TRANSFORMING OPERATIONS IN TIMARU

Leading infrastructure and construction company Fulton Hogan delivers a wide range of vital services across Australia and New Zealand. Renowned for their commitment to quality and efficiency, the business continually seeks innovative solutions to enhance their operations and deliver exceptional results. It’s why they turned to N2P recently to upgrade the controls on their Timaru asphalt plant.

No time for downtime

Fulton Hogan’s Timaru asphalt plant is a critical asset in their network. As the only asphalt plant in Timaru – serving the region between Oamaru South and Ashburton – its reliability and performance are essential for meeting the demands of local infrastructure projects.

With the existing control system, installed in 2002, starting to show its age, plant operations manager Karl Beeby was concerned about the potential for breakdowns. 

“If something were to happen to that system, we would be left in a pretty awkward position with potentially significant downtime,” he says. “Not only that, but the old system’s screen layout was outdated and relied heavily on operator knowledge. Operators needed extensive training before they could use it, which was really limiting in terms of staffing. We wanted a system that would make it easier for us to grab an operator from another plant should we need to.” 

With N2P’s MC404 and AC404 control panel systems having been successfully installed in other Fulton Hogan plants around New Zealand, Karl was keen to see the Timaru plant brought up to standard.

Easy installation and great follow-up

With a heavy workload year-round, Karl says he was initially worried about downtime during the installation. 

“Shutting down the plant isn’t something we like to do for longer than absolutely necessary. So we were a bit nervous about any potential delays or extra disruption,” says Karl. “However, Peter and his team were super efficient, installing the control systems and finishing the job three to four days ahead of schedule, so we were really pleased.”

“The follow-up was great too. We had a few bits and pieces we wanted to change and add. Peter came down for a day recently and got it all sorted which was great. 

“And if we have any other issue, he has the ability to dial in and look at the plant in real-time while it’s running to make a diagnosis and take control of the system to sort any issues quickly.”

From ancient to efficient

With the new control system up and running, Fulton Hogan are benefiting from some significant improvements. 

“For a start, the new control system is far more user-friendly. It certainly doesn’t need a heavy instruction manual like the old system. We’ve gone from needing a six-month training period for staff to around two months or less,” says Karl. “And having that ability to use staff from other plants is a really big benefit”.

And because the new system automates many processes, it’s a lot more efficient and the potential for errors is greatly reduced. 

“There are a lot more safety features and interlocks within the system, so you almost can’t run the plant out of sequence when you’re making asphalt,” says Karl.

The N2P control system also provides real-time data and alerts for temperature and other crucial factors, making it easier to diagnose any issues and get it sorted without major hassle. 

“For example, if a temperature goes out of range, the system changes the alert colour, so operators can see and handle it quickly,” says Karl. 

The new system also helps monitor and improve the plant’s environmental impact. By providing detailed live data on burner fuel usage and efficiency, the plant can operate more sustainably. 

“We can track our fuel usage and make sure we’re running as efficiently as possible,” says Karl. 

Ticking all the boxes

With the N2P controls now onboard, Fulton Hogan’s Timaru plant is easier to use, and more efficient not only operationally, but financially and environmentally. It also ensures the plant will remain productive for years to come.  

Karl says the new system has delivered exactly the results they’d hoped for. 

“The N2P team are great to work with and made the process very easy. They were efficient, helpful, and knowledgeable – I’d recommend them to anyone else thinking about an upgrade.”

Need to modernise your plant and make your operations more efficient? Get in touch with our team today to find out more about how N2P can work with your business.

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