Integrating various application modules into custom feed mill controls and an automation system requires great listening skills …. along with process knowledge and technical expertise. That’s why Sterling Systems & Controls employs top-notch engineers in all disciplines required. We don’t use contract engineers. It takes a team skilled with working together to accomplish your objectives. This is but one example.
Custom feed mill controls can include almost anything, start to finish, generally Receiving, Material Transfer, Grinding, Batching and Load Out are commonly provided. Sterling Systems & Controls proposed an Automated Feed Mill Control System with custom feed mill controls using a server based system with virtual machines and thin clients, along with a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller), and based on drawings provided by our customer and our detailed discussions to understand the objectives and requirements our customer had. It was decided that the areas to be automated were to include:
- Truck Scales Interface
- Batching (Major/Minors/Liquids) with automatic routing to either bagging or load out bins
- Automatic Truck Loading
The custom feed mill controls utilize a rack mounted server, and rack mounted PC’s running Sterling Systems’ Windows Based Automation Software using a SQL Database (supplied by Sterling Systems) to collect and store data. The server is connected to an Allen Bradley PLC (Sterling Systems is a recognized Allen Bradley systems integrator) housed in the Feed Mill Control Panel. The PLC provides Input/Output (I/O) interface to the field devices. Manual Controls is accomplished using Sterling Systems software. All components used are non-proprietary, available from local suppliers.
The custom feed mill controls and automation system includes the Server, SQL Server, Thin Clients, UPS’s and printer. The end-use customer provides Internet Access for updates and trouble-shooting of the system by the Sterling Systems & Controls project engineers from their location. This saves our customer money, e.g. less downtime and the cost of travel expenses. The system incorporates ingredient and formula destination checks to ensure ingredients and formulas are not cross-contaminated while batching and while transferring occurs. The custom feed mill controls also includes Sterling Systems standard batching features such as multi-tasking capability that allows the system to batch while editing or checking formulas, formula production/inventory, ingredients, ingredient inventory/usage and other main menu functions. The system automates the major bins, liquid feeders, scales, mixers, and the discharge of the mixers. Auto-Routing is also incorporated to meet specific customer objectives. The Batching application module monitors the finished feed/load out tank levels and controls the finished feed discharging via pumps and valves.
Sterling Systems’ WebCentral supervisory control application software (for remote database access) is also included. This application software is installed on the database server and accessed through a web browser from any of the corporate computers that were connected to the same local area network as the database server. The WebCentral software application provides the capability to edit formulations, bin tables, ingredient tables, and view and print historical data in the database without interrupting production and without requiring additional software to be installed on the corporate computers. This also achieved a major objective the customer had.
Give us a call today to talk about your business and process objectives and see how Sterling Systems & Controls can provide a custom engineered solution. You can reach us by phone at 1-815-625-0852, toll-free in the USA 1-800-257-7214, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.