ToxSorb Designs Custom Filtration System With WonderLogix
An ecosystem is a system, or group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms within their environment. For an ecosystem to remain healthy, these elements must operate in concert with one another. If one element within the ecosystem shifts to excess or shortage, the entire system can become endangered.
Phosphorus, in the form of phosphates, is essential to our health. It is used by the body to maintain bones and teeth and in the storing of energy. It is also added to drinking water to mitigate absorption of metals such as lead and copper that may be found in plumbing systems. However, excess amounts of phosphates used in modern agriculture can accumulate in key waterways and become a threat to their existence. This threat comes from rapid eutrophication, where the receiving waterway is over-fertilized from phosphate runoff. In eutrophication, plant growth occurs within the waterway’s ecosystem at a faster rate than the system can absorb dying plants, essentially choking the waterway and negatively impacting organisms that rely on the ecosystem.
Dangerous and Expensive Imbalance
To control for excess phosphorus and other pollutants there are wastewater filtration and treatment plants located throughout the world. Each has its own unique filtration requirements. ToxSorb specializes in the design and construction of customized filtration systems that allow the removal of specific contaminants. Using proprietary technology called Modified Activated Carbon (MAC), ToxSorb can design a system to remove contaminants specific to that area, along with common contaminants.
One of ToxSorb’s main concerns lay within the PLC code required to commission and operate the plant under design. ToxSorb’s unique technology achieves high efficiency thanks to complex control sequences, comprising multiple stages and sub-stages. As in many manufacturing and processing operations, traditional control system coding is often fragmented, error-ridden due to confusing input requirements, or in many cases, performed by engineers with no formal programming training. Coding errors mean the system won’t perform the filtration in an optimized manner or sometimes won’t perform it at all, endangering the downstream ecosystem.
Cost was another critical consideration. Deploying a new system often requires the hiring of control engineering contractors. And since each ToxSorb system design is tailor-made, control system programming is one of the main cost drivers for each filtration system project. As well, each additional requirement complicates the PLC code and increases programming costs. When onsite changes are required, these costs increase exponentially and can throw off the total project budget.
After researching and reviewing their options, ToxSorb turned to the WonderLogix platform and its automatic code generation, which eliminates the need for traditional programming—and external control engineers. With WonderLogix, ToxSorb’s internal process engineers could design and manage the project themselves. The process engineers—with no control engineering experience—enhanced their skills for basic control engineering and were able to manage the full process, from design to commissioning, in-house. With WonderLogix, ToxSorb operators could also troubleshoot and understand system behavior through visualization, and improve standardization and component reuse.
In the case of ToxSorb, the WonderLogix program proved to be intuitive and easy to master. For the new Phosphorus Removal Facility, two ToxSorb engineers were able to design a control system after only one day of training. Within a few weeks, they managed to complete the design and debug it, generate the required PLC code with a click of a button, download it to the facility’s control system, and commission it using the WondeLogix visual model—vs. the tedious process of traditional code debugging.
The WonderLogix platform addressed both of ToxSorb’s system design issues. For one, it could use natural language logic—instead of programming—so changes could easily be understood and implemented throughout the lifecycle of the system, directly by its designer, without any knowledge transfer. This allowed for the creation of a safer system and highly accurate code that eliminates most of the issues that plague traditional PLC code. ToxSorb was also able to reduce costs for the phosphorus removal project as well as two other projects currently in the works. Since the entire project was finished in only a few weeks, and without external resources—vs. the several months it would have taken with external contractors—this project cost significantly less than previous ones.
Ecosystems are about balance. By using the WonderLogix platform to design its new system, ToxSorb was able to regain control of a critical aspect of plant design and commissioning. Control that allows the company to continue its core mission of designing filtration systems to protect any ecosystem and environment.