Significant innovations in control technology advancements have been developing under the roof of Vilter Manufacturing of Cudahy, Wis., since we last visited the company in July 1999. At that time, US Industry Today learned about Vilter’s solid and impressive history, spanning a century and one-quarter.
In that article, Vilter, the leading manufacturer of industrial refrigeration equipment and associated components, unveiled the Vilter prototype Vission micro-controller. Vilter Vission hit production lines this past April. “It will revolutionize the industrial refrigeration industry for two reasons: ease of use and the manner in which it communicates with other controllers,” says Ryan Regan, marketing coordinator.
Control by Touch
Designed specifically to control Vilter industrial refrigeration compressors, the Vission micro-controller can also be used for condenser control and air-unit control. It operates with a touch screen interfaced with a VGA color monitor, and uses Windows CE-based software. The operating system is Windows CE and Think & Do is the control software.
“What’s exciting about this is that we are the only manufacturer with this technology for the industrial refrigeration market,” says Regan. This distinction won Vilter the 2000 Start Magazine Technology and Business Award. “Start Magazine’s September 2000 issue recognized us as a company with an outstanding industrial application of Windows CE,” says Regan. Vilter is now in the process of posting the article on its Web site.
The Vilter Vission micro-controller can interface with other industrial control equipment. Since industrial control equipment manufacturers use their own software languages to run their specific hardware, the Vission micro-controller will be a welcome addition to industries using control units manufactured by other companies. “The Vilter Vission acts as a translator for these various software protocols,” explains Regan. “The Vission can communicate with BacNet and Modbus; soon it will be able to communicate with Ethernet and the Allen-Bradley Data Highway.”
Because Vilter is a global company with a strong presence in Latin America, the Pacific Rim and Europe, the Vission is offered in English, Spanish and French.
More Good News
“Every time you buy a Vilter single-screw compressor package, you will get the Vilter Vission micro-controller,” says Regan. “We also offer the Vilter 5/15-year warranty on single-screw compressors. Internal rotating components are covered for five years and bearings for 15 years. The combination of Vission and 5/15 creates incredible value for our customers.”
This is great news for industries using the Vilter Vission. These include very large processing operations like food processing plants, breweries, cold storage facilities, grocery distribution centers and ice-skating rinks. “But it doesn’t stop at food, beverage or ice-rink applications,” says Regan. “Our equipment is also used in power generation plants, petrochemical and pharmaceutical applications. Vilter equipment is also used in gas compression.”
The company’s closest competitor offers a one/two/three-year warranty on its products. Clearly, Vilter is a more confident manufacturer. “We really stand behind our products, and this speaks to their reliability,” says Regan. “No one else has single-screw compressor technology as we do, and we are able to offer such a warranty because of the single screw’s balanced design.”
To qualify for this bold warranty, customers have to document things like oil and filter changes. Vilter eliminates all of the worry in this respect. “The Vilter Vission micro-controller offers maintenance screens so that when you change your oil, you can go right into the system to document the changes you made,” explains Regan. “No one else in the industry offers this.”
The internal documentation keeps track of 12 different maintenance checks. “The system even lets you know when you have to make the appropriate changes and services, and it reminds you of what you have to do and when you have to do it,” says Regan.
Mindful of the critical nature of so many of the industrial cooling applications using Vilter equipment, the company engineered a backup power supply and flash technology inside the Vission micro-controller. “So if the power does go down, all of those internal records are maintained,” says Regan.
Another of Vilter’s advancements in control technology is the Vilter Computer Control System (CCS). “The Vission controls mainly compressors, and it can also control condensers and air units to a certain extent,” explains Regan. “The Vilter CCS can control compressors, condensers, air units and all of the valving of a complete refrigeration system. Plus, it can communicate with the Vission and all competitive refrigeration equipment manufacturers’ protocols as well.”
The Vilter CCS is also used for process control, process batching and conveyor control. It collects data and can do reporting, monitoring, attendance recording, job costing and security monitoring. “One of the main benefits of the Vilter CCS is its temperature recording capabilities,” says Regan. Temperatures above a certain limit require immediate and specific action to lower the temperature. “And here is where the monitoring comes into play,” says Regan. “If the temperature rises above that critical point, the CCS will record that and will set off an alarm so that action can be taken immediately.”
Vilter produces more than controls. It offers a complete line of compressors, condensers, chillers and air units for integrated systems. “We call it sole sourcing,” says Regan. With one manufacturer supplying all the refrigeration equipment, the customer has a single point of contact. “And with Vilter, you get the most state-of-the-art equipment on the market,” Regan adds.