Sterling Systems & Controls, Inc. provides process controls and automation systems for a wide variety of industrial applications. One such application is recycling tires. When something is “recycled” the entire recycled item is converted into usable materials. In the case of recycling tires, this is what takes place. Sterling Systems & Controls has completed several projects where it was the provider of the process control and automation system for the process of converting old tires into usable materials such as oils, gases, and carbon. The process is a modified version of pyrolysis, a thermal decomposition of materials at high temperatures in an inert atmosphere such as a vacuum or nitrogen.

Primary Automation Components
Electrical Control Panel – Internal

The recycling process (reactor process) is controlled by a process control automation system designed and provided by Sterling Systems & Controls, Inc.  Often, multiple reactors are produced and operated together. The process control automation system for this recycling tires application includes a desktop PC with dual monitors, a PanelView Plus running Rockwell’s FactoryTalk View ME (machine edition) automation software, and custom engineering and software by Sterling Systems & Controls. Also included is the PLC/Motor Starter control panel, which houses the PLC, main disconnect breaker, motor starters, and the variable frequency drives for the reactors. The Sterling Systems & Controls automation system also integrates the process control with the company network using Sterling Systems & Controls WebCentral™ application software.

Sterling Systems & Controls, Inc. built all electrical and control panels, did system engineering of all components, custom application engineering, and implemented its WebCentral™ software. WebCentral is a browser-based application that allows you to access the database
of the Sterling Systems & Controls system. You can review and print historical reports and change system parameters from a remote PC, so long as the PC resides on the same network as Sterling Systems & Controls automation control system. Because WebCentral is browser-based, it is very simple and intuitive to use. It is ideal for applications where various individuals need to access information from the control system securely, reliably, and simply. In this application of WebCentral, the user could remotely view reactor data in graph form, change system parameters, search for views, and print historical data.

Features of Process Control Automation System for Recycling Tires
  1. PLC/Motor Starter enclosure is included to house the PLC, motor starters, Honeywell burner controllers, thermocouple receivers, associated I/O, 480vac main breaker disconnect, and 15” Allen-Bradley Panel View Plus touchscreen display.
  2. A console will have two 17” touchscreen monitors operated by a single PC. The PC will have the necessary software loaded to run the HMI program, SQL Express database server, and WebCentral supervisory control.
  3. Monitor and control each reactor’s temperature, pressure, oxygen, and burner control.
  4. Monitor fluid levels in heavy and light oil tanks.
  5. Monitor pressure in reclaiming gas tanks.
  6. Process control of reactor temperatures, cycle, purge, and other process times, as well as safety lockouts.
  7. Alarm monitoring and handling.
  8. Reactor shutdown control.
  9. WebCentral supervisory control included.
Controlling Equipment
Control Room Panel

Clicking on any process equipment in the reactor graphic will display a Manual/Off/Auto equipment control screen for the selected equipment. When in Manual mode, the equipment output will be immediately energized/turned on/activated. Any piece of equipment running in the Manual mode is not interlocked with other pieces of equipment. That means the equipment will remain energized or turned on until the item is removed from the Manual mode of operation.

When in the Automatic mode, the equipment will perform as designed and called for by the automatic control system. In normal operating conditions, all equipment will be in the Automatic mode. Some pieces of equipment, such as the reactor motor, will also require a speed reference in order to operate. There will be two additional items for this type of equipment: a manual speed reference and a speed lock button.

Starting/Stopping a Batch

The batching process for recycling tires is controlled from the reactor console. Pressing the Start pushbutton illuminates its green light, and the first cycle begins. Pressing the stop button advances the process to the next cycle immediately. Aborting a batching cycle can only be done at the admin security level and Equipment Status screen.

WebCentral Supervisory Control App

The Control Room Computers were provided preloaded with WebCentral software. This provides access to reports and information stored in the SQL Server Express database to any PC or mobile device with a modern web browser on the same internal network as the Control Room Computer. Users granted security access to WebCentral can log in with a web browser and view information such as trending reports, system setpoints, and system status. Security can be configured to allow or deny access to reports and system setpoints.

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