Material Delivery Optimization
We visited a client and determined that the production bottleneck for their process was the delivery of grain from silos. The client shared with us that their intent to upgrade the conveying equipment and that a large Capital investment was being requested…This was a clear opportunity for The Batch Brothers to step in!
After The Batch Brothers evaluated the existing system, we determined that a software approach could eliminate the existing bottleneck, without a large investment of Capital equipment. The batch system required multiple grains be delivered, only one grain was requested at a time, once that grain was delivered, the next one would be requested until all the grain required was delivered. The accuracy of these deliveries had been optimized and more than exceeded their tolerance requirements.
The systems characteristic that mostly affected the bottleneck was the distance the silos where from the weigh hopper. Once a Material was requested, the delivery delay from the time the silo gate opened until the first material reached the weigh hopper was of approximately 5 minutes. Once the amount remaining to be added to the hopper reached the “in transition amount” the system would command the silo gate to close, another 5 minutes would pass before the remaining material in the transport system would arrive to the weigh hopper.
The software solution consisted of requesting from the recipe the materials and amounts required, the system will then determine the location of each silo and prioritize the delivery based on the silo that had the smallest delivery time to the hopper. Now, instead of waiting for the completion of the material delivery the logic calculated when the next ingredient/silo gate should be opened to provide a predefined gap between the two ingredients, sometimes the second gate had to be opened before the first one closed.
Once the hopper determined that there was a feed gap and the amount required was near the required amount, then the logic considered this the end of the leading material and would consider the incoming material to be part of the following material requested. The system was designed to be able to specify up to 8 ingredients and their amounts.
In this case, the software automation system could provide another 5% production capability and eliminated the need to upgrade the grain transport system. With each bottleneck change, the process becomes more efficient. Software sometimes can cause that change and may also reduce the need to upgrade the hardware.
Batching Across America,
-The Batch Brothers
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