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Watlow’s F4T temperature and process controller now has enhanced capabilities, including advanced data logging and graphical trend charts. Andy Pye met with company executives to discuss the thinking behind the development.

Process controller focuses on ease of setup


he F4T is a 1/4 DIN temperature process controller with touch- screen technology that provides a powerful, flexible and easy to use device in one versatile package.

Aimed at end users in process plant, as well as OEMs’manufacturing environmental test chambers, where the device is incorporated into the customer’s product, it features a 4.3in (109.22mm), capacitive colour touch panel with high-resolution and graphical user interface that provides customised control for demanding applications. The latest version of the F4T controller

comes with COMPOSER with INTUITION,Watlow’s graphical software for configuring and customising the company’s controllers, and which connects with the controller via Ethernet. It helps users visualise and easily implement control and automation. Task-specific views simplify all aspects of setting up new controllers, includingmanaging the inputs and outputs frompluggable flexmodules, setting up functions such as control loops and alarms and creating and editing profiles. COMPOSER offersmany features which help implement applicationsmore quickly

and with fewer errors. It speeds up and simplifies commissioning and archiving and documents controller setup. Some of these attributes include a function block diagramwith live data and error indication, multi-language support, a dashboard view, multi-language support, a configurable interface and integrated video tutorials. Additional features that specifically

supportWatlow’s F4T include a profile editor for speeding up profile creation and editing, fast and reliable Ethernet support for connecting one ormore controllers and a calibration view with on-screen instructions and automation, which reduces downtime by simplifying the calibration verification procedure. “Although we introduced the F4T in

May 2015, we continue to test andmake enhancements,” says Craig Dennis, ProductManager. “Our goal is to provide themost powerful, best performing controller on themarket for a variety of applications.” The F4T is also the replacement for

Watlow’s established SERIES 4 controller. Currently, there is no established end-of- life date for the SERIES F4. The F4T comes with backwards-compatible Modbus addresses for factors such as

process value, set point and critical profile run-time parameters. Other features of the F4T include agency

certifications (such as UL, FM, CE, RoHS, WEEE and NEMA 4X/IP65) and a variety of communications options, including EthernetModbus TCP and SCPI, and EIA 232/485Modbus RTU.

DATA LOGGING The F4T version 3.0 is available with encrypted data log records to helpmeet industry requirements such as Nadcap (National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program), AMS 2750E and CRF 21 Part 11. Other benefits include the ability to log directly to a USB memory stick, transfer data log files over Ethernet or to the USB host ports and select which parameters to data log. Version 3.0 also allows graphical

trending: users can create up to four trend screens and can scroll through amatching colour legend of parameters on the trend chart. There is also a snapshot screen capture feature. The trend chart image can be saved to a USB host port for viewing, emailing or printing. The new controller combines the

functionality ofmultiple devices, including December 2016 /// Environmental Engineering /// 31

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