Improving Cooling Water System Capacity

  • September 06, 2013
  • Siemens
  • Case Study

PCT Engineered Systems (PCT) cooling capacity needed to be increased dramatically to meet business demands and the company was able to quickly and efficiently meet this challenge using Siemens controllers and drives. PCT located in Davenport, Iowa provides engineering services, automation systems integration, and custom machine building worldwide. They are a growing global leader designing and implementing BroadBeam industrial electron beam systems, which continue to grow in popularity as a fast, precise, cost-effective technology used for ink drying, curing, cross-linking and sterilization. Additionally, their award-winning Innovation Team has extensive experience in empowering American manufacturers to improve their operations through increased productivity, higher quality and improved safety.

Electron Beam (EB) technology has enjoyed an enormous burst in popularity in recent years, as manufacturers continue to embrace its value as an environmentally friendly, energy-saving curing and crosslinking solution applicable across a wide range of industries. As a result of this newfound interest, PCT has experienced a substantial rise in orders for is cutting-edge BroadBeam EB systems.

Since these water-cooled systems undergo rigorous and lengthy shop floor testing before being shipped to customers, PCT found itself consuming staggering volumes of water as it tested and conditioned these machines. PCT decided to “take the bull by the horns” and rethink the way they served their water supply needs. The PCT manufacturing facility required a high-volume, high pressure, flexible cooling water solution to replace its current undersized system. The new system needed to supply water across a variety of consumption levels, while requiring minimal investment, setup, supervision and maintenance. PCT anticipated further facility expansions in the near term, so it was important to implement a water cooling system that would be flexible enough to grow along with the increase in production. It was imperative that PCT’s new system be able to regulate the amount of water delivered according to the production demand, as well as offer efficient and straightforward controls and diagnostics for fast, easy production team use and independent, automatic operation. PCT determined that an optimal system would consist of three 50hp high-volume process water pumps, each controlled by independent AC drives, as well as two cooling water pumps controlled by soft starters.

Since PCT is an OEM as well as a systems integrator, they recognized that any in-house installation must be executed quickly and efficiently so that PCT can focus on its primary business of customer service and machine production. Designing and implementing a new cooling water system ‘from scratch’ meant that a quick and versatile solution was necessary, with a design that accommodated optimally efficient design, manufacture, operation and maintenance.


PCT implemented the new Cooling Water System using Siemens S7-1516 PLC, Sinamics G120 AC Drives, Simocode Motor Controllers, Sirius SoftStarters, and a 22” Comfort Panel HMI. The S7-1516 PLC provided a familiar and intuitive programming environment with Siemens Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) Portal. TIA Portalis one software environment for all engineering, automation, drives, and factory automation,to make configuration, programming, commissioning and maintenance efficient and integrated. The G120 AC drives were configured using StartDrive software integrated into TIA Portal. Finally, the Comfort Panel provided a robust and highly responsive HMI that was easy to program and quickly provided the operator with critical pump and system data.

PCT was able to use the new features of TIA Portaland the S7-15016 PLC to decrease design and build time compared to other models they have used in the past. The standardized terminal modules for the S7-1500 line of Signal Modules makes for a more efficient design and reduced costs of maintaining spare parts. The terminal modules multiple-position feature allowed for easy and fast wiring of the signal modules that contributed to the overall reduced build time, fewer wiring mistakes and easier troubleshooting. The on-board, color display on the S7-1500 greatly helped reduce commissioning and startup time with the ability to quickly set the IP address, view and reset faults, and control the operating mode of the PLC without the connecting a programming terminal. The display provides non-engineers with information to quickly diagnose and correct errors maximizing up-time of the Cooling Water system and increasing overall productivity. The TIA Portal V12software also contributed to reduced programming time since it is a fully integrated programming environment for the PLC, HMI and drive programming. TIA Portal incorporates StartDrive that PCT to quickly and easily program, control and monitor important pump data.


PCT’s updated system now monitors water pressure, temperature and tank conditions to maintain the optimum cooling water supply to the production facility. At full capacity, the system can deliver up to 100 psi (+/- 5psi) at flow rates from 30 gallons per minute (gpm) to 600 gpm, depending on demand. The water is cooled using a plate and frame heat exchanger with 10 degree change capacity at full load and a 375 BTU/hour cooling tower.

Previously, the undersized water system limited the volume of machines that could be manufactured and tested at any given time. The improved Cooling Water system now supplies sustained levels of high-volume water to five extra production bays, increasing overall production capacity by up to 50%. Incorporating state of the art control devices and software PCT has lowered maintenance and programming time allowing more time to focus on building superior electron beam systems for customers.

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