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BALLANCE

Fertiliser Retail Silo

Introduction:  Ballance Agri-Nutrients came to us with an idea that it wanted to have fertiliser more easily accessible for customers.  They needed more distribution points available for better coverage to customer needs.  They had a design for a 25 tonne distribution silo and needed a control system to make it work.  The silo needed to be unmanned and available for customers to load their trucks and trailers unassisted.

 

Solution: Tait Controls along with Ballance Customer Services engineered a solution for this.  The Balance customers will be issued with a RFID Smart Card containing their details.  This would be used as a swipe card to log on.  Using a touch panel the customer would then be able to enter the load details and start the filling.  When the vehicle filling had been completed a transaction receipt would then be printed for the customer to take and emails automatically sent via the cell phone network.

A Compactlogix L16 controller using a combination of ethernet and serial interfaces to connect to the various devices of the control system.

  1. A RFID scanner was used to read the customers individual credit card style ID card.

  2. A panelview touch screen was used as the customer interface for them to load the quantity of fertiliser required.

  3. A calibrated and Weights and Measures approved scales reported the weight of load dispensed to the vehicle.

  4. A variable speed drive was used for the silo vibration.  The speed of this drive was varied automatically and typically was reduced as the silo level reduced.

  5. A router was used to send an email of the transaction to; Ballance for billing purposes, the cartage contractor to send a truck to fill the silo when the level was low and Tait Controls support staff.  Emails would also be sent to Balance and Tait Controls if there was a fault in any part of the system.  The router was also used for remote support to get online to the PLC and Panelview if any programming changes were required.

  6. A UPS was used to ensure that a transaction was completed if there was a power issue.

  7. A kiosk printer issued a receipt of the transaction to the customer after the filling process had finished.

Tait Controls designed and assembled the control cabinet.  When the Silo was assembled on site Tait Controls staff also installed the completed cabinet and carried out the commissioning.