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Kruse Controls Automates Sand and Gravel Dredge Lisa Rose

The operator at the lever-less console.

The operator at the lever-less console.

The cutter dredge Lisa Rose was fitted with a new fully-automated control system.

The cutter dredge Lisa Rose was fitted with a new fully-automated control system.

A dredge operator holds the game controller which is used along with two redundant PC’s with touch screen monitors to control the dredge and booster pump.

A dredge operator holds the game controller which is used along with two redundant PC’s with touch screen monitors to control the dredge and booster pump.

The Main Screen display is one of many interactive screens available to the operator. It provides the operator with all the dredge parameters at a glance. Each function is represented by a distinct color in its bar graph. After several days, the operator

The Main Screen display is one of many interactive screens available to the operator. It provides the operator with all the dredge parameters at a glance. Each function is represented by a distinct color in its bar graph. After several days, the operator

This past winter, Jay Wise of Kruse Controls replaced the operating system on the cutter suction dredge Lisa Rose with the company’s complete automation package. The operator interface consists solely of a $19 Gamepad and two redundant personal computers equipped with touch screen monitors.

The dredge is owned by Tilcon Delaware and is operating in Tilcon’s Dover, Delaware sand and gravel pit.

Built in the late 1990’s by American Mechanical Dredge, the Lisa Rose was originally supplied with a PLC (programmable logic controller) but not integrated by the technician hired for the job.

In 2000, Tilcon hired Kruse Controls to integrate the system, and Wise did the wiring and installed the code to get the dredge operating in a semi-automatic mode with the original controller. Tilcon had specified that they did not want lever controls, so a console was not installed by the manufacturer.

This past winter, Tilcon retained Kruse Controls to replace the system with a fully-automated control system. The hardware is off-the-shelf Allen-Bradley equipment, including a PLC. The code consists of the automation package that Kruse Controls has developed for aggregate dredges over the years. This includes automatic swing reversal, automatic step-ahead, automatic swing speed based on vacuum, as well as automatic sensing and reaction to cave-ins, automatic control of the booster pump to keep the intake at a steady 15 psi, and other features.

Using the inexpensive Gamepad has several advantages, says Wise. It is designed for use and abuse by children playing computer games, and is therefore of extremely sturdy manufacture. If it breaks, at $19 it is easily replaced. Also, as the average age of workers decreases, the operators are younger and more accustomed to this kind of control system. A wireless version is available, which allows the operator to move around the dredge and still maintain control.

It takes Wise 30 minutes to program the buttons on the controller, and it has more features than many full operating consoles, he says.

Jay Wise will present a paper at WEDA XXVIII on Kruse Contour, a new automation feature that allows a channel template to be entered into the automation system. His talk is scheduled for Monday, June 9 in the afternoon session 2B.

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