On a Manufacturing Line, Control is Everything

Imagine a car without a steering wheel and dashboard, a TV without a remote, a microwave without a touch panel. Might be a little tough to get things done, right?

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Imagine a car without a steering wheel and dashboard, a TV without a remote, a microwave without a touch panel. Might be a little tough to get things done, right?

“Control panels are the heart of an industrial system, whether it is a metal plating line or a wastewater treatment system,” said Tony Coward, chief environmental engineer at A Brite Company, a manufacturing and services company that provides treatment products, treatment systems, recycling systems and custom solutions to industry worldwide.

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The outside of Gabriel’s control box before the upgrade.

Control panels may seem ubiquitous but they serve very specialized purposes. They typically are universal control boxes adapted to a customized situation.

“We recently did some work with Gabriel Ride Control in Chickasha, Oklahoma,” Coward continued. This manufacturer of vehicle shock absorbers wanted to be able to better control and monitor a plating line wastewater treatment system.

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The outside of Gabriel’s control box after the upgrade.

“What started out as a request to repair their system turned into a system revamp that allowed for failsafe operation and remote monitoring,” he said.

The features of the Gabriel system include touch screen access at the main panel; remote access by tablet, laptop or mobile phone through an app; and monitoring of several parameters, including: tank level sensors; chemical levels; temperature; filter pressure; pump motor speed and flow; air scrubber pressure; pH values; and ORP values.

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The inside of Gabriel’s control box before the upgrade.

By reviewing the whole of the system, Coward and his team were able to consider what to take out, what to add in and what to keep in the way of automation equipment.

“The controller is really the heartbeat of what is going on with the system,” Coward said. “By taking a universal controller and customizing it to a revised line, we were able to tailor the best monitoring system for their plant and situation.”

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The inside of Gabriel’s control box after the upgrade.

The management of Gabriel wanted to be able to monitor the system easily and quickly. They were particularly interested in lowering maintenance cost, making diagnostics easier, having customized screens, and utilizing an object-oriented (intuitive) display.

“What we were able to do for Gabriel was create a system wherein, by just walking by the panel, we see that everything is in working order because it is all green,” Coward explained.

Proper controls provide for processes that operate at set levels. This is imperative, Coward stressed, or else a manufacturing line can be shut down.


A Brite Company has been a major player in the metal finishing industry for decades. They are a leader in that industry in wastewater treatment, controls and equipment as well as lab services and support. For more information, contact A Brite Company at (888) 822-7483.

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