Key Technology

October 2013 

Technology has secured its place in the processing plant through the expedience of automation. The automation of data collection makes it easier to collect facts and data. Computers process the data and provide information in the form of charts and graphs. However, it still requires human intelligence to process the information into knowledge, which then allows one to monitor, anticipate and control processes proactively.

While the artificial intelligence required to control a plant is still many years away, some of that wisdom can be programmed into a piece of equipment or a control system. For example, data from Key Technology sorters can be used to provide a feedback loop to upstream equipment improving the overall line performance.


 Sorter Wisdom

While we have not created self-thinking machines, our sorters can provide a plethora of data and information. When integrated with a SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) system, you can automate some process control decisions.
Key Technology SpyderKey Technology Manta

For example, using the OPC data that collects the product information, you can program the SCADA with certain thresholds that would automatically adjust upstream equipment to streamline performance. Another example would be using operational data to automatically schedule specific maintenance activities based on either time of use, or condition of the sorter. 

 Shaker Wisdom

Sorters employ computer systems that help transfer some of your wisdom to the machine. On mechanical equipment like a shaker, it is a little more difficult. There are some mechanics that can tell you what a shaker needs just by listening to it, or feeling the bed and frame. However, for most it’s more vague and automating the process of shaker adjustments is even harder.
Technology devices likeKey Technology 
Iso-Flo our SmartArm® bridge the gap between having years of experience and automating decisions. SmartArm is a measuring device that collects speed and stroke data from the shaker. Using OPC, that data can be sent to a SCADA to monitor for changes and to make pre-programmed decisions based on the changes being observed. Generally, the actions are simple, like generating an alarm for someone to physically check the shaker. For a plant that understands their processes extremely well, it can also be used to control flow rates since changes in stroke are directly affected by bed weight. One customer uses that information to tune the shakers to their actual production load, thereby ensuring that the shaker will be operating at optimal speed and stroke.

 Integrating the Data with your SCADA System

There are a number of vendors that provide SCADA and other types of control systems. Key Technology employs an OPC/XML-DA server to make the data available to your system. Depending on your SCADA and the protocols it supports, you may need communication gateway software between the SCADA and the OPC/XML-DA server. A gateway acts as an interpreter between the OPC/XML-DA protocol and protocols supported by the SCADA. Once the communication is established, you then map the OPC data items to SCADA data items that can be used to display graphs, charts, trigger alarms, etc.

 Ask the Expert! 

We would like to hear from you!  Send us your questions about Key Technology equipment or your processing challenges to our “Ask the Expert!” email address below and we will choose a few each month to include in the Service Advisor. All questions will be kept anonymous and specific details will be generalized.

 Thank You!

Our global services team is here to assist you with all of your training, service and parts needs.

Contact us at:
Europe, Middle East, India & Africa +31 (0)345 509900
Australia & New Zealand +61 (0) 3 8710 8200

North America and other regions +1.877.UPTIME1 (+1.877.878.4631)


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Key Technology Inc

Key Technology 150 Avery Street, Walla Walla, WA 99362 USA | +1 509.529.2161 |

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