What did they need?

The customer was looking for a custom-built machine to Passivate the Cooling Radiators on the Formula 1 Cars they build.

Passivation is when the component is treated in such a way that the result creates an outer layer which protects the component from corrosion ideal in a cooling radiator on a F1 car.

Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd needed to build a machine that would enable them to heat a fluid to a set temperature and a set pressurization via Human Machine Interface [HMI].

This Fluid would then be pump around the system at a controlled flow rate for a period of time until the process was completed.


How did we achieve it?

We worked in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd and Amptronik Control Systems who did the mechanical and installation work to create a control system that had the flexibility to control heating and cooling PID loops as well as Flow control PID (proportional integral derivative) loops.

We designed a system to be housed in a custom-built mild steel enclosure sprayed semi-gloss white RAL9003 to fit on the customers machine section.

At the heart of the system was an Allen Bradley
CompactLogix™ 5370 Controller on an Ethernet I/P network connected to a PowerFlex 525 Inverter Drive and an Allen Bradley PanelView Plus 7 Human Machine Interface [HMI] Terminal. The PLC had several PID Loops to control the Flow rate, Heating and Cooling.

The Flow Rate PID Loop controlled the flow rate of the fluid using the Analog Flow control valves (BV4 & BV5) to allow the correct Litre/Min of Flow set on the HMI terminal. The PID Loop used the feedback from the Flow Meters (FM1 & FM2) to accurately adjust the output from the flow valves.

The Heating PID Loop controlled the fluid temperature to within ± 0.1 degree by either adjusting the output to the circulation heater or by changing the state of BV6 valve to divert the Hot fluid through a fan to cool it if it became to hot during the process.

The installation was carried out by our partners Amptronik Control Systems at the customers site in Brackley, Northampton.

The software was written by our in-house team of software engineers from a Functional Design Specification written by Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd. We used a mixture of Ladder code and statement listing to create the final software.

The system was then commissioned by our Software Commissioning Engineers at the end users’ site.