GERMANY – German corporation GEA, a prominent player in the food and beverages sector, has launched a revolutionary control system named ‘X Control’ for centrifuges.  

This new system brings substantial enhancements in terms of integration, connectivity, data processing, and safety, setting the stage for the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the future. 

X Control is designed to streamline data collection and analysis, enabling self-optimization of the entire system. The incorporation of AI algorithms will facilitate the recognition of patterns and automatic transfer of conclusions to the control system, marking a significant advancement in machine control capabilities.  

Dieter Hille, Head of Automation & Controls at GEA Business Unit Separation, said, “Today, we have reached a level where mass data is collected and analyzed with the utmost precision. The next step is self-learning systems.” 

The introduction of AI in the control system will have far-reaching effects on the ‘plug and produce’ capabilities of machines and components.  

Hille added, “This has an enormous impact on the ‘plug and produce’ capabilities of machines and components, as well as their communication with each other and optimal interaction.” 

The new control concept emphasizes the use of Module Type Package (MTP), allowing manufacturer-independent communication between components and systems. This approach enables users to adapt their processes more efficiently to changing market requirements by integrating all process steps quickly and easily. 

Permanent connectivity is a key feature, allowing extensive process data storage outside the machine control system and linking with other relevant data for both the machine and the process. 

Hille noted that this feature enhances the complexity and precision of calculations and evaluations, with the gained knowledge transferable back to the machine control system as instructions. 

Moreover, the GEA X Control presents improvements in cloud computing, providing customers with the ability to customize services through connectivity to the GEA cloud. This allows for remote services such as process analysis, optimization, and installation of new software functions as needed. 

“The HMI is based on GEA Codex, a scalable automation solution for process control levels and product control systems developed by GEA LPT, which in turn is based on ISA 101,” explained Hille. “This industry standard visualization ensures vendor-independent compatibility. Standardization also means speed gains in engineering.” 

According to GEA, X Control will be initially introduced for selected separator and decanter types catering to the dairy and renewables industry.  

The rollout is scheduled to commence from the first quarter of 2024, showcasing GEA’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of technological innovation in the food and beverages sector. 

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