In many production processes the temperature is an important parameter for the end result of the product. Consequently, knowing how to control temperature is critical to proper operation. This is regardless of the process being manual or automated.
When aiming to control temperature in the production process, it is important to take into account the following 3 aspects:
- the power of the heat / cold source;
- thermal mass;
Let’s explore each of them in more detail.
In any temperature controlled system, there has to be a source of heat or coldness to influence the temperature of the process. Besides that, there has to be a way of actually controlling how this source influences the process. Consider, for example, the pasteurization of produce. If you can measure the temperature of the produce, you can automate these controls with a simple logic controller that turns the setting lower when the produce reaches the desired temperature and maintain it at that level. This example requires us to know how low the setting has to be. This may be sufficient for some applications but sometimes more advanced temperature control is required.
The thermal mass of an object determines how much energy it takes to change the temperature of that object. This energy is not lost but stored inside the object. Therefore, the thermal mass combined with the power of the source determine the speed at which the temperature changes. This is an important feature in temperature control since it allows you to reach the desired temperature as fast as possible without overheating or undercooling your production unit.
Another important aspect of temperature control is insulation, since it determines the exchange of temperature with the environment. Consequently, the energy required to keep an object at a certain temperature, depends on the insulation used.
Some temperature-controlled processes do not require a lot of training to get them right. However, if you run more complex temperature-controlled production processes, it might be a good idea to consider automating them with the right type of sensors and controller logic. This reduces human errors and allows to shift attention to tasks requiring human capabilities.
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