Ag Processing partners with Conductix-Wampfler to modernize Grays Harbor grain shiploading facility
As demand for North American grain exports continues to grow, many US grain terminal operators are upgrading their bulk handling facilities to better serve customers. A US grain terminal operator, Ag Processing Inc (AGP®, headquartered in Omaha, NE), did just that by partnering with cable reel manufacturer Conductix-Wampfler to modernize its shiploader at Grays Harbor Terminal in Aberdeen,WA.
Formed in 1983,AGP is a farmer-owned co-operative engaged in the procurement, processing, marketing, and transportation of grains and grain products. The company is the largest co-operative soybean processing company in the world, comprising 175 local co-operatives representing 250,000 farmers in the Midwest, plus five regional co-operatives throughout the US and Canada. AGP operates nine soybean processing plants throughout the Midwest. Its Grays Harbor terminal in Aberdeen, WA handles whole grains and processed grains such as soybean meal, dried distillers grain, and beet pulp pellets.
The power cable on the shiploader at Grays Harbor was in need of replacement. Rather than replacing the old cable with the same type,AGP took the opportunity to replace it with a state-of-the-art composite power/control cable and a new motor-driven cable reeling system. The composite cable chosen has more power capacity (500mcm versus 350mcm), provides six optical fibres for data transmission, and has four 16 AWG twisted/shielded pairs for redundancy. Carl Parker, Director of Bulk Operations for AGP, explained that, “The previous wireless communication system experienced communication drop-outs, so we wanted to replace it with more dependable fibre-optic cabling. We also changed to a common control engine, which provides remote access to the shiploader’s operating system and interfaces with the main PLCs. This facilitates programme downloads and upgrades and allows the addition of instrumentation and weather station data. The power side of the new cable can now accommodate additional horsepower as needed and the new control systems can accommodate additional communication and instrumentation in the future.”
Parker went on to say that,“Conductix- Wampfler was chosen to supply the cable reeling system due to their extensive experience with the use of fibre-optic cables in the bulk handling industry. We received favourable references concerning their work. Conductix-Wampfler was able to provide the cable and custom-design the reeling system. We were impressed with the Conductix-Wampfler team throughout the cable selection process and the design of the reel, and during the procurement, delivery, and final installation phases.” Mark Zuroske, Bulk Handling Market Development Manager
for Conductix-Wampfler, added that, “Since the 1980s, we have had a long, successful history of incorporating fibre-optics into our reeling systems. We were one of the first companies to offer a fibre-optic transmitter. The combination of the newer composite cables of today, coupled with our patented fibre-optic transmitter, creates a highly reliable system. Our newest transmitter can accommodate 6, 12, 18, or 24 channels, and either single mode 0.9/125 fibre, or 50/125 or 62.5/125 multi- mode fibres.”
Zuroske went on to point out that, “Conductix-Wampfler continues to see a strong backlog of orders for cable festoons and cable reeling systems well into 2014 as many customer continue to modernize their bulk handling facilities.”
Moving grain with Nectar — more than just bagging systems
Nectar Group has been active in the dry bulk industry for over 40 years. Aside from pioneering the concept of bagging bulk cargo at destination, Nectar has also been involved in providing bulk handling solutions for various types of commodities including grain and cereals.
Nectar currently owns over 100 bagging lines which are used in bagging operations in various ports and inland locations worldwide to conveniently bag grains and other free-flowing products wherever they are needed. All machines are built in Standard 10ft or 20ft ISO containers to ensure full mobility and access to remote locations. Recently, to cater for the increased demand for bagging in one-tonne bags, Nectar has also designed the Compac XL120 mobile bagging unit to bag bulk commodities into jumbo FIBCs (flexible intermediate bulk containers) at a rate of 120tph (tonnes per hour). Further additions to the range of products include the ‘Impac’ single- line bagging equipment specifically to cater for warehouse operations where space is an issue. All equipment is Dutch Weights and Measures-(NMi) certified and offers an accuracy of ±0.5%.
Nectar prides itself on offering innovative bulk handling solutions. As well as offering a range of mobile bagging equipment, the Group also owns and operates a fleet of grabs, bulk cargo conveying systems, bulk hoppers, mobile trimming equipment and pneumatic dischargers.
The Group offers tailor made bulk handling services which includes the bulk discharge of grain from ships using grabs and hoppers to client’s trucks or other means of transport and handling of bulk cargo to and from storage for stacking and reloading on to transport for further distribution.
For bulk discharge operations, Nectar uses its grabs and pneumatic dischargers for discharging from ships, barges and rail-wagons. This equipment is also ideal for lightening operations. The pneumatic dischargers are each able to move grain at speeds of up to 100tph and several units can be combined to provide discharge or lightening speeds of 10,000–11,000 metric tonnes per day based on a 24hr operation. This is ideal for discharging cereals and wheat cargoes.
Nectar often uses its fleet of bulk handling and bagging equipment in multi-modal operations. These operations involve different types of equipment to be used simultaneously. For instance, a typical multimode operation could involve grain or cereals to be discharged from a gearless Panamax vessel using Nectar’s mobile pneumatic dischargers. The grain is then bagged alongside the vessel using the Compac M140 and then conveyed straight onto rail wagons or trucks for despatch.
Another example of a multi-modal operation is taking the cargo out of a mother vessel by using pneumatic dischargers, followed by performing bagging operations on the deck of the vessel and then delivering bagged cargo via a specially designed chute system on to barges. This kind of multi-modal operation is ideal where the mother ship is restricted by her arrival draught to go alongside hence the operations can be carried out on board. It is also useful where the discharge berth has limited facilities for bulk operations. Multi-modal operations could involve different permutations subject to type of cargo handled and clients’ logistical requirements.
With various types of operation, the services offered by Nectar adapt to the client’s requirements. In some projects, the Group offers service packages that include stevedoring, provision of equipment along with international technical supervision up to stacking on the receiver’s transport or storage areas. In other projects, Nectar provides expediting services, where it uses its local knowledge and contacts in order to minimize the vessel’s time spent at the discharge port. This is ideal for clients who are not familiar with a particular port and working on a Liner-Out basis.
This year Nectar has started to offer warehouse management services where the company manages and monitors the cargo delivered in the warehouse as well as cargo being taken from the warehouse for inland delivery.
In addition to the provision of bulk handling and bagging equipment and services, Nectar has also been involved with various consultancy and bulk terminal management projects. Nectar offers a customized service with a typical project involving technical and operational management of bulk handling equipment and bulk handling facilities. This also involves the day to day running of the terminal, ensuring the targets are met and the procedures applied in operating the terminal are at an international standard.
Nectar also offers consultancy services for projects including renovation of bulk handling facilities, capacity improvement of existing facilities and independent advice on evaluation, selection and implementation of new bulk handling/discharge equipment.
Nectar is continuously looking to expand its activities whether through a joint venture or long term agreement with various partners. Nectar strives to cover full logistical solutions.
STEMA – Matola Silos and Grain Terminal SA – provides storage of dry bulk grains up to 45,000 tonnes in at Maputo Port in Mozambique
STEMA, SA – DRIVEN TO CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
The company was established in Maputo, Mozambique in 1996 to operate in national and international grain markets to serve the Mozambican milling industry and trade. Its facilities also act as a transit centre within the country. Since its establishment, Stema has invested nearly US$7 million in equipment which has increased productivity in storing grain and distributing it by sea, rail and road.
In addition to equipment, the company employs a team of technical staff, all Mozambican nationals, qualified and specialized in the latest grain handling developments.
Apart from the local milling industry, at present, the company serves also South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Swaziland markets on grain import and exports.
Stema receives cargo at a berthing pier able to handle ships up to 30,000dwt. Its sea terminal is equipped with a fully pneumatic ship unloader (250tph [tonnes per hour]), and linked to the silos through a belt-type conveyor of around 700 metres with capacity to move up to 500tph. A similar system is used for loading vessels which is normally at a rate of 500tph, depending on the weather. Wheat, corn, rice, soybeans, soya flour, sun flower pellets are the commonly handled commodities. Compared to 2010, in 2011, the company has increased its volume by 25%. This includes exports of South African corn to Mexico and South Korea.
Beyond handling, the company also has equipment for the disinfection and cleaning of grain.
The company is planning to increase its unloading capacity to more than 600tph at the sea terminal and to enlarge its storage capacity to 100,000 metric tonnes — all in concrete silos.
The terminal works on a shift basis without interruption 24 hours a day, weekends and national holidays excluded.
Operations are on an automatic and integrated fully computerized system (PLC) allowing full and efficient control of the inflow and outflow of grain.
Euroports: agribulk business is booming as operator handles record loads
With a service offering and terminal network fully supporting international agribulk industry and trading, it comes as no surprise that the Euroports group is handling record breaking agribulk volumes both inbound and outbound.
Euroports is one of the most diversified agribulk terminal operators. The company supplies maritime supply chain solutions in several agribulk market segments combining terminal handling operations with in-house transport services such as road transport, inland navigation, customs clearance and ship agency. Agribulk handling facilities of the terminal network can be found in Rostock (Germany),Tarragona (Spain), Marghera (Venice, Italy),Antwerp, Ghent, Renory (Belgium) and Rouen (France). In addition to the traditional agribulk cargoes, Euroports is also handling sugar on dedicated terminals in Antwerp and Le Havre.
Most recently, Euroports has seen an increase in lot size for agribulk cargo shipments both in imports and exports, with two record breaking agribulk handling operations at its Rostock terminal and at its Venice terminal.
On 24 July this year, the Euroports Getreide Service Rostock terminal received the Magsenger 19 (bulk vessel with a capacity for 115,396 tonnes) for the loading of 95,000 tonnes of grain onto the ship for shipment to the Middle East. The harvest period in Germany had been going on for some time before these operations, resulting in the 122,000m3 storage capacity at this terminal receiving the cargo weeks in advance for this cargo load. After loading operations, the supply of grain, wheat and barley to the terminal for storage has been continuing. Based on future trading deals, the terminal will be loading bigger and smaller vessels for shipment to end consumers around the world.
In Italy, about 65,000 tonnes were handled at the Piemonte berths of Molo B at Euroports
Italy. The vessel TEN JIN MARU (LOA: 240m × 38m, deadweight: 98,000dwt) carrying a cargo load of 65,000 tonnes of agribulk arrived on 2 August to beunloaded. Thecargowas stored at the berth’s 100,000- tonne-capacity silo while it awaited onward shipment.
These handling operations were a record in terms of size for both the Port of Rostock and the Port of Venice.
Andreas Janetzko, Euroports Holdings Chief Commercial Officer, sees this as a recognition of Euroports’ handling expertise: “Being entrusted with these large handling volumes only proves Euroports is on the right track to become the partner of choice for maritime supply chain solutions for the agribulk market.”
Agribulk remains VIGAN’s core market
Offering more than shiploaders/unloaders, Belgium- based VIGAN Engineering SA is a global solution provider for port development. The diversity of VIGAN’s range of equipment is a key asset when finding the best solution to any project requirement.
At VIGAN, ship- unloaders/loaders are ever evolving. Every year changes are minor, but the most important of these is VIGAN’s capacity to innovate continuously by investing in human and physical resources with a medium and long-term vision in its market.
Originally, all VIGAN equipment as designed to convey dry agribulk cargo such as: all types of cereals, beans, seeds, and most of the raw materials for animal feeding. Moreover, these proved to be also suitable for handling fragile products (malt, cocoa beans, etc.), certain chemicals (dense soda ash, alumina, urea...), and also many products in pellets such as wood pellets for instance. However, agribulk definitely remains VIGAN’s core market.
The demand for grains remains strong. As grains are a basic staple food in many countries, many governments and/or private companies are continuing to invest in handling equipment. Nevertheless, each region has its own characteristics and unforeseen political or climatic conditions can heavily influence their ability to improve quickly their infrastructure for handling large amounts of agribulks.
Many countries that were previously part of the Soviet Union have become important exporters with sizeable investments in port infrastructures. Many countries in the Middle East and Africa continue to import large amounts of agribulks for their population. Far East countries — and mainly China — are also continuously investing in handling equipment for those commodities.
FOCUS ON BANGLADESH
Bangladesh is typical of a country where a large and fast-growing population requires adequate and modern infrastructure to deal with the challenge of handling the required imports, such as agribulks.
A few years ago, Bashundhara Group, one of the leading industrial conglomerates in the country, ordered a large size flour mill in Dhaka for the Italian company Mill Service Spa.
For the import of wheat and its transport by barge to this new, state-of-the-art factory, a pneumatic barge unloader was delivered by VIGAN in 2012 with a capacity of 250tph (metric tonnes per hour). After unloading, the wheat is conveyed by several conveyors to the silos supplied by the Italian companies PTM and FRAME.
Most interesting in this project is the fact that — using the same technical approach and analysis of unloading equipment alternatives as those used in Europe for similar plants along rivers or canals — a pneumatic continuous unloader was chosen in this less-developed country. Indeed, high average handling efficiency and reliability — as well as other advantages of this technology — were deemed important and resulted in this choice over traditional methods, such as grabs or retro excavators.
The pneumatic unloader is dust-free, and therefore causes no river pollution. This is a major factor in a large city such as Dhaka, which is populated by several millions.
This unloader is installed on a small concrete platform of 5m × 5m, with access stairs which were erected by the customer. VIGAN supplied all the continuous pneumatic unloader equipment.
Once the wheat is unloaded, a simple chute allows for feeding by gravity of a wharf conveyor to transport it to the storage silos.
A filter tower on slewing ring pedestal is mounted to the concrete platform: it includes a rotating airlock of 200 litres.
The machine is also equipped with a 17-metre fixed suction boom. The suction pipe system supported by the boom includes a round suction nozzle as well as vertical and horizontal telescopic tubes, both in two parts.
The electrically driven turbo blower assembly is located in a machinery room placed behind the tower on the platform. This assembly includes the main electrical motor with direct drive of the four-stage VIGAN turbo blower, a speed variator (frequency inverter) and the main electrical switchboard. This allows the machine to guarantee a nominal capacity of 250tph.
Suction pipes movements are operated by a remote control box from the barge deck: the rotating of the tower and of the boom, the horizontal and vertical travelling of the telescopic pipes and the automatic pneumatic suction stopping.
VIGAN has recently been awarded several contracts in North Africa and other nearby countries, as well as in other continents such in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. It is also evaluating projects in other continents.
Improving flow, reducing caking, attrition & segregation with Jenike & Johanson
Jenike & Johanson is a major technology company for bulk material handling, processing, and storage. It delivers engineered solutions to achieve reliable powder and bulk solids flow based on proven theories and decades of project experience. The company is very active in the handling of grains and related commodities.
Companies in the Food & Beverage industry strive to supply food to new markets quickly and inexpensively, convert to more efficient packaging techniques (e.g., single serve packets), demonstrate to consumers that their products are superior to hose of their competitors, find new ways to transform ordinary foods into value- added (e.g., organic), or convenience products.
Taste, smell, appearance, and other sensory triggers are all critical aspects affecting the success of a food product. Additional key factors a producer considers include shelf-life, stability, marketability, and obviously, costs.
During handling of raw ingredients (flour, sugar, salt), additives (baking soda, citric acid, phosphates), or finished products (cereal,
dry powder beverage), food manufacturers frequently encounter poor flow. These problems can lead to process upsets, down time, and require frequent operator intervention. Product quality problems can be triggered by spoilage (i.e., microbial growth) or powder caking, both of which are often the result of material stagnation in food storage bins. Other problems may include attrition (breakage), uneven distribution of seasonings, and segregation. Poor material flow has been a root cause for some of the recent recalls of food products.
COMMON MATERIALS HANDLED
Jenike & Johanson has successfully handled a wide range of bulk materials for the Food & Beverage industry. A small sampling includes: flours (white, wheat, coarse); grains (whole, shelled); cereals and granola; sugars (raw, cane, beet, 10x); salts (coarse, fine, blended); snacks and seasonings; coffee (beans, flake, ground); candies and mints; and drink mixes.
FOOD & BEVERAGE INDUSTRY SERVICES
Jenike & Johanson offers a wide array of services for the Food & Beverage industries:
- on-site review of flow, segregation problems;
- food powder characterization;
- silo and feeder design for finished goods, ingredients;
- pneumatic conveying testing of food powders;
- anti-segregation equipment supply; and
- mixing/blending testing to evaluate blenders
Whether feeding sticky food ingredients into a mixer, conveying powders from a storage silo to a weigh bin, or high-speed packaging of a dry powder beverage or baked goods, J&J can help to achieve reliable material flow and maintain food quality.
Grain flow improved with new filling unit from LISTENOW GmbH
It is a common problem for materials of various shapes, sizes and weights to become separated during filling — including grains. This significantly reduces the quality of mixed materials
After a long testing phase, LISTENOW GmbH & Co has introduced a new filling unit ready for wide-scale distribution that uses specially positioned cascades to create a dosing solution for practical people, developed by practical people.
The unique design of the individual cascades and their robust and easy-to- use construction promises fault-free and highly efficient filling. The solution allows the speed and volume of material throughput to be regulated such that its quality is maintained without separation right up until container output, even when the material is drawn off.
FLOW-STOP IS IDEALLY SUITED TO A VARIETY OF APPLICATIONS
FLOW-stop can be used for much more than just the grain industry. It is also suitable for the chemical or pharmaceutical industries, or for the filling of construction materials and other foodstuffs. Thoughtfully designed LISTENOW flow-stop construction is equally suited to other bulk materials of all types, be they irregular, powdered or granular. Individual units are built to customer specifications and, depending on use, can be constructed from either painted or galvanized steel. LISTENOW supplies the food industry with units constructed from pickled or glass bead blasted stainless steel or anti-abrasive plastic.
SURPRISINGLY SIMPLE AND COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS FOR A BROAD VARIETY OF TASKS
The FLOW-stop filling unit is securely built into the filling system and is very easy to clean. In order to prevent the filling material from forming into piles at the bottom of each cascade, the cascades are aligned slightly apart to transfer the material without allowing it to fall freely for any great distance. In addition, the angle of the cascades can also be adjusted to regulate flow speed and prevent separation.
The unique shape of the individual cascades allows for overflow during filling to ensure containers can be fully filled.
FLOW-STOP ALSO AS A FEEDING SYSTEM
LISTENOW's wealth of experience in the manufacture of filling hoses from diverse polyester fabrics and with a variety of coatings opens the door to further interesting applications using materials of various strengths, including PU-flex. For example, the combination of FLOW-stop and PU-flex enables allows mill feed to be deposited onto sensitive tumbler screens without damage and Tetra Pak tops to be continuously fed to packaging machines.
Transparent polyurethane sheeting also makes it possible to constantly monitor fill quantity by staff or using sensors.
Meeting evolving challenges in grain handling
The specifics of grain handling installations vary from project to project and region to region but the trend towards larger scale operation is universal, writes Bill Lewis, Sales Engineer at Guttridge. Storage and handling facilities at individual farms are increasingly being replaced by grouped co-operative- owned capacity while across the globe grain is flowing, and being stored, in ever larger volumes, as new regions connect into the worldwide commodity grid. These global trends are being driven by the need to ensure food security in the face of:
- growing populations;
- strongly fluctuating grain prices; and
- climate change.
Upgrading storage facilities to ensure that grain can be maintained in a safe state for consumption, for prolonged periods, is increasingly important.
Here in the UK, Guttridge is seeing strong demand for upgraded on-farm grain handling facilities as old equipment reaches the end of its life, underpinned by generous tax relief for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), while on the global stage the company is very aware of considerable growth across the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) countries. Guttridge works across a diverse range of grain handling projects from large-scale port facilities — where it typically operates as part of a multi-partner contract — to the supply of single conveying machines for individual farmers. Business is brisk across the board.
EQUIPMENT FOR GRAIN HANDLING
Reflecting demand for larger-scale projects, the core Guttridge conveyor range now extends well beyond 600tph (tonnes per hour), and includes bucket elevators, chain, belt and screw conveyors, and all associated ancillaries. Guttridge Hi-Load elevators are particularly well-suited to heavy duty grain applications, with a design refined over decades to deliver energy efficient transport, high reliability and straightforward maintenance. Key features include:
- high efficiency parabolic buckets giving maximum throughput in a minimum casing size;
- replaceable heavy duty, close tolerance, curved sweep plates, at head and boot, for high efficiency transfer;
- high tensile belts with excellent longevity EP (polyester/polyamide) core and SBR (styrene butadiene rubber) covers; and
- generously sized and well-placed access doors for maintenance. Bespoke systems that draw on Guttridge’s extensive expertise for grain applications are always an option, for very high throughputs for example, or to meet specific operational issues.
Lower throughput machines for on-farm use are often subject to intermittent operation but, when the harvest is in progress, must be unfailingly reliable. Guttridge owns the Carier brand (since 2004) and over the last five years has developed a new range of elevators and conveyors under the Carier brand name to serve this market. This range covers flow rates of up to 100tph and is designed to provide reliable service at a cost level suitable for this highly competitive market sector. All handling machinery produced by the old Carier company and by Guttridge is now supported across the UK and Ireland by Guttridge’s rapid repair and genuine spares services, which can be crucial for extending the life of older machines.
CASE STUDY: CENTRALIZED GRAIN STORAGE AT WOLDGRAIN
A project at Woldgrain Storage Ltd, Hemswell, UK, provides a useful illustration of trends within the UK.Woldgrain Storage Ltd was established in 1980 as a farmers’ cooperative, operating on a non-profit basis to provide a cost-effective grain storage option for farmers in the area. Over the intervening years capacity had been expanded to 30,000 tonnes of ventilated storage but, in 2010, the decision was taken to implement a further, substantial, increase — ultimately to 57,000 tonnes. Guttridge supplied materials handling equipment to GAME Engineering Ltd, the company awarded the contract to design, supply and install all the handling and processing systems for Phase I of this project, for Clugston Construction Ltd.
Working to a tight timescale of just three months, Guttridge supplied a bespoke solution of 13 chain and flight conveyors in three widths, ranging from 7–95 metres in overall length, and two 300mm-wide soft flight chain conveyors, all with a rated capacity of 250tph. These convey material considerable distances across the site. Seven Hi-Load belt and bucket elevators ranging from 12–24 metres in length were also delivered, for vertical lifting, as required. Screw feeders and 18 associated inline electro- pneumatic slides to fit the chain conveyors completed the order. This substantial upgrade to the facility was delivered to time and budget with the increased capacity coming on stream as planned and running effectively from start.
The growing scope and scale of global grain handling projects means that it is becoming increasingly important to identify a partner for materials handling with the resource and expertise to
meet requirements. Economic robustness, breadth of experience and the ability to deliver to agreed deadlines are all important selection criteria. As for the machines themselves, longevity is undoubtedly important but so too is reliable, efficient and trouble-free operation over what can be a considerable lifespan. Equipment suppliers are ramping up support here with a trend towards lifetime care, complete with long- term maintenance and spares contracts that support those reaching for the highest operational targets. The criticality of grain across the world makes its efficient handling a vital global issue and conveyor and elevator suppliers are rising to the challenge, engineering cost-efficient, reliable solutions that will help to ensure food security into the coming decades.
Hazardmon.com – revolutionizing site monitoring and maintenance
It is well known that transporting dry dusty materials — including grain — can create explosive atmospheres. The following conditions have to exist in order for the explosive state to occur: there needs to be high concentration of dust; then there must be oxygen; and there should also be an ignition source. If all of these appear in a confined space, an explosion will happen. The most common ignition sources have long been identified as over-heated bearings, misaligned belt, slipping belt and misaligned pulleys. The industry is saturated with various sensors and controllers that monitor those conditions and stop the machines automatically to prevent explosions. These systems (including a variety of systems from 4B) work really well, but there is one big problem with all of them. All them rely on the on-site personnel not to modify the system in order to run in bypass mode. With the ever-growing demands on the performance and efficiency of terminals and processing facilities, it is understandable that a shift manager may make a decision under pressure to keep operating even after an alarm has been detected. One can appreciate that there still are a number of ways to cheat the safety system and carry on running regardless of the dangers imposed to equipment and personnel.
4B Components has identified this problem and created a solution that will revolutionize the industry by introducing a greater level of transparency and record keeping. Hazardmon.com is a secure cloud based industrial monitoring solution that allows any registered user to login and see all their facilities in real-time from anywhere in the world. This product offers seamless integration with 4B’s communication BUS system — the T500 Elite ‘Hotbus’.
HAZARDMON.COM PLATFORM FEATURES
- the website is designed to be modern, simple and user friendly. A new videos section will be appearing on the website very soon, which will have short videos demonstrating how flexible the product is and giving examples of how to use some of the more advanced or hidden features;
- secure and encrypted login and data transfer of industrial strength – 256bit SSL. This ensures website security and data safety;
- no on-site server or PLC needed. No upkeep and upgrade costs. No hardware to replace or back up. The F500 unit sends data directly to 4B’s server in the cloud;
- all the data is stored in the cloud and backed up in multiple locations making the data extremely secure. The end-user does not need to worry about backing up the data off-site. In the event of an explosion, because the data is stored off-site it will not be lost, and it would be possible to analyse the data and use it as evidence in determining the cause of explosion; and
- the webserver is constantly being updated and the user experience improved. Additionally more and more products from 4B are being supported.
LIVE SENSOR VIEW
It is possible to view multiple sites from one system dashboard page. This is very unique as the normal procedure is to log in to each site’s VPN and then view each SCADA/PLC system one by one. The latter is very timely, requires long and complicated set- up and is not user-friendly. Hazardmon also indicates all active alarms from all the facilities in one place as soon as the operator logs in. The manager can see if any problems exist on any of his sites in seconds!
All the sensor data can be viewed in real-time in any browser. The website is completely dynamic and the sensor status and value are updated automatically without the need to refresh the webpage. The website was designed to dynamically resize as the screen resolution changes and it is optimized for tablet and mobile phone platforms.
HISTORICAL DATA ANALYSIS
All data can be viewed as graphs. A unique drag–and-drop feature of the graphing page allows for a quick display of graphs for the sensors that you are interested in and compares the values side-by-side. A range of time windows can be selected, ranging from 1h to 30 days. Charts are interactive and show point values and sensor statuses on mouse-over as well as supporting zooming and scrolling.
All alarms are stored in a separate alarm log. Using the website filtering options it is very easy to generate a report and save it as an excel spreadsheet. All the alarms are grouped into different alarm types, like ‘Alarm Detected’, ‘Alarm Cleared’, ‘Device Power Up’, etc. All this allows information to be extracted in a few clicks and create a report in seconds.
EMAIL AND SMS NOTIFICATIONS ENGINE
A very flexible notification system allows any user to receive email notifications when sensors go in to and out of alarms; when the internet connection between the ‘Hotbus’ system and the server is lost or when an alarm has not been cleared for a number of minutes. It is possible to receive emails only when an alarm has not been clear for a specified number of minutes or if more than a specified number of alarms were detected on a particular site in the last hour.
REPORT GENERATION TOOL
An advanced analytics tool allows reports to be generated that summarize the safety and efficiency of the factory. Currently it is possible to see which sensors caused most of the alarms, which hours of the day had most alarms and a pie chart that shows the distribution of alarm types. The start and end dates of the report can easily be altered and the report re-generated. It can then be saved to the user’s PC in a single click.
AUTOMATED MAINTENANCE AND TESTING FUNCTIONALITY
It is important to periodically check that the electronics monitoring system will in fact detect an alarm when a dangerous condition occurs. The current standard in the industry is for the technicians to walk around the site and test sensors. A paper report is then generated and in some cases this report is converted to an excel spreadsheet or similar. There is still absolutely no guarantee that the technician actually performed any of the testing. HazardMon’s automated sensor test tool function on the website (4B calls it ‘maintenance’) is unprecedented and novel. It ensures test procedures are carried out, logged and reports automatically generated, facilitating sensor testing for technicians and giving confidence to site managers. This feature provides documented evidence that each sensor has been tested to ensure it is working correctly and is capable of generating an alarm when needed. The user needs to go to the maintenance tab of the website and click on a sensor that needs to be tested. The website then temporarily stops the alarm notifications for this sensor, so that no nuisance alarm notifications are sent out. The user then has five minutes to cause and alarm and five minutes to clear the alarm. The whole process is fully automated and a report can be generated at the end of the process in just a couple of clicks.
As more and more facilities have an electronic system installed to monitor the site’s safety the main cause of problems, which is the human factor and lack of transparency still exists. The Hazardmon.com combined with the 4B Hotbus monitoring system will allow the senior management, engineering management and technicians — to all have real-time access to the data, which dramatically increases transparency and therefore the management can be certain that the company policies are fully adhered to and that their facility is safe.
Hazardmon.com was launched at the GEAPS Exchange/Expo in Louisville KY, USA, in February 2013 where it was also a featured product in the GEAPS WHAT’S NEW PROGRAM. There was much excitement from industry leaders and plant managers. They could see how this new product would give them ‘eyes on’ their plant 24/7 and help make their plants to be safer and more reliable. Since the exchange a number of US and EU grain handling companies have installed HazardMon and many more are planning on using it.