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After strategically deciding to enter the field of composite materials targeting the aerospace and defense industries, a Baltimore based machine shop invested in a used autoclave and oven. While the original controls were outdated, they were satisfactory for early production needs. As they established themselves in the industry, earning larger and more profitable opportunities, the manual adjustments and recordation required for the original controls was no longer cost-effective nor did they meet the increasingly strict and more complex compliance requirements of customers.

The heat treating process for composite materials, requires the strict adherence to a schedule that can vary from material type to material type. During the various segments, temperatures must be adjusted consistently and precisely. In the production of some materials, a vacuum must be pulled with sensors constantly measuring pressure. Throughout the process, time stamped measurements must be recorded to ensure the composite’s integrity for critical applications.

The machine shop approached Jobe and Company for a solution enabling them to pre-program and re-use “recipes” for controlling their autoclave and oven. With several dozen temperature and pressure I/O, Honeywell’s advanced HC900 External controller with touchscreen interface was the perfect solution for their application. The system consists of two electrical enclosures – a main HC900 control panel with the touchscreen and processor installed at the autoclave and a remote rack enclosure for the oven’s inputs/outputs that connects to the main panel via Ethernet. The display pages on the touchscreen interface were custom designed by Jobe for the customer’s application to ensure ease of use, while meeting all of their requirements.

Designing a complete solution, including installation, training and start-up assistance, provides the machine shop with a highly automated system which significantly reduces their labor costs while transferring data logs across their network to a PC in full compliance with customer requirements. The customer has plans for major growth and the HC900 can grow with them. Additional remote racks can easily be added to monitor and control in new areas. They can also add I/O cards to the existing racks, which would allow for additional data measurement points. The customer is planning to install a vacuum pump for the oven, at which time Jobe will be adding input cards and updating the programming.

The HC900 is a versatile product and an excellent solution for environmental chamber controls, burner and boiler controls, and industrial process control. If you have an advanced controls application, contact Jobe to explore possible solutions, including the HC900.