Do you think Occam’s Razor applies to modern control solutions?

Does Occam’s Razor apply to modern control solutions?

Some 800 years ago, English philosopher William of Ockham developed a principle giving precedence to simplicity. Called Occam’s Razor, his problem-solving principle stated that in the event of two competing solutions, the simpler one is preferable. We often express this as “Entities not to be multiplied beyond necessity.”

In modern terms, this means that not every project needs a complex and expensive control solution. This is particularly true of retrofit projects. The solution must fit the space, the budget, and the timescale of the client. Moreover, the more complex the solution, the harder it is to maintain and service, particularly in remote locations. Providing reliable automation solutions is where control supplier, IMO Precision Controls excels.

Dam Control Solution

Since its construction in 2004, the Alaco Dam located in Calabria, southern Italy has used its original control system. However, over time they have experienced issues with many of the components fitted at the time of its construction. These included control issues with the water valves at the bottom of the dam wall.

The owner called in an established local system integrator to develop a proposal to modernise the control system. They decided to approach IMO Automazione in Italy for technical advice, and to assist in the development of a control solution.

They decided that the controls needed to be overhauled. Their recommendation was to use the IMO i3A intelligent controller, working in conjunction with an iView Advanced HMI. The i3A controller combines a PLC, HMI and OpenBus communications technology into a single, easy-to-mount unit. Its design matches requirements for both process control and factory automation applications.

Installation of the i3A controllers was near valves at the base of the dam, with Ethernet communication to the iView HMI in the control room. Computers store all historical information about the dam operation and positioning alarms.

iView hi-res touch screen HMI models range from 4.3” to 15”, and work with basic to more complex and demanding applications. The compact design offers communication and data logging via USB, Ethernet, Serial ports and removable media ports. It’s IoT functionality also allows secure remote connectivity. Other functions include Trending, XY Graph, Alarm Monitoring and Time Scheduling. iView also supports recipes, alarms, data loggers and operation logging.

According to the lead engineer, “This particular project completion was not only ahead of schedule but more efficient and cost-effective. This has given us the competitive edge needed to succeed.”


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