Advanced Monitoring Technologies, a provider control solutions utilizing energy-saving control logic for refrigeration plants and ice arenas, has partnered with Kepware, Portland, Maine, to deliver necessary OPC servers for its control solutions.
AMT’s TechCold refrigeration control systems are designed to reduce energy consumption and demand, and provide a standardized system common to all of a company’s plants. The standardized solution can result in reduced implementation and servicing costs while providing ongoing remote monitoring and upgrade capability. Because most plants already have control systems with I/O schemes, AMT designed its retrofit control system, TechCold, so it would interface seamlessly with almost any control. Although design engineers at AMT were able to develop communication drivers for TechCold, company officials knew this task would defer resources away from its core business - developing quality control algorithms for the reduction of energy usage within refrigeration systems.
Instead, AMT chose to implement OPC client capabilities into its application software, then work with a third party - Kepware - to interface with the OPC servers with customer control systems. The KEPServerEX application is a single OPC server with driver plug-ins for hundreds of PLCs and devices.
Next, AMT teamed up with a multinational food processing firm to develop a prototype that would integrate AMT’s algorithms with the customer’s existing PLC-based controls infrastructure. This firm gave AMT access to one of their plants for integration and testing over a two-year period. The KEPServerEX is installed on the TechCold control system and communicates with the existing PLC controls by means of a TCP/IP Ethernet connection.
Following its development, AMT’s control system is now successfully operating in several plants, with additional facilities scheduled for implementation.