SAIMC


SAIMC: Durban branch

October 2018 SAIMC

Technology evening

Hennie Prinsloo (right) thanks Kenneth M<sup>c</sup>Pherson after the presentation.
Hennie Prinsloo (right) thanks Kenneth McPherson after the presentation.

At the September technology evening, Beckhoff Automation managing director Kenneth McPherson presented to a record crowd on the topic ‘PC-based Control – the basis for the 4th Industrial Revolution’. He was an interesting and passionate speaker and took us through the developments of IIoT and the role that Beckhoff plays in shaping the future of automation. He also touched on the integration of HART devices through FDT/DTM into PC-based control systems, ultra-thin integration of intrinsically-safe field devices, multi-touch control panels and panel PCs for hazardous locations, as well as big data analytics and remote data access in the cloud. With the current focus on the digital revolution this topic was most relevant, and with his credentials, Kenneth was well placed to present on the subject.

Student award

Hennie Prinsloo (left) congratulates Xandre van Jaarsveld on the award.
Hennie Prinsloo (left) congratulates Xandre van Jaarsveld on the award.

The second of three student awards of R5000 – sponsored by the Durban branch to promote the automation and control discipline and reward outstanding work – went to to Xandre van Jaarsveld of DUT.

Hennie Prinsloo congratulated Xandre who then took members and visitors through a summary of his project, which he described as follows: “Last semester I was given a course assignment that required me to build a 4-20 mA current source. Essentially this is a power supply that maintains a constant current at its output, regardless of the voltage developed across its terminals. The build of the project was particularly interesting as an Arduino Uno R3 microcontroller had to be incorporated under the control of four push buttons used to enter the set point, which is subsequently displayed on an LCD. When the set point is fixed at 6 mA, for example, the output of the current source must be the same, something the feedback control circuit ensures. Also the output must always stay within in the 4-20 mA range limits.

“I had trouble with the feedback loop at first and had to redesign to solve the problems. In addition, The 9 V battery did not last very long, so an external supply was eventually used to power the circuit. A nice addition for the future would be a low battery indicator, as the only way I could determine that the battery was flat was to test its output with a multimeter. My thanks to everyone who helped me with this project.”



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