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Smart motor control system boosts mill production

10 June 2024

PROCESS CONTROL specialist Promtek has developed a new smart motor control technique to maximise production at an animal feed mill. The ultra-modern system, installed at Saracen Horse Feeds in Kent, allows manufacturers to access data on the materials, energy and time used per batch, using a unique combination of technology.

Looking to optimise production processes and bring the mill up to the 21st century, operations managers at Saracen turned to Promtek for its expertise in the integration of software and hardware.

Working in collaboration with Schneider Electric, engineers at Promtek have developed a solution where the mill’s machinery is controlled via a network connection. Previously, in order to gain such production insights, motors in the mill would have to be controlled with contactors and a costly PLC would have had to be installed, involving a complicated setup of cables and multiple measurement devices.

Engineers at Promtek installed a tailored StoraWeigh process control system to connect with Schneider Electric’s Tesys Island, a smart motor control platform that allows machinery to connect to the motor without a conventional digital IO. Tesys Island retrieves valuable production information which is then validated by Promtek’s StoraWeigh system, then shared and analysed using Promtek’s web based Condor platform.

The real time control and analysis enabled by the system has allowed Saracen to optimise output without the need for an expensive array of interconnected systems. Any hiccups during processing are also quickly dealt with, since the new system identifies and reports back the cause of any anomalies such as jammed or overheated equipment.

Being able to accurately monitor energy use during production is proving a major benefit to Saracen, especially given the rising energy costs currently being faced by manufacturers. Staff are able to see exactly how much energy has been used to make a product, helping to inform profit margins on a continual basis. It also aids in an accurate assessment of the return on investment of the new equipment, since the Condor programme can compare the efficiency of the previous setup with the new one.

Commenting on the new system, Saracen Operations Manager Joe Lydiate said: “To remain competitive in a challenging market we knew we had to update the system. From the get-go, it was clear that Promtek understood our business and what was needed to bring it up to date. Using the analysis on the Condor, we’ve been able to see an increase in tonnes per hour, with many batches going through at faster speeds than before.”

Carbon footprint can also be measured using the equipment – increasingly important to manufacturers as they seek to prepare for coming green mandates and meet the sustainability expectations of their customers.

Promtek head of projects, Liam Barks, added: “It’s been a really rewarding project to work on at Saracen. Supplying the whole package as one has given Saracen a complete solution, optimising their production in a fuss-free way. It’s a unique solution and, we believe, the first of its kind in the UK.”