A cloud-based control system was developed by Tempu Tech for Riceland Foods’ grain facility in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The system is designed to provide continuous monitoring and actionable information to help operators proactively prevent problems by managing both grain and equipment conditions. It involved the monitoring of almost 300 sensors, including bucket elevators, feeder conveyors, bearing sensors, rub block sensors, proximity sensors for motion, motor sensors, shutdown circuits and alarm circuits. Beyond providing data for analysis, the information provided by the system should also be used to proactively manage grain and equipment conditions to identify problems before they cause a hazardous situation and shut down equipment to maintain a safe environment.
The system combines GE’s Equipment Insight (a hardware and software system for data collection, analysis and remote management of equipment) with a PROFINET Industrial Ethernet network connected to the hundreds of sensors and other equipment in the grain storage facilities, as well as on conveyors and bucket elevators. The system provides data transmission and analytical tools that enable valuable operating information to be accessed over the Internet (cloud), on site or remotely, by operators and company managers at all times.
One of the main reasons the system is affordable for even small operations is the elimination of control wires.
PROFINET cables are used to connect the sensing devices throughout a facility to the operators. “We replaced literally thousands of feet of control wire and conduit with one Ethernet cable” says TempuTech’s Adrian Merrill, vice president of operations and corporate development. And the intelligence built into the Profinet technology assures network reliability as being a key feature of the system which provides its own diagnostics and alarms.
For the first time, grain operators not only have real time access to information, but 24/7 data trending that helps them to understand not only what’s happening, but also why, With these new capabilities, the company can move from a reactive to a proactive software analytics company. This gives Riceland operators and managers at all levels a context for decision making that is far superior to the point in time, daily reports they used to get.” With the system installed, the 2014 harvest marked the first time that Riceland reported not having to stop operations. Auditors from insurer Factory Mutual were impressed with the new system during an audit at the facility and were encouraged that Riceland was looking to expand this technology into other facilities.