OPTIMISE THE HEAT TREATMENT FURNACE CONTROL PROCESS 
Profile originally appeared in the July 2016 edition of Industrial Heating Magazine.

Eurotherm by Schneider Electric

Heat-Treatment Innovations

In 1965, Eurotherm began as a modest U.K. start-up company. Now, over 50 years later, Eurotherm by Schneider Electric is a globally recognized brand known for specialized instrumentation, systems and services.

Right from the very start, Eurotherm created instrument firsts within the heat-treatment industry. The first microprocessor control system was created for glass processes and was subsequently used in other thermal processes.

The process improvements in the late 1980s and early 1990s came from further automating the heat-treatment process. Eurotherm led the market with innovation of precision temperature and process control instruments.

In 1993, Eurotherm launched the first hybrid graphic recorder, the 4250G. This device had a digital screen to display trends and recorded data onto a compact disk. As a backup, this unit still had a paper chart being printed on by conventional pens and was located behind the front door display. Progress was then quickly made to the 5180 paperless digital chart recorder. These have progressed to today’s data management systems: the 6000 series (panel mount or portable TUS system) and the Versadac data recorder (DIN rail mounted device).

In 2010, the nanodac 1/4DIN 2-loop controller/recorder was launched – another first in the industry. This unit provides a secure data platform in a 2-loop control product with a highresolution, easy-to-navigate display.

Another area of Eurotherm expertise is in power control. The company’s modern thyristors/ power controllers have the ability to run in multiple modes that don’t require you to suffer from the downside of running phase angle control. These units can also directly control load demand through automatic load sharing or shedding across multiple zones or furnaces. The latest family of power controllers from Eurotherm includes the ESwitch, EFit, EPack and EPower.

Building on the success of precision control and recording instrumentation as well as the PAC platform for full automation projects, Eurotherm created its first heat-treat-dedicated PLC in 2014.

As a direct competitor to Rockwell AB PLCs and Siemens S7, this new PLC has built-in features specific to heat-treatment processes. These include vacuum algorithms for leak testing, online carburizing functionality and precision control and data recording to meet the strict accuracy requirements of AMS 2750E.

The company’s current focus is its offer related to Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Schneider Electric has been providing solutions to address this area of instrument and platform compatibility and communication for a number of years.

The latest innovation is a new software-as-aservice offer, Eurotherm Online Services (EOS). An integrated online platform and management tool for overseeing calibration records and regulatory status, EOS offers an automated, digitized process for easy collection and retrieval of critical process data – from shop floor to top floor – when and where required.

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, chairman and CEO of Schneider Electric said: “The extensive digitization of industries globally is demanding highly connected solutions that deliver new capabilities to control industrial operations enterprise-wide, from the edge to the core. Customers are also demanding a new breed of applications and software that deliver real-time intelligence to the right decision-makers at the right time.” 

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Eurotherm by Schneider Electric© 2017