Product Review: Eurotherm 6100A
If you want to monitor a simple process or deploy a small batch application, some recorders on the market can do that more cheaply than a proper control system. I’ve used plenty of wireless recorders, connecting to the gateway using Modbus for local visualization.
Today, please welcome – at Visaya for the first time! – Eurotherm, a Schneider Electric company! The 6100A paperless graphic recorder can do a ton of things in the field! Let’s discuss its most relevant features. If you want to learn more, then click that device directory on the right.
Disclaimer: This product review examines only features, not performance. If you’ve used this device, feel free to share your experience in the comments.
Whatcha got there?
The 6100A is the compact option in Eurotherm’s graphic recorder line. This company has a huge list of controllers, scalable recorders, and others. We chose the 6100A because even the compact version offers lots of possibilities.
It has a rather passé design, with its 5.5-inch graphic display at a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. Not the best out there, but it’ll do. It weighs 3 kilograms, with 144 millimeters in width, 144 in height, and 246.5 in depth using a standard terminal cover. The manual gives tips on how to fit the device perfectly in your panel.
Even though it has a touchscreen, it has fixed options to navigate the device menu! Visually it’s strange and again, kind of dated, but maybe it offers a great user experience in return. If you’ve used one, then drop me a comment and let me know!
The software design is simple but also not updated with today’s user-focused concepts. However, it resembles its competitors, and you can read data as vertical and horizontal trending, bar graphs, circular trends, or numeric values.
The 6100A has an internal memory up to 96 megabytes, but you can also use removable media like flash drives, SD cards, USB sticks or even FTP servers through the Ethernet connection. The manual has an excellent table showing how long you can store data, depending on the media and sample rate.
Of course, data storage is the most important point in this sort of device. The FTP server option gives plenty of capacity for future process analyses or audits. Many recorders start deleting your oldest data when they reach max memory, so keep that in mind if you want to keep your numbers a little longer.
What can it do?
The 6100A can pull data from multiple inputs and record it all for a long time, if used wisely! But it can do a lot more than that. For instance, you can have batch control, alarm indicators, and other possibilities.
This compact version has up to 18 input channels that can measure current, voltage, resistance, RTDs, thermocouples, and contact closure. For output, this version allows up to 12 relays, and you can use it as a master to read up to 32 slaves using the Modbus TCP/IP or Modbus RS485.
On the downside, this version lacks analog outputs to operate control valves, drivers, things like that. Its competitors don’t have as many outputs, but you can find at least one analog on most of them. To connect the recorder with your control system, you have some protocol options: Modbus TCP/IP, Modbus RTU, and EtherNet/IP server. But what about PROFINET? Too much to ask?
If you want remote access, then you can use its Ethernet TCP/IP and web server. You don’t need specific software to read the device remotely. On the downside, the web server only provides visualization, no configuration.
Why should I care?
The 6100A has lots of useful options for control in the field using math equations, batch controls, totalizers, and others.
First, if you have a batch control to automate, then the 6100A can give you a cheap solution. Beyond that, you can have totalizers, counters, timers, and more. It has up to 128 virtual channels for all that. You can also produce up to 10 simple reports that you can send directly to the serial ASCII text printer. These reports can include batch names and specific messages as well as process values.
As for security, you can have unlimited usernames and set up specific permissions and passwords to limit access. The 6100A can also speak Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, German, Dutch, French, and English!
The lite version of Eurotherm’s Bridge software comes free with the device. You have to buy the full version, of course. This software allows you to access the device remotely from anywhere, using area networks, intranets, the internet, and dial-up connections.
The Eurotherm rep says that the 6100A is ideal for power plants, water and wastewater facilities, sterilizers, autoclaves, AMS2750E heat treatment applications, and 21 CFR Part 11 life science applications. It also has electromagnetic compatibility and some protections, such as IP66.
The Eurotherm 6100A can do a lot for a little device! It lacks analog output and some standard protocols, but in general, it’s a powerful recorder.