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Multiprocess adaptive real-time control for a kiln

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One of the most important phases in ceramic manufacturing is firing the product. In this phase the goal is to maintain a temperature profile in the central line of the kiln. MARCK is a real-time control system, within the field of ceramic tile production, which improves the quality of the tiles produced. The application is built on the REAKT platform. REAKT is a toolkit and a methodology for the development of Real-time Knowledge based systems. The REAKT platform is the result of two ESPRIT projects - REAKT and REAKT II. MARCK has ascertained that a real-time control system can be used to control an industrial kiln. The need for increased flexibility and control in manufacturing operations is growing to the extent that plant automation and instrumentation must now improve. MARCK: 1. Increases process flexibility while reducing the cost of changing from stationary process to new conditions. This cost can be estimated in terms of time required and waste material. 2. Increases process quality, in terms of tile dimensions and planarity. Average waste products in the ceramics industry is now between 5% and 20%. 3. Reduces energy expenses. 4. Provides a framework for similar applications, evaluating REAKT flexibility for a particular application field. MARCK can be applied only to industrial kilns. Nevertheless, the REAKT platform, on which MARCK is constructed, is a more general system, useful to control every type of industrial process. The REAKT platform has been used not only in MARCK, but also in the RETRARO project, applied to the control of Autonomously Guided Vehicles (AGVs). The benefits are: -Better control of temperature profile. -Less wasted product. -Faster reaction to change in material conditions. -On-line control of critical production variables. -Production database with incidences registered. -Easy upgrading of the knowledge base of rules. -Friendly system with graphical interface. -Better overall quality of tiles.

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