AutoBatch Chemical Injection System
Collin Boettcher, Scott Clark, Eric Lam, Meredith Shiflet
The automated chemical mixing project was given to four students: Collin Boettcher, Scott Clark, Eric Lam, and Meredith Shiflet. These students, under the direction of Team Leader Scott Clark, formed the unofficial business entity known as N2 Line Solutions. The group’s partnering client for the automated chemical mixing project is Microfirm, Inc. The company is a small corporation that specializes in electronics, automation, and sensing for the agricultural industry. Microfirm was formerly owned and operated by Dr. Marvin Stone; however, the company was recently sold to Mr. Kent Dieball. Dr.Stone remains employed by Microfirm and is a former Oklahoma State BAE Regents Professor. He is renowned for his research and application of in-field sensing and automation in the agricultural industry, such as AIM Command and the Greenseeker technology (Stone, 2012). The presented project concept consists of developing an automated chemical mixing system for large-scale agricultural applicators. The product should provide a faster refill time and reduce chemical spillage and overall operator exposure. This system should allow commercial applicators to spend more time treating fields and less time mixing up prescriptions. N2 Line Solutions will execute the conceptual design and prototype testing for the mixing system for the algorithm development. The concept should include a carrier solution with at least two chemical additives. Once the desired chemical volumes have been selected, the mixing system should operate a series of automatic control valves based on flowmeter readings to deliver the desired amount of chemical products in the proper sequence as requested without a batching tank. The team will use an Allen Bradley programmable logic controller (plc) to monitor flow and control the electric components within the mixing system. The team should also develop a modest input console to provide validation of the system’s accuracy at the conclusion of the project. Once the concept has been perfected, Microfirm will utilize the design recommendations and manufacture a full-scale system. Development should eventually allow this platform to be able to communicate to a Virtual Terminal (VT) within a spray rig to select the batch and record the load via CANBUS or potentially become operational through a mobile device application.
Commercial chemical applicators spray hundreds of acres daily, but they can spend up to twenty percent of their time mixing chemicals and filling their spray rig solution tanks. N2 Line Solutions has partnered with Microfirm, Inc. to develop an automated batch chemical mixing and loading system. The proposed concept would help reduce fill time and contain a clean in place function to help alleviate the risk of human exposure to chemicals. The automated fill system must be user friendly, consistently provide accurately mixed batch chemical loads of all sizes, record and summarize the dosage calculations, and be cost effective for the end user.
Scope of Work
This project focuses on developing the proof of concept prototype for an automated chemical mixing system. Not only should the system allow for accurately measured chemicals to be injected into the streamline of the carrier solution, the system should also allow for manual chemical addition via an inductor. This system will reduce handler chemical exposure and provide a means to log and transmit chemical batch concentrations and information. The original concept expectations and requirements set forth by Microfirm, Inc.