Fulton Hogan’s Mowbray Asphalt Plant in Tasmania has recently upgraded their plant with N2P. N2P is serving Fulton Hogan across Australia and New Zealand and has brought increased automation to the Mowbray plant to ensure output is maintained at optimum levels as the plant provides vital service state-wide.
Fulfilling road contracts – including Bass Highway maintenance and repair – and serving the state’s councils, Fulton Hogan Mowbray also sends out mix to Hobart airport to keep the runway in good repair and recently supplied the wharf operations team at Burnie Port.
Chuck Reihana, Asphalt Plant Production Manager who also works the tools as a Plant Operator at the Mowbray plant, says the installation of the AC303 and MC404 at the SPECO plant has streamlined operations significantly. “We were working with the old-style pushbutton original set-up, so you’d have to manually push the buttons to start each item individually in a sequence.”
The AC303 runs the whole plant from startup to batch control and mix designs, and the MC404 controls the cold feed. Previously, much guesswork was involved in identifying how much dust was required for each mix; now, delivery can be more precisely calculated.
With the upgraded plant, the team just start the burner, and the sequence is automated. The updated N2P system also flags any issues with audible/visible alarms as they occur, so instead of having to walk the plant to check meters and gauges when production goes awry, all the information needed is available on one smart panel.
This saves valuable time for the Mowbray crew, who recently pumped out 1000 tonnes over two days with the N2P update in place. The new sensors pinpoint faults quickly, and the automation upgrade has been essential to Plant Operators understanding better why faults occur.
Under the old manual system, there was no notification process when issues cropped up. Now the simple guide provided by N2P makes it easy to check the control panel and immediately see where a problem is located.
Reihana explained that, for example, when the bitumen weigh hopper would overfill and the product was lost due to spillage, there needed to be a way to pinpoint why this was happening. After installing the AC303 and MC404 systems, Plant Operators can now record the control panel screen. Hence, while tasks are being actioned elsewhere, there is a record of everything occurring across the day.
With the weigh hopper issue, the record of the screen lets Plant Operators see if the plunger is returning all the way up, this system transparency offsets wet loads as operators can now see if valves are not returning to the full position by simply viewing the recording.
This means the issue can be addressed by changing an air solenoid to increase the air pressure – instead of pulling the entire hopper apart to undertake a mechanical check.
Results and Support
These kinds of fast, targeted solutions provided by the new automation allow Plant Operators to pick up errors quickly with the sensors, and the instant visibility allows faster resolution of stoppages. The upgrade has increased production, reduced waste, and streamlined performance.
Reihana explained the upgrade process, relaying that N2P’s team was present for the handover, and Peter even got out on the tools to troubleshoot issues as the plant transitioned to automation.
“We have benefited greatly from the upgrade provided by N2P, we are producing a more consistent mix, and Niki from N2P has popped in since the upgrade to check-in. Running is just a lot more hassle-free.”
Reihana says the N2P team puts in 110 percent and goes above and beyond. Importantly, when issues pop up, they are also ready on the end of the phone with a solution.
Gaining access to N2P’s Asphalt Plant Automation and their in-depth industry knowledge has been invaluable for Fulton Hogan’s Mowbray Plant.
If you want to know more about what automation can do for your plant, get in touch with the team at N2P today.