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Case Studies > Pressure & Temperature Cure Applications

Opportunity: An autoclave manufacturer has designed a chamber to cure composite parts. The parts must be cured at a controlled pressure and temperature.

Problem: The parts cure at 275 degree F with a chamber pressure of 100 PSI. Pressure must reach 100 PSI before introducing heat. A simple ramp and soak profile followed by a cool down and purge (release pressure), completes the curing process. A heat exchange circulation thermal fluid allows for cooling. Tubular heaters producing 30 kW at 240 volts, 3 phases were required for heating. Compressed air pressurizes the vessel.

Solution: A Watlow Series 97A1-DDDD-00RG was selected to control pressure. Output 1 actuates a solenoid valve to turn on inlet air (pressurize). Output 2 actuates an outlet solenoid valve (depressurize). Output 3 is configured as a high alarm to indicate overpressure. When set point pressure is achieved, output 4 configured as an event signals the temperature controller to start a profile. A digital input on the 96 is signaled from the temperature controller when the chamber is to be depressurized.

A Watlow Series 982C-25CD-JEGR was selected to control temperature. Output 1 drives solid state relays to control the heaters. Output 2 energizes a motor starter to pump coolant through the heat exchanger for the cool down sequence. An alarm on output 3 indicates over temperature. Output 4 is configured to signal the Series 96 control to reduce the pressure setpoint to zero and purge the pressure vessel. The second digital event input to the 982 disables the controller if the chamber door interlock switch is open.

A Watlow Series 142 provides a safety limit against over temperature and controls a shutdown contactor.

The process is initiated with a power switch. After a complete cycle, the 982 is programmed to go into a hold mode. Cycling power after the chamber is reloaded starts the cycle over again. The chamber has a mechanical pressure safety switch to prevent the chamber from being opened under pressure.

Written by David Kozody, Antech Sales, Inc.

Pressure & Temperature Cure Applications

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