When flammable gasoline is in play, no container failures are acceptable. Now, one manufacturer tests its gas-pump hoses with equipment sporting advanced PLCs.
Vapor Systems Technologies makes breakaways, whip hoses, gas nozzles and other gas-dispenser hardware that stems from gas dispenser. The manufacturer wanted to test its nozzles to 1,000,000 cycles, the equivalent of about 17 years of normal operating service. But the testing equipment Vapor Systems was using couldn’t test for that long and could only test one nozzle at a time.
“It was extremely slow, and very un-reliable,” said Patrick Elam of Vapor Systems. “We would only run it during business hours for fear of breaking down and other damages. The old tester was also big, bulky and difficult to move. I wanted a new tester to be smaller and more compact, so if the sales department wanted to take it with them to a petroleum show, they could.”
The old tester also used 120 Vac to operate. “It would burn up relays, sensors and blow fuses regularly. We were always afraid to let it run past business hours because if it failed under load, it could burn up a pump.”
The test setup Vapor Systems uses now has a Unitronics’ V350-35-TR20 PLC, which runs on 24 Vdc, and is reliable and safe. The palm-size PLC simplified the testing design by consolidating several functions. Its 3.5-in. color-TFT touchscreen clearly displays images and fonts; its on-board and expansion modules support 512 I/Os. Users can setup and label two keys on the PLC to suit the application. The all-in-one design of the Vision350 let Vapor System Technologies reduce the tester size by incorporating the controller, HMI and I/O.
Once programing was complete, the Vapor Systems team ran the new tester for more than two months straight with zero failures and zero damage to any of the electronic components. The 1MB Ladder code application memory (plus 3MB for images and 512K for fonts) helped the Vision350 run these complex control and automation tasks. Within three months Vapor Systems hit its 1,000,000 cycle mark.
“The amount of money we saved from R&D time and not having to replace burned up components regularly justified the cost of the V350-35-TR20,” Elam said. Plus by reaching our 1,000,000 cycle target, we exceeded our qualification test and put the finished product out in the market faster.”
For more information, visit www.unitronics.com