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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Department of Biomedical Engineering


Industrial pilot projects often rely on proprietary and expensive electronic hardware to control and monitor experiments. This raises costs and retards innovation. Open-source hardware tools exist for implementing these processes individually; however, they are not easily integrated with other designs. The Broadly Reconfigurable and Expandable Automation Device (BREAD) is a framework that provides many open-source devices which can be connected to create more complex data acquisition and control systems. This article explores the feasibility of using BREAD plug-and-play open hardware to quickly design and test monitoring and control electronics for an industrial materials processing prototype pyrolysis reactor. Generally, pilot-scale pyrolysis plants are expensive custom designed systems. The plug-and-play prototype approach was first tested by connecting it to the pyrolysis reactor and ensuring that it can measure temperature and actuate heaters and a stirring motor. Next, a single circuit board system was created and tested using the designs from the BREAD prototype to reduce the number of microcontrollers required. Both open-source control systems were capable of reliably running the pyrolysis reactor continuously, achieving equivalent performance to a state-of-the-art commercial controller with a ten-fold reduction in the overall cost of control. Open-source, plug-and-play hardware provides a reliable avenue for researchers to quickly develop data acquisition and control electronics for industrial-scale experiments.

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Copyright: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Publisher’s version of record:

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Electronics (Switzerland)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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