Issue 5, p. 145 (2015)
There is a need in the mineral processing industry for an integrated system to monitor and control ISO compliance of sample stations. This paper discusses development and application of a control system toolbox to meet this need and to deliver complete ISO compliant functionality. Traditionally, automated sampling systems rely on generic equipment control standards to operate the individual sampling components. The design of the sampling equipment in these systems may comply with ISO requirements, but does the integrated system also comply? This paper describes application of a standardized software library that integrates the requirements of ISO sampling standards with customized equipment control units via a supervisory control module, to bridge this gap. These libraries are based on many years of combined sampling, electrical and control engineering experience. This appropriate blend of expertise has enabled us to seamlessly integrate standalone, automated, sampling devices into ISO compliant sampling systems. All components have well-defined interfaces as well as common functional control and reporting mechanisms. The result is a fully integrated sample station that performs as an interconnected, ISO compliant quality system. The benefit of a standardized and integrated sample station is consistent production of reliable and accurate results. Trustworthy sample data gives Quality Assurance and Quality Control analysts, technicians and plant management a high degree of confidence that they have a full understanding of their material's properties and commercial worth. Confidence in sampling results is essential as the quality of the material is inexorably linked to a company's reputation as a reliable supplier of quality products and, ultimately, to their bottom line.