Process control


Control and safety in complex process environments

The world of process I&C involves a complex work environment with different machines working together to form process engineering systems that span across industries. At erler, we have the understanding and expertise to make such environments manageable. We offer secure interfaces and transparent control systems that bring everything together at the control station.

Our focus is on providing the technology that meets your needs. We understand that control and safety are top priorities. This is why we not only plan, install and maintain systems for clean room environments, but also those for ATEX areas.

Our experienced software team and our high software standards make our control systems indispensable for producing and converting substances. We operate mechanical, thermal, chemical and biological processes and ensure your systems are running smoothly and efficiently.

and products

Our great strength? We fulfill the documentation and quality requirements of the medical and pharmaceutical industries with our selected control systems and software standards. Our solutions are customized for resource efficiency, quality assurance and increased productivity, ensuring that your manufacturing company remains competitive in the age of intelligent manufacturing.

System controls

Production control station

Plant control station

Batch production

Continuous production

Switchgear cabinet construction

Our programming services

Our programming standard helps to provide you with reliable, user-friendly and safe operation of your systems.

  • Process I&C: B&R-APROL
  • PLC: Siemens, Beckhoff
  • Construction, assembly and installation of switchgear cabinets in ATEX environments

Many examples

Materials testing samples are produced by melt spinning. Every year, Edmund Bühler supplies several of these series production melt spinning systems as well as custom-made products.

Bühler decided to implement a new control concept in 2018: From control through to a wide range of individual electronic components with separate operation to standardized overall operation. A B&R control and visualization system ensures intuitive operation. Bühler is now flexible even in its degree of automation and can ideally meet its customers' requirements.

An older control system in an extruder often caused difficulties for the operator on production startup. This produced unnecessary scrap. 
The latest generation of control systems from Siemens and the features we developed provide the operator with detailed diagnostic options, enabling them to intervene correctly during system startup. Automatic discharge speed control also ensures greater consistency in product quality. Inaccurate manual intervention is no longer necessary. The final focus of the retrofit was more convenient operation of the extruder system and the closely connected downstream system. In the past, both systems had to be operated independently of each other. The same command is now sent to both systems together.

Manual temperature control and time-controlled dosing of products using a stopwatch are now a thing of the past. These and other simplifications in the work process, such as correcting a defect in agitator position detection, were optimized during the retrofit of a production vessel. Temperature is now controlled by the PLC, as is the time-controlled dosing of subsequent products. The system operator is thus less tied to production.

The CHT Group is an internationally operating group of specialty chemicals companies with production plants all around the world.

CHT installed a pilot plant at its largest production facility in Dusslingen near Tübingen in order to safely and efficiently scale up manufacturing processes for chemical products from the laboratory to production. Scaling up is performed there with precise control of a wide variety of small-scale systems.

In 2021, a glass pilot reactor with all the functions of modern production facilities was built on a pilot plant scale for manufacturing sophisticated reaction products.

We supplied the switchgear cabinet for this system, including APROL hardware, APROL programming, electrical installation and commissioning.
Safe operation of the system required compliance with a large number of rules and regulations. These include functional safety in accordance with VDI/VDE 2180 and the ATEX directive for operation of systems in potentially explosive atmospheres. Like all automated systems in the pilot plant, the glass pilot reactor was integrated into the cross-plant APROL process control system from CHT Germany GmbH.

To enable the implementation of new production methods in the glass pilot reactor, a temperature control module was connected as a new feature. This communicates with the reactor via an OPC UA connection using the MTP (module type package) data standard in accordance with VDI 2658.
All programming work for the MTP connection was done in advance in our test field and was also validated there. This significantly reduced the commissioning time for the customer.

This data-based MTP connection option for autonomous modules in the chemical industry is still in the development stage. CHT is one of the first companies in the world to implement this concept in production. We were there right from the start and have played a major role in the success of the MTP projects within the CHT Group.

Our results with the concept at CHT are being integrated in the guideline work of the VDI and Namur. The guidelines are VDI 2776 for the process components and VDI 2658 for the automation components.

Short downtimes for conversions or expansions are the order of the day at Holcim. These therefore have to be very well planned, prepared and coordinated with all trades. This was also the case when retrofitting a contaminant trap in a cement mill. The basis is defined when planning and creating the flow diagram. "Which switchgear cabinet will be prepared when and to what extent in order to minimize downtime at the end." Questions like this are accounted for in planning.
Extreme care is also necessary in the preparatory measures to avoid lengthy troubleshooting during actual commissioning, as the distances between the cabinets and the field units are not insignificant. Good coordination between the trades is crucial to smooth processing. We were able to master all of these disciplines in this project, achieving a downtime of only a few days.

A new control technology concept is taking hold for a small reactor in the area at risk for explosion. Small reactors are used to produce pharmaceutical precursors. The reactors and switchgear cabinets are mobile for flexibility. The required reactors are thus placed in the closed production rooms before their control cabinet. The difficulty now lies in connecting the cables for sensors and actuators through a wall easily, quickly and without errors, either in the field or in the cabinet. This requirement was met by implementing a flexible, pluggable hardware interface.
System operation is simplified with a Siemens control system in the background and intuitive visualization for the user. This interface will now be retrofitted in all production rooms in order to enable operation of further systems in different stages.

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