P r o d u c t s



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Continuous changes are made to the software to meet the customer’s demands.  The following describes the FC Software that comes with the FC Kiln Control System.


Main Top Menu



1.      Click on the Start Menu in the lower left hand corner of the screen.

2.      Use the mouse to point to Programs.

3.      Then click the left hand mouse button once and the program should start.



The main Menu bar is at the top of the screen.  The Menu items are File, Current Values Kiln Control, Alarm Display, Auxiliary Functions, Kiln History, System Set-up, & Help.  See section on Screen Displays for details. 



Figure 1 Main Menu Bar



Down the left side of the screen are the Kiln # buttons.  Selecting a button will show specific information for that Kiln based on the main Menu selection.  The currently selected Kiln # will show its Kiln # in large Bold letters.  The Kiln button colours indicate the current status of the Kiln as follows.

            Grey                             -currently selected kiln, or Kiln is not running.

            Green                           -Kiln is running

            Green-Flashing             -Kiln is Starting

            Red                              -Kiln has stopped

            Red-Flashing                -Kiln is stopped, or Kiln is in an Alarm condition.

            Orange                         -Kiln is in Low Fire mode.

            Blue                             -Drying is done


There are two lights near the top left corner.  They show a T & R within a circle.  These should flash alternately bright green, indicating that the PC program is talking to the Frank Control Computer System.



Figure 2 Kiln Selection Buttons (Normal Operation)



Your supervisor will assign a Password for each person to have access to the program.  Each person is given a selection of functions that they can access.  The needs of the Kiln Operator may vary from the Maintenance personnel and Supervisors.



      1.   Select File à Log On from the Main Menu.

2.      Type your assigned Password in the box provided.  (Password is not case sensitive)

3.      Press ENTER on the keyboard or click the Log On button.



1.      Select File à Log Off from the Main Menu.


Note:  If no operator activity for 15 minutes the program will automatically log off



Current Value Screens



This screen shows a summary of each Kiln in a column.  It is updated every two minutes.  The summary consists of nineteen properties for each Kiln.


Kiln Properties

Process – The current Process that is running

Run Time – The amount of time the Kiln has been running

Avg. M.C. – The average moisture content of the lumber in %

Last M.C. – The last moisture content of the lumber calculated in %

Target M.C. – The moisture content that the Kiln will shut down at %

FWD Side – The average temperature on the Forward Side in ° F

Center – The average temperature in the Center in ° F

REV Side – The average temperature on the Reverse Side ° F

Outside Temperature – Outside Temperature in ° F

Z80 Temp. – Temperature Sensor on the Digital Temperature Card in ° F

Cont. Mode – Mode that the Kiln is running  (See Kiln Control section for details)

Charge # - The charge # for the charge in the Kiln

Fans Dir. – The direction the fans are turning

Dwell Tm. – The time left before the Kiln fans start

Steam Injection - If the Kiln has Steam Injection shows if it is On or Off

TDAL. – High Side temperature  – Low Side Temperature in ° F

Wet Bulb – The Wet Bulb temperature in ° F

Kiln Temp. – The Highest Side temperature in ° F

Re-fire Time – The amount of time the Kiln has been running in Refire Mode.




Figure 3 All Kilns Screen



This screen displays the temperature in ° F of every bulb in your system for the Kiln that is selected.  Temperatures of 265 or larger indicate an error code for that bulb.  See Hardware manual for troubleshooting bulbs.  The bulbs are numbered with the first bulb being in the top left hand corner.  This screen is updated every two seconds.




Figure 4 Bulb Temperatures Screen



This screen displays current values for the current Kiln that is selected.  The screen is divided into five sections; Timers, Control Loops, Moisture Readings, Other Temperatures, and Other Information.  This screen is updated every two seconds.



Run Time – Current running (elapsed) time from when the Kiln was started

Refire Time – The amount of time left.  Only displayed if running Refire Mode


Control Loops

Control Zones – The zone number up to a maximum of 12 zones 

Dry Bulb Set Point – The Dry Bulb temperature in ° F should never exceed this limit.  This limit can be modified in the Process Parameters. 

Dry Bulb Temp – The Highest Side temperature in ° F

Heat Flow – The heat flowing into the Kiln measured in %

Relative Humidity – The % Relative Humidity in the Kiln

VFD Speed – Feedback speed in Hz from the VFD  

VFD Output – Output % of VFD motors maximum current

Wet Bulb Set Point – The Wet Bulb temperature in ° F should never exceed this limit.  This limit can be modified in the Process Parameters.

Temperature – The lowest Wet Bulb temperature in ° F

Kiln Vents – The vent position in %


Moisture Readings

The Moisture content of the lumber does not start calculating until the Kiln approaches the desired operating temperature.  Typically the desired operating temperature is 180 ° F.  When the average MC achieves the Target MC, the Kiln drying is done.  The Kiln Operator can fine tune this calculation for each Process based on the results of the moisture check.  (See System Set-up for details on tuning this calculation)


Average M.C. – The average moisture content of the lumber in %

Last M.C. – The last moisture content of the lumber calculated in %

Target M.C. – The moisture content of the lumber in % when the Kiln will shut down


Other Temperatures

Side 1 – The average temperature in ° F on side 1

Side 2 – The average temperature in ° F on side 2

Outside – The outside temperature in ° F double click on it for ° C

Z80 – The temperature sensor on the Digital Temperature Card in ° F


Other Information

Control Mode – The Mode the Kiln is running  (See Kiln Control for Mode Types)

Run Process – The process that the Frank Control Computer System is using

Charge Number – The charge # for the lumber in the Kiln

Relative Humidity – The % Relative Humidity in the Kiln

K-Fan Direction – The current direction the Kiln fans are turning

Dwell Timer – The time left for the Kiln fans to start up

Live Steam Injection – If the Kiln has Steam Injection shows if it is On or Off

Temp Drop – Highest Side Temperature – Lowest Side Temperature in ° F

Parameter #20 – (See section System Set-up Process Parameter 20 of this manual)

Parameter #21 – (See section System Set-up Process Parameter 21 of this manual)




Figure 5 Current Kiln Screen



Operator Control



If PC Manual Control has been selected the operator can individually control things.  The desktop PC will only enter this Mode if the Frank Control Computer System confirms the Kiln is not running.  This Mode is useful for maintenance to check for starting contractors, running in new bearings, fan blades etc. and when access to the PLC program is unavailable.  The Manual screen shows a Start / Stop button for each motor & the Burner.  The burner can only be started onto Low fire.  The Heat output can be increased 5% at a time with the heat control. 



Figure 6 PC Manual Control Screen



The user is in Auto Control in all Modes except PC Manual.  The most used Mode in Auto Control is Run Process. 

Starting a Kiln with a New Charge

1.      Click the Mode button and select Run Process

2.      Click the Run Process button

3.      Select the Process you want to run and click Send to FC

4.      Click the New Charge button

5.      Click the Start button



Figure 7 Auto Control screen while running a Process



When clicking on the Mode button a list of six different Modes will pop up that the user can choose from to run the Kiln. 



Figure 8 Mode Button


Run Schedule (Mode 1)

Future use, to allow time based, non-process control


Run Process (Mode 2)

Dynamic Process Control meaning the Kiln dries depending on what the lumber is doing.  This is the Mode for Normal Operation of the Kiln.  Once this Mode has been selected a button labelled Run Process and New Charge will appear.  When the Run Process button stops flashing and is solid green the Frank Control Computer Systems Mode has been change successfully.  (See Auto Control in this section for instructions on starting a Kiln with a New Charge)


PLC Remote (Mode 3)

Allows operation of Kiln from each Kilns MCC and manual controller.  Cannot be activated unless the Kiln is not running.  Once the Manual/Auto switch at the Kiln is in Manual Mode, you cannot switch to any other mode at the PC until the switch at the Kiln is back in Auto.


Re-fire (Mode 4)

This Mode is used to further dry lumber at the completion of a drying charge.  If the Kiln Operator’s Moisture Content check comes back to wet then the charge will require Re-firing for a set amount of time.  DO NOT PRESS NEW CHARGE BUTTON instead press the Mode button & select Re-fire.  Time values can be entered in the Re-fire frame that appears.  The amount of time required in each direction will depend on the MC readings on each side of the Kiln.  Typically a rate of 1.5% MC per hour can be used to estimate the time required.  To start the Kiln again simply click the Start button.  The Kiln will first start in the Reverse direction, cycle thru the time entered then switch to Forward direction.  The Current Kiln and Auto Control screens will show the time as it counts down. 



Figure 9 Re-fire Frame


PC Manual Mode (Mode 5)

 Selecting this will allow the user to view the Manual Control screen.


Low Fire Mode (Mode 6)

Keep the burner on low fire to keep the Kiln warm.



An Alarm reset button will show up next to the Stop button for conditions that require the Operator’s attention.  The Kiln button will flash red.  On a Gas Kiln the Burner may be on low fire or turned off depending on the Alarm.  From the main Menu select the Alarm Log.  This will display the alarm message.  Once the Alarm condition is resolved press the Alarm Reset button to reset it.  The Kiln will restart if required.  If the Alarm button returns, then another Alarm has occurred or the original Alarm has not been resolved.  Recheck the Alarm Log. 


Note:  After looking at the Alarm Log, the Alarm Log is cleared.  It only shows the most current Alarms.  A permanent record can be viewed in Kiln History, View, and Alarm Log.



Figure 10 Alarm Reset Button



This button resets the Run Time counter and lets the Frank Control Computer System know to start a New Charge.  A new Graph is also started.  This button is not available while a Charge is running, unless the Kiln is stopped after 5 hours.  The New Charge label above the button will be visible for a while to let you know a new charge has just been started



Figure 11 New Charge Button



In Auto Control clicking on this button will start the Kiln.  The sequence which things start up will depend on some of the Kiln Parameters. 



Figure 12 Start Button



When the Kiln is running pressing Stop once will shut down everything except the blower.  Hit the Stop button a second time and the blower will shut down. 



Figure 13 Stop Button



Clicking on this button will open a frame allowing the user to select a process and send it to the Frank Control Computer System.  (See the section on System Set-up to make your own Process)



Figure 14 Run Process Button



Reporting and Logging


Kiln History allows the user to view the graphs of any current charge or previous charges.  During each charge the desktop PC records information from the Frank Control Computer System every 2 minutes.  The current charge’s graph is shown on the screen.  To select which Kiln’s graph to view use the small Kiln buttons at the bottom of the screen.  The Kiln History has its own Menu items separate from the rest of the program.  The remainder of this section will describe the Kiln History Menu Items.



Figure 16 Kiln History



This menu’s main functions are to view saved data from previous charges and change the data that is displayed on the graph.


Load Main

Available charges for each are shown in a list.  The list shows the charge’s date, and charge #.  The user can select a different Kiln by using the combo box above the buttons.  To open a specific charge and view its data, select the Charge à click the Open button.


Main Color and Scale / Overlay Color and Scale

This Menu item allows the user to change the color of specific data and choose which data will be displayed on the graph.  To change the colors of for example Dry-Bulb Set Point simply double-click on it.  To allow it to display on the graph check off the box beside it.  The Hour Interval control at the bottom of this Menu item can be changed to adjust the size of the graph beginning displayed.  The Line Width control can be changed to adjust the thickness of the lines displayed.



Figure 15 Main Colour and Scale


Load Overlay

This Menu Item works the same as Load Main.  The difference is a charge opened using this Menu item will be overlaid onto the existing graph for comparison.  A separate scroll bar is shown for control of the overlay’s position.



Sends the graph on the screen to the printer.



This Menu Item allows the user to view data that has been saved to the hard drive.



At the completion of a Charge, a Report is collected from the Frank Control Computer System.  Selecting this Menu item will display a Report on the data saved for the particular graph that the user is looking at on the display.  The Report A displays information about a specific charge.  Clicking print on the Menu at the top will print it.


Report A

This Report shows the most detail of what happened in the Kiln during the elapse of the charge.  It shows the user times of when certain things happened, temperatures, information about heat-up, refire, kiln fan reversals, tally, and the process parameters used during the charge.  After the Kiln Operator checks the Moisture Content of the lumber he/she can enter M.C. readings to the report.  There is also a Memo button so that the user can add additional notes to the report about the charge.


Report B

This Report shows the Kiln temperatures during the elapse of the charge.  The amount of time it took to reach those temperatures, the fan direction, and if applicable the fan speed.


Change Log

Changes made to the Parameters are recorded here.  The date & time of the change will be saved so it can be used to review the changes versus the quality of drying to determine which changes responded well.


Activity Log

Program activity is recorded here.  When a Kiln Operator does something like logging on or starting a new charge it is recorded here.


Alarm Log

The date & time of when alarms occur are recorded here.