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Bulk Unloading Project

Bulk Unloading Case Study

Platinum Controls were contracted by an animal food manufacturer to replace an outdated control system that loads lorries with bulk product from storage bins.


The current system had been in place for 30 plus years and used relay logic as a control system.  There were no electrical drawings for the system so faultfinding proved very problematic which resulted in many hours of lost time.  Also the operator interfacing for the system via push buttons and switches on the front of the panel complex and also problematic.

Platinum Controls designed a new suite of control panels to replace the existing panels utilising a new control system  using an Allen Bradley ControlLogix PLC.  Operator interfacing for the new system consisted of a Human Machine Interface (HMI) on the control panel and also a SCADA system via a new PC.

Due to the lack of electrical drawings, Platinum Controls had to back engineer the system which meant identifying all field equipment (motors valves etc) and then generating equipment inventories, junction box layouts, electrical drawings etc.

Old Control Panel

Below are some photos of the old control panel:

New Control Panel

Below are some photos of the new control panel:

Improvements on New System

As the new system is operated and controlled via a SCADA system it was possible to improve the system as detailed below :

  • New system has inverter drives to control motors meaning motor speeds can be changed via SCADA

  • Alarm generation and logging – the new system has alarm handling which can inform operators of equipment that has faulted for example, valves failing to open/close,

  • Extra information being displayed on SCADA system including motor running current, status of equipment etc

  • Logging of running data to a database for traceability which include recording time/date of unloading, which bin was used etc.

The new system also has the following improvements which the old system did not have:

  • Full set of electrical drawings cross referenced to panel equipment for ease of identification

  • Operating manual detailing operating procedures faultfinding etc. – only a few operators understood the old system fully – new system is now understood by all.

  • Faultfinding is now much quicker due to alarms indicated on SCADA and due to the fact there are electrical drawings to cross reference.


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