• GEA has launched its new X Control system for centrifuges. Image: GEA
    GEA has launched its new X Control system for centrifuges. Image: GEA

GEA has introduced X Control, a control system for centrifuges, providing improvements in terms of integration, connectivity, data processing and safety while laying the foundation for the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The X Control will make data collection and analysis faster and easier in the future, including self-optimization of the entire system. The increased computing power will also improve integration into SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems. Cloud computing also opens up new possibilities for extended services, such as the provision of customized software functions. The new X Control will initially be introduced for selected individual machines. Availability for other GEA centrifuge types will be continuously expanded during the course of the year.

Where automation is heading

Machine controls have evolved rapidly in recent years. In the past, values were monitored and readjusted by hand or automated controllers. Today, we have reached a level where mass data is collected and analysed with the utmost precision. The next step is self-learning systems.

The new centrifuge control therefore provides the basis for the integration of AI algorithms. This means that the control system recognises patterns, draws conclusions and automatically transfers them to the control system.

Manufacturer-independent plug and produce concept

Digitisation is the driving force behind this development. The core elements, i.e. microcontrollers, and processors, are becoming ever faster and more powerful. The same applies to networks, bandwidths and transmission rates. Enormous amounts of data and information in a short period of time open up completely new possibilities for control systems. The new GEA X Control can use high computing power to implement new interfaces for integration into process line control systems.

With the new control concept, GEA is increasingly relying on MTP (Module Type Package), i.e. manufacturer-independent communication between components and systems. This enables users to adapt their processes even faster and more efficiently to changing market requirements by integrating all process steps quickly and easily.

The GEA X Control solves customer requirements for resource efficiency with high throughput and maximum product quality.
The GEA X Control solves customer requirements for resource efficiency with high throughput and maximum product quality.
New opportunities for cloud computing

The new GEA X Control also brings important improvements in terms of cloud computing: permanent connectivity allows both extensive process data storage outside the machine control system and linking with other relevant data for the machine and the process.

With the new GEA X Control, new customer requirements can be met faster and better in the future. High throughput and the best product quality are still priorities.

Improved services

With X Control, GEA can customise its services by connecting to the GEA cloud. Acute, planned and proactive services can be performed remotely as needed. Process analysis and optimisation or the installation of new software functions can also be performed remotely.

In order to provide customers with the fastest possible service and to ensure the availability of skilled personnel, GEA is already deploying some of its automation and service technicians across all divisions worldwide. This will be expanded in the future. The new centrifuge control system will ensure consistent harmonization with other divisions, such as GEA Liquid & Powder Technologies (LPT).

Compliant with cyber security requirements

The GEA X Control meets the growing requirements for IT security. The development process is TÜV-tested and certified according to IEC 62443-4-1. The new GEA X Control generation includes various optional cyber security levels – adapted to specific customer requirements. Regular updates – similar to a computer operating system – ensure continuous security of the plant IT.

Expansion by the end of 2024

The new GEA X Control will initially be introduced for selected separator and decanter types for the dairy and renewables industry from the first quarter of 2024. During the year, other centrifuge types will follow, and by the end of the year, all new machines will be equipped with the new control system.

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