Automating Product Load-Outs

N2P Control’s software programming capabilities have helped save their customers’ time and money by automating product load-outs.

Client: Any that dispatch product via truck or tanker
Project:
Automating product load-outs

  • Load-out Software
  • Docket printing
  • Job Management
  • Integration with MRP software
  • PLC/HMI programming and supply
  • Remote connectivity
  • Full package solution
  • Installation and Commissioning

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Background

Many companies and industries supply their product to customers via truck or tanker deliveries. This typically involves
an operator supervising delivery of a product into a truck or tanker, recording the amount added to the truck/tanker, printing a docket for the driver’s records, and then reconciling this with their inventory records. If this delivery docket is used for invoicing, the equipment used for measuring the amount of product despatched, e.g.
load cells, flow meter etc, must be suitably certified.

Problem

Many load-out facilities have very manual tasks requiring a lot of operator action or supervision. As with any human interaction, it greatly increases the chance of human error resulting in over or under charging and/or inventory recording errors. This leads to customer dissatisfaction and extra labour cost in identifying how/where/when the error occurred. This results in costly and inefficient product delivery.

Some industries’ load out facilities are a large distance to their customer’s work location e.g. fertiliser suppliers. This results in extra cost for transport and potentially losing customers to a closer load-out facility.

Solution

The engineers at N2P Controls have
years of experience in designing and building automatic load-out facilities. This ranges from supplying purely software based solutions, through to offering total package solutions.

Some load-out facilities have the majority of the hardware already installed, but not being utilised to its full potential. In this instance N2P Controls can supply its load- out software, customised for the specific application, and communicate directly with the existing PLC or other controller.

A total package solution would involve sourcing load cells, metering equipment, warning lights, remote identification hardware etc as required, purchasing and programing PLC/HMI, supply of load-out software, supply of MCC, installation,
and commissioning.

N2P Controls can offer a customised solution to suit whatever the customer’s circumstance is.

The load-out software can communicate with the customer’s MRP software or similar as necessary. The load-out software also includes docket printing functions and job management functions.

Other more advance features can be added, such as unique identifiers e.g. near-field tags, keypad codes etc, installation of cameras for recording an image of every load dispatched.

N2P Controls can also offer a controller that communicates from a remote location to a central server. This allows for remote monitoring of load-outs units set up in isolated locations.

N2P Controls are aware of the need to ensure the highest safety precautions are in place in any automation project. As such, in all cases, a full scope of work is developed and HAZOP completed to ensure all practical safety precautions have been incorporated.

The Technical Stuff

The software is VisualBasic based, therefore, entirely compatible with Microsoft Windows operating platform. It typically communicates via Modbus to the PLC/HMI that controls the load-out process.

If a PLC/HMI is required on site, N2P Controls can use the site’s preferred PLC/ HMI brand or can recommend a suitable PLC/HMI for the scale and budget involved. N2P Controls has a relationship with most major PLC/HMI suppliers.
If the load-out involves flammable products, N2P Controls can design the system to ensure it is intrinsically safe and produce DG dockets.

Outcome

By automating your load out system, you can maintain or enhance Health and Safety, reduce load out times and free up your operators resulting in greater operational efficiencies.

N2P Controls has the experience and expertise to design and build an automated load-out system for any application. Let N2P Controls help increase your profitability by increasing load-out throughput.

Download this case study as a PDF (1.5MB)