Garland Canada manufactures, sells and supports foodservice equipment around the world. In 2013, Garland approached Prolucid to lead the development and systems integration on a large, time sensitive motion control project. The purpose of the project was to develop an innovative grilling system using a complex new cooking method. Once this new technology was proven, the end-customer had plans to rollout the new system to locations across the United States. After an unsuccessful attempt at developing the new technology internally, the end-customer came to Garland with a very short timeline. This time restriction led Garland to National Instruments control hardware for rapid prototyping.
- Due to time restrictions, Garland required a prototyping control solution that would perform to the same degree as the custom production controls in development.
- Motion repeatability and flexibility were imperative. With so many unknowns in the new method, Garland needed full control from run to run to determine the process.
- The grilling system’s main purpose was to cook poultry. If strict temperature and cooking time requirements weren’t met there could be detrimental health effects. In order to meet cooking time requirements, tight control and the ability to reach and hold temperature was crucial.
- The end-customer’s plan to rollout the new system meant that the prototyping and validation stage needed to be extremely thorough but timely.
- A lack of internal National Instruments hardware and software expertise resulted in Garland approaching Prolucid to lead the development effort.
- Prolucid utilized National Instruments CompactRIO platform and LabVIEW software deployed to RT and FPGA for motion and heat closed loop (PID) control.
- A custom application was developed to enable motion control for flexible sequences, while maintaining tight tolerance and repeatability on moves.
- The application also included heat PID control to quickly respond to the changing cooking environment and temperature control to ensure elements would reach and hold temperatures precisely.
- Provided extensive testing and validation to meet foodservice industry requirements. Undercooked or overcooked product was unacceptable; motion control had to be precise.
- Prolucid provided support to Garland and the end-user to ensure that they had the internal expertise to meet their ongoing requirements and expectations.
Prolucid’s system design and software development expertise combined with National Instruments CompactRIO platform and LabVIEW development environment allowed for the rapid development of a custom real-time and FPGA application under a very tight timeline. In addition, the application provided the flexibility required to support final product testing and the accuracy and reliability to ensure the final product met its demanding requirements.
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“Prolucid was able to reduce the overall development time of our project by allowing us to build prototypes using National Instrument modules while our custom controls were being developed.”
“Through the expertise of Prolucid, we were able to create a functioning prototype that mimicked the behavior that we could expect with our custom controls without waiting for the hardware design and programming associated with a new control system.”
Joel Alo, P.Eng