About the ERC Series: Unique Innovation in Electronic (Reference) Pressure Control

Cv: up to 6.6·10E-2  |  Max. Temperature: -10 /70°C  |  Max. Pressure: 200 barg


How PCS came to solve customer needs for electronic precision process control

Process engineers and researchers all over the world are more and more familiar with Equilibar® dome-loaded back pressure regulators. The robust design, excellent performance and wide operating range are fully adopted by the industry. In a response to customer needs and frequently asked questions, PCS developed its own electronic pressure controller. This initial design regarded the multi-channel electronic reference controller, enabling automated control of reactor pressure in high-throughput-multi-reactor-systems, using Equilibar technology –  driven by the needs of European catalysis researchers that turned to Pressure Control Solutions for help in solving challenges that no existing product could solve. See also this blog on catalyst research

Soon after this was launched, it became clear that researchers and engineers in other area’s of expertise had similar needs. Electronic control options for their Equilibar regulators were much desirable also in other applications outside catalysis. Pressure Control Solutions therefore continued its development, resulting in the ERC Series: Electronic (reference) pressure controllers available in a 1-, 2 and 4-channel version for a wide range of applications. In the meantime we have also applied the ERC Series successfully in process applications that don’t include a back pressure regulator. We can safely state now that the ERC Series has become one of the most successful product innovations by Pressure Control Solutions. 

So although originally intended for electronic reference control, this instrument now has a proven track record for many other applications. Whether or not combined with an Equilibar® back pressure regulator, an electronic pressure controller in the ERC Series enables stability and repeatability that is unparalleled in precision pressure control. Watch the video below for a further introduction.

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Design specifications:

  • Control pressure ranges from -1 up to 200 bar (g)
  • 1:100 turndown in pressure control
  • Excellent control stability (<0,01%) & repeatability (<0,02%)
  • Compact design & easy piping
  • Multi-channel designs with 1 central inlet
  • Ultra-low consumption of reference gas through unique flow restrictor design 
  • Facilitating high safety standards
    – Controlled depressurization by design (dp/dt decreases during depressurization)
    – Safely vent chemicals by means of (centralized) captured vent
  • Analog signal (0…20/4…20 mA & 0…5/0…10 Vdc) 
  • Optional: many digital communication protocols available
    see below for all options
  • In-situ tuning and troubleshooting over RS-232 with diagnostics software

The ERC Series electronic reference controller combines all this in one design.

How this electronic reference  pressure controller (ERC) is built up 

The basis of the ERC is a 1-, 2- or 4-channel manifold, containing one centralized input and output. The units can even be connected to create an 8-, 12-, … up to 96-channel controller!

A high precision pressure sensor monitors the process pressure and is connected to a PID-controller. The PID-controller controls the proportional valve that will increase or decrease the process pressure when needed. The flow is restricted by means of a high precision capillary, that is selected based on process requirements to optimize the ratio between consumption of reference gas and control speed. This flow restrictor can be easily replaced to adapt consumption and control speed of the application. As a user, you can limit the flow consumption to 0…30 mln/min under nominal conditions. Depending on the chosen sensor, the ERC unit is capable of a control range between -1…200 bar gauge.
As process engineer, you set the desired pressure by means of an analog signal or, optionally, a digital control system of your choice. Options include DeviceNet, ProfiBus, ProfiNet, Ethercat , FlowBus, ModBus RTU,  ModBus TCP/IP, CANopen. All this results in a pressure controller with an unequivelled control stability of 0,01% and a repeatability of 0,02%, or better!

Facilitating safety

Although Equilibar back pressure regulators are equipped with a diaphragm that can withstand 4 times the maximum allowable working pressure, the harsh conditions that a back pressure regulator needs to withstand can cause damage to it. This could eventually lead to process media escaping through the reference port of the dome loaded regulator. Therefore, in  the multi-channel design, we capture the outlet of the flow restrictors to one central outlet that you can connect to the waste of your system. You can direct the media coming from your reactor safely to the vent of your system.

Example applications

The ERC Series can be used in a wide variety of applications: From vacuum applications to process lines for challenging fluids and precision pressure applications up to 200 bar – thanks to its versatility and broad customization options, the ERC Series can do it all. Presented here are examples of applications in which the ERC has been successfully applied.

This ERC Series is truly an all-rounder, so there are many more possibilities! Are you interested to find out what the ERC Series can do for you? Contact us for direct advice and expertise!

Stable & precise pressure control –  100 micron flow restrictor

This chart visualizes the speed and accuracy with which the measured pressure follows changes in the setpoint pressure, as well as the corresponding consumption of reference gas (the chart represents a test with a flow of air ). We have similar charts for your reference for the other flow restrictor sizes – feel free to ask for a copy.

Want to know more?

Are you curious how the ERC Series can serve your process conditions and application needs? Contact our engineers to explore possibilities or get a demonstration.  Or open the chat at the right bottom corner of this window.

Armand Bergsma, Matthias Bogar and Mitch Spronck look forward to hear from you!

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