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-4000 receives manually loaded carousels, and then automates the complete analysis procedure, before returning cooled carousels to a manual unloading station. It is capable of returning around 1000-1300 results per 24 hr working day.
The TGA-4000 machine control system is based on a National Instruments Compact FieldPoint PAC Controller and Network Interface, with a PC-based local operator interface. Samples are transported between the various system stations and furnaces using an industry standard ABB robot. The system includes around 130 digital I/O points, a 16-bit digital interface to the ABB robot, and serial communications to four furnace controllers and ten industrial balances.
NI Compact FieldPoint, LabVIEW, LabVIEW RT, Moxa network switches and device servers