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Batch Control: Controller- Versus Server-Based Sequencers

By John Párraga, Rockwell Automation |

When designing a batch system, engineers often select the control solution based on the size of the system. It is traditionally thought that small batch systems require a controller-based sequencing solution, while larger systems require a server-based solution. However, despite traditional practices, the size of the system is not always the best indicator of an appropriate solution. A small application or single-unit system may have complex requirements. For example, it may need to be capable of managing hundreds of recipes or may contain complex decisions or paths based on process conditions. To identify the right solution, users should consider the three types of batch and sequencing solutions: • A hard-coded solution — Fixed sequences are programmed as applications in a controller • A configurable, controller-based solution — Flexible sequences are programmed as applications in a controller • A server-based solution — An off-the-shelf software product that is specifically designed to solve sequencing requirements, often referred to as a comprehensive solution Very few systems can leverage custom, hard-coded solutions, as this typically only allows for formula values (setpoints) to be downloaded to a fixed sequence.…
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