customer the most accurate gallon amounts. This information is also communicated on a real-time basis to a central office location via secure cellular VPN for accounting purposes as well. Finally, this information is combined with an external GPS based driver tracking system to promote efficient dispatching and to track driver performance.

The PLC also handled other mission critical decisions and proprietary processes which cannot be replaced by human operation. The operator has the ability to override certain automated tasks at different security levels.

"The Unitronics V560 was a unified solution that was rugged and suitable for an on-road application," said Guy Chetrit, PE, of ENGraphted Inc.  "A specific set of I/Os was required, as well as the ability to communicate with other devices on-board, and handle network protocols. The V560 met these requirements and more. Other benefits of using the V560 PLC were the HMI features, the adaptability of the I/O modules that were compatible with this PLC and the ease of programming."

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