Using PCE’s Guardian to Pump at Lightspeed
Published on Mon, 05/18/2015, American Dairymen www.americandairymen.com
Now with the new Guardian Panels, we can set our pumps to babysit themselves. Simply start your pumps, set their boundary pressures and they do the rest,” shared Jeremy Puck, General Manager of Puck Custom Enterprises (PCE) at one of the company’s recent Pump Schools. PCE hosts ‘Pump School’ monthly at their facility to teach about pump operation and where to place pumps within a dragline system.
“Prior to 2009, we had to station a person at each pump unit to monitor and provide feedback to the tractor operator. We had to be constantly communicating: ‘What’s the inlet pressure? The outlet pressure?’,” reflected Jeremy Puck. “Now the pumps can tell if they need to throttle up, or down. If a line spikes or breaks, the unit shuts itself down and closes a gate.”
In 2009 Puck Custom Enterprises finished the development of their MobileStar control system through a partnership with the technology company, Dakota Fluid Power.
“MobileStar gave us live numbers and two-way communication with each pump unit. We could monitor and control the engine remotely using a cellular-internet signal,” explained Puck. “Guardian takes it a step further,” Jeremy continued, “I can pre-set my operating parameters for intake pressure and outlet pressure and the engine will automatically throttle up or down to maintain those numbers. Just like cruise control on a car. Guardian doesn’t need a cellular connection, the self-monitoring is all built into the local control panel.”
“If I want to monitor and control the system remotely, LightSpeed can be added to each panel to provide the wireless communication,” Jeremy explained. LightSpeed adds a wireless modem to the panel and communicates over a cellular-internet signal. From any internet-enabled device, an operator can log in to control and monitor the units. PCE is now manufacturing all their engine-pump units with their new Guardian control panel. The panel ties directly into their John Deere engines as the local engine control, whether it be on a Force Feed Unit, Standard Lead Pump, Lead Pump Boat or Inline Booster Pump. The software keeps a record of operating information from the engine and can provide maintenance reminders.
Guardian has the ability to accept over 40 inputs, and PCE has filled some of those ports using inputs from Krohne flow meters, pressure transmitters, temperature transmitters, and level sensors to monitor pump pressure, hydraulic fluids and fuel level. Additional ports are used to operate pump gate valves from the touch-screen display. “LightSpeed operates very similarly to the original MobileStar systems, but it is much improved to accept all the additional data and controls we have added to each pump unit. It can grow with us,” Puck continued, “It’s compatible with all devices.”
“I’ve been using MobileStar, and now LightSpeed since they came out with it,” commented David Stephens, an owner-operator of a swine operation in Missouri. “It’s really helped us progress our manure management by knowing what is going on throughout the system. I am constantly learning how to improve by watching the numbers. I can operate my manure application with fewer people, and it’s a lot safer too.” “David has been joining us at Pump School regularly for 4 years now,” commented Ben Puck, President of Puck Custom Enterprises. “We learn as much from him as we hope he takes away from our classes.”
“In 2009 we were talking about how to pump 2,000 gallons per minute through our systems,” reflected Ben Puck. “Today, we are talking about how to pump 3,500 gallons per minute. Our ability to respond immediately to what is happening within our fluid delivery system is more important than ever, and that is why we put such a focus on technology and these control systems.”