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August 2007
ESSA Australia Ltd/Labfit
Project Description

ICON Technologies supplied the machine control systems that are a component of Labfit’s TGA-1000 and TGA-4000 Thermogravimetric Analysers. Thermogravimetric analysis involves the measurement of weight loss from samples as they pass through a series of progressively higher temperature furnaces. The weight loss at specific temperatures is used to characterise the sample. The iron ore industry is a major market for thermogravimetric analysis, where it is used to determine loss-on-ignition (LOI) from samples of raw ore.

Thermogravimetric analysis is traditionally a slow, labour-intensive, batch process. The TGA-1000 is a fully-automated, robotic analyser with up to 4 independent furnaces, capable of operating 24/7 from a continuous in-feed sample conveyor. The system can provide 40 four-stage LOI results every 30-35 minutes, equivalent to around 1,900 samples per 24 hr working day.

The TGA-1000 machine control system is based on two National Instruments CompactRIO PAC Controllers, with a PC-based local operator interface, and provision for results distribution to a network data store via TCP/IP. The system includes around 130 digital I/O points, three axes of stepper-motor control, serial communications to four furnace controllers and ten industrial balances, and network communications with the in-feed conveyor and the results data store.

Integration Products

NI CompactRIO Chasses, Controllers and I/O Modules, LabVIEW, LabVIEW RT, LabVIEW FPGA, Moxa network switches and device servers