Articles

Many machines, one module: HED's CANLink controller accommodates demands of different brush chipper models.

Diesel Progress North American Edition; 6/1/2006

When brush has to be cleared away and disposed of, property owners, contractors and municipalities typically turn to equipment such as wood chippers to turn the cuttings into useable mulch. Rayco Manufacturing Inc., Wooster, Ohio, offers a variety of models to get the job done, including the recently released 80 HP RC-12 wood chipper.

Rayco's machines, which span from the 25 hp RC 6C to the heavyduty 225 hp RC [20.sup.xp], are becoming increasingly sophisticated, primarily because of product enhancements developed to provide better performance, greater safety, improved fuel economy and the need to accommodate future upgrades.

Improvements in both chipper performance and the machines' production have been enabled through the incorporation of new technologies, such as a microprocessor-based electronic module developed by HED Inc., Hartford, Wis. Part of HED's CANLink family of modules, the module is engineered to coordinate engine functions with that of the feed/cutting system.

A single HED CL-410 CANLink module monitors and controls operation of the engine throttle and the chipper's feed mechanism. Various clutch-engagement and fuel-saver parameters trigger the module's control of the engine throttle. Using fault codes from the electronic control unit on machines with engines over 100 hp, the system can shut the chipper down automatically if the feed mechanism becomes jammed. Rayco is looking to have this capability on other machines as development of their product line progresses.

The CL-410 module was an upgrade from a component Rayco had used previously. The new unit can accommodate the higher amperage outputs used in Tier 2 engines, and it also offers protected input/output circuitry that can withstand spikes and shorts in the wiring.

The module has more than enough connector pins to meet the needs of the wood chipper functions that include cutting speed, fuel controls, the braking system and indicator lights. Originally developed for Rayco's stump grinder line, the CL-410 was found to be an ideal fit for the wood chippers along with other Rayco products.

From a packaging standpoint, the CANLink module provides greater functionality in a smaller package, as it replaces many of the switches, wires, relays and fuses that would be used in a standard electrical system. Along with cutting down on parts inventory costs for individual machines, the CL-410 can be set up to monitor and control operations for seven different machine models.

Bruce Chapman, manager of product engineering at Rayco, said that the use of the single module "resulted in up-front savings, and for everyday production we can purchase and stock one module to program as necessary.

"Inventory control loves this arrangement," he added, "as the stock becomes flexible and can be converted as needed for any production schedule shift."

The modules also give Rayco technicians the ability to program machine functions on the production floor from a laptop, using a set of algorithms developed by HED for each machine. HED provided Rayco with the Visual Basic/ Windows package so technicians can quickly select parameters for the machine in which the controller will be installed. Chapman said that "diagnostic LEDs on the module let the production personnel easily and reliably verify functions of switches, actuators and wiring on the machine."

The same capability to program the modules within the Rayco manufacturing facility enables service personnel to diagnose any problems in the field using a laptop. This software-based system also enables Rayco to develop new features than can be added to existing equipment in the field by just supplying the software patch.

One of the benefits of CAN technology is the ability to do data logging and load control, as well as safety interlocks and system fault code shutdowns. Rayco is also looking in the future to use the data logging function to record machine parameters for its own service diagnostics, as well as to provide owners with data on how their employees are running their machines.