ThinktopThe ThinkTop® is designed to ensure optimum valve control in conjunction with Alfa Laval butterfly, single-seat and Mixproof valves and it is compatible with all major PLC systems (Programmable Logic Controller with PNP/NPN interface). It is for use in food, dairy and brewery installations and in biopharmaceutical applications.

Working principle

The ThinkTop® is a control head including indication units and solenoid valves to control all kinds of processing valves. It is used to control and supervise pneumatic valves and it is mounted on the top of the valve. It receives signals from a PLC to control the valve and it sends feedback signals to the PLC to indicate when the valve is in a certain position. To adapt the sensor board to the specific valve and to the application, the user sets up the ThinkTop by the local keys or by using the key pad (which is ordered separately). When using the key pad it is not necessary to dismantle the top unit.


How It Works


The ThinkTop® sensing and control unit is a uniform modular control head that consists of a proven no-touch, set-and-forget sensor system with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), solenoid valves and valve control sensor board for connection to any PLC (Programming Logic Controller) system.

Operating principle

Inside the ThinkTop® control head, the sensor system accurately detects valve stem movement, the valve position at any given time, with an accuracy of ± 0.1mm through the use of microchip sensors. To locate the current valve position, sensor chips inside the sensor board calculate the angle between the axial magnetic field produced by an indication pin mounted on the valve stem.

The sensor system receives signals from the PLC system to open or close the valve and transmits feedback signals on the main valve or seat lift position and condition back to the PLC system.

Up to three solenoid valves convert the sensor signals from electrical current into mechanical energy to open or close the air-operated valve, using the physical stimulus of an indication pin mounted on the valve stem. Manual hold override enables valve operation during commissioning or maintenance without requiring assistance from plant operators and plant automation. Air throttling of the inlet/outlet makes it possible to slow the opening or closing of the valve thereby preventing pressure shocks and water hammer.

Possibility to customize each control head with an individual tolerance band to detect any deviation in the opening/closing of the valve and seat lift. This boosts productivity and effectively prevents operating errors. LEDs conveniently display main valve, seat lift position, solenoid activation, setup and local fault indication and maintenance on the control head.

Integrated communications

Three types of interfaces can connect ThinkTop to any PLC system and may be used in any combination:

• Digital interfaces
• AS-Interface (with 31 nodes or 62 nodes)
• DeviceNet interface (with 63 nodes)

Ease of installation

ThinkTop® fits onto all Alfa Laval sanitary actuators equipped with mushrooms. Installation is straightforward; no special expertise, adapters or tools are required. To initiate manual setup, simply press the push-button startup sequence. Or set up without dismantling the control head using the optional IR keypad for remote control.

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