Special Report: Eurotherm boosts efficiency, power of controllers

April 1, 2015

Eurotherm by Schneider Electric, Ashburn, Va., aims to enhance plastics processing operations with hardware updates to human machine interface (HMI) screens, programmable logic controller (PLC) designs and pre-engineered process and production monitoring and control systems. 

The company, marking its 50-year anniversary this year as a supplier of plastics-only machine control systems to OEMs and end users, improves manufacturing performance by incorporating updated digital or electronic innovations, says Steve Schroeder, Eurotherm's business development manager for plastics.

Eurotherm (NPE Booth W2333) now will offer two melt-pressure controllers and indicators previously produced for Dynisco under a private labeling agreement. Those instruments, known as the UPR and ATC 700- and 800-series melt-pressure indicators and controllers, and the 1390-series strain gage melt-pressure indicator, are now the Eurotherm P304 precision controller/indicator and the 32h8i strain-gage melt-pressure indicator. "The P304 offers a versatile solution while the 32h8i provides accuracy with an emphasis on simplicity, ideal for all plastics processing," added Schroeder.

The instruments are now offered by Eurotherm following Dynisco's decision to move to a new type of discrete control system. "They are robust devices and there are many processors still demanding them," says Schroeder. The new units from Eurotherm feature the latest iteration of software, making the controllers more efficient and powerful. The new instruments provide a slide-in replacement to the existing housing. The user "can remove the inner components of the old system, replacing them with the Eurotherm version," says Schroeder.  By replacing the entire controller (which fits in the same cutout), users will gain improved display configuration and off-line configuration support with the indicators through the iTools software configuration tool.

The Eurotherm Optima Plus family of general-purpose HMI devices debuts a unit with a 15-inch screen at the NPE. The high-performance, low-power, PC-based unit upgrades to an Intel Atom processor for use with the Windows XP or 7 operating systems, while the CE platform uses the Samsung ARM Cortex-A8 processor. A thin-film transistor touch screen is combined with the other hardware features in a single housing constructed for harsh environments. 

The optional 15-inch screen can replace the 12-inch screen used by the previous iteration of the device. The faster processor allows for the display of sharper, clearer, high-definition (resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels) images compared to standard-definition resolution with the prior operator station, says Schroeder. The system can be ordered pre-configured with several HMI software packages. Users can configure their screen packages more easily; Eurotherm has updated the programming sequences that allow for more-intuitive setup, says Schroeder.


Eurotherm's flagship machine control system, the MACO Compact series, features specific screen packages, processing cards and programming applicable to injection molding, extrusion and blow molding operations. Eurotherm also has lower-cost, pre-engineered systems designed for each process.

Eurotherm updated its OptiPak II controller, intended as a cost-competitive, dedicated and application-specific PLC system for injection molding processes. Compared to the MACO Compact system for injection molding process control, the OptiPak II controller features similar functionality but with a finite amount of input/output (up to 56 digital outputs) and enough temperature loops to fit small- to medium-sized machines, says Schroeder.

Eurotherm also will display the MACO Compact-based retrofit kit it has developed for the Van Dorn HT model. "These machines are still running in the field, but the controls are obsolete and you cannot get program cards for them or service them," says Schroeder. Eurotherm' pre-engineered system fits every make and model in the Van Dorn HT line. Molders replace the operator station, switch out the control rack, and get the entire system — featuring the controller programming software, engineering and installation and system-response times as quick as 1 millisecond — for under $20,000, says Schroeder.

Breeze llc, Eurotherm's pre-engineered package for blow molding parison control, is finding greater use for showing time-based, position-based control of a parison for standard blow molding machines, including wheel types. The system is offered as a replacement to Hunkar and Moog-style parison controller systems. 

The pre-engineered EM-3c for extrusion is offered with a bank of individual temperature-control cards and a bank of pressure cards for discrete temperature or pressure control. The system is suited for use with smaller extrusion lines. Pre-configured screens and standard control system definitions keep system price down, says Schroeder. The standard system is set up for temperature and pressure monitoring or temperature and pressure control, but other variables can be brought into the evaluation, such as speed, energy or position, says Schroeder. 


At NPE, Eurotherm will also discuss its remote access and troubleshooting program for its MACO Compact that provides immediate service help. The MACO Customer First Program permits remote troubleshooting of operation, setup and programming, and helps resolve the loading of any programming changes the customer wants. A Eurotherm technician can evaluate the machine's logic and operator screens independent of what is occurring at the machine. Training can also be conducted remotely through the program.

Mikell Knights, senior correspondent

[email protected]


Eurotherm by Schneider Electric

419-559-6134, www.eurotherm.com