SG Automatización (SG Automation - Custom Automation) or SGA was an enterprise I founded back on late 2008, when we lived in Pereira, with the purpose of selling automation engineering services and develop instrumentation and control devices for the local industry.
Shortly after starting SGA my father, who is an agronomist engineer, asked me to update the control for the coffee dryers he and his brother, a mechanical engineer, build. That's how the CPUCK was born:
The CPUCK is a control for gas based dryers. It controls the gas burner in order to keep constant the temperature of the air that is pushed in to the silo. It also turns on and off the centrifugal fan that pushes the air.
What makes the CPUCK different to traditional temperature controls is:
- It uses predictive control by characterizing the air temperature response so it can calculate when to turn the burner on and off keeping the error integral near zero. Which means the mean temperature of the air, sensed inside the silo, is constant.
- It provides security and reduces energy waste by detecting when the burner's flame is off by analyzing the air temperature and reacts trying to turn it on, if it can't be turned on closes the gas valve and the fan motor (turns off the dryer).
- It protects the product quality by providing temporized drying and constant temperature. In case of power lost, when the power is restored the CPUCK remembers the remaining time and resumes drying. This also applies when the dryer is turned off in the middle of a drying cycle or because of a failure (like when the fuel tank is empty).
CPUCK together with its instrumented gas burner became SGA's main products. Some farms used them to change from ACPM or COKE fuel to gas or to upgrade their existing gas dryers, we provided that service.
Some custom developments where made in SGA like this one:
Which was requested as a canal gate control. When the water level at one side of the gate was too high the gate had to be automatically opened until the level went down to an acceptable depth. I used an ultrasonic sensor to measure the water level and a couple of proximity sensors to know then the gate was open or closed, a motor + gearbox (speed reducer box) was used to move the gate.
When the system was going to be installed we were informed that it was not going to be used on a canal gate but in a valve (pipe instead of canal) and that we must adapt the existing hardware. That's how we end up with that weird mechanical system on an adjustable-angle platform.
At early 2011 the business was slow and having a family to support I had to look for a job. So I found a contractor work as web developer at W360 and moved with my family to Bogotá, some months latter I had to accept that I was not able to give SGA enough time to make it productive and the taxes and other operative costs kept coming so I decided to shut it down.
SGA gave me a lot of experience not only in the automation field but also on business management, having to deal with taxes and accounting was a nurturing experience. It also taught me how to locate suppliers, make budgets, calculate production costs, and so on.
Closing SGA doesn't mean I'm out of business. If you are interested on some of my professional services, think I can help on your projects or want some of the products you see on this site please contact me.