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Fertilizer blending plant grows production thanks to Festo
Product News Tuesday, May 29, 2012: Festo (PTY) Ltd
Since Bagtech International made Festo its industrial automation partner, the company, in Durban, has experienced amazing results. What started out as an initial component switch, eventually led to the complete automation and control of a 4 Hopper Mobile Blending Plant for fertilizer, used for blending various raw products.
Bagtech, a manufacturer of bagging equipment and an outsourced bagging company for various big players in the fertilizer industry, originally switched to the Festo Corrosion Resistant (CR) range of cylinders: They were better able to resist the highly corrosive chemicals, such as Potassium Chloride and Ammonium Nitrate, which are present in most fertilizer blends.
Standard cylinders with bronze bushes and aluminium bodies were wearing out in less than a fortnight, whereas the Festo CR range of stainless steel cylinders, made from 1.4301 and 1.4401 alloys, protect against chemical or mechanical stress and damage. The CR range, therefore, offers increased protection against pitting and crevice corrosion associated with chloride.
Festo recommends that the CR cylinders be properly cleaned to avoid an accumulation of chloride ions. Selected sealing materials further ensure very high resistance to a wide range of chemical compounds. (Further information on resistance to media can be obtained at www.festo.co.za)
Building on the relationship and trust from the successful switch to the Festo CR range of cylinders, Bagtech also switched all of its machinery to the Festo CPX T03 PLCs, MPA valve terminals and FED-700 displays – all supplied as a complete solution in enclosures from Festo. “Providing a complete process automation solution which increases our customers’ productivity is part of the Festo Mission,” says Festo Sales Engineer Johan Bester, “and we are very proud to be involved in Bagtech projects.”
A further success resulted from constant information and feedback between Festo and the customer regarding specific needs. This led to Bagtech building a test prototype of a new measuring gate using a Festo EMMS-AS-70 servo motor and a precision, low backlash, 90deg planetary gearbox with a 32:1 ratio. “Upon testing this solution, we determined that this new configuration led to a 60% increase in production and a 90% improvement in accuracy and consistency. This saves the customer both time and money,” concludes Bester.
Bagtech secured an order that required the extraction of raw products in the correct ratio for a specific blend out of 4 individual 5-ton bulk holding hoppers so that the sum of the products, as per the ratio, was equal to or smaller than 1 500kg. The product then needed to be transported to a ribbon blender with holding capacity of 1 500kg, and blended for a pre-determined time to create a consistent blend.
From here, the product is sent to a Servo Motor-operated bagging machine, otherwise known as a “Double Nett Weigher.” This machine fills 50kg bags with the blended product at a rate of 60tons/hour and to an accuracy of +/-50 grams. Monitoring and adjusting of the whole process is done with Wonderware SCADA from a PC or remotely from a Laptop or iPad. Report pages created on SCADA can be printed at the end of a production run. Historical trending pages are also included in SCADA – assisting the customer with production analyses, with Festo providing remote assistance via the internet.
Bagtech is now marketing this solution worldwide and it is currently one of the fastest, most accurate and technically-advanced machines in this industry. For further information on this, a series of videos are available on YouTube at: