Bramhall, UK — Engineers at resource recovery specialist Axion Consulting have developed a data logger specifically for continuous process plants that helps operators understand and eliminate causes of downtime, potentially saving them thousands of pounds of year.
The monitoring device has cut downtime by 50 per cent at Axion’s Shredder Waste Advanced Processing Plant, which produces high-quality recycled polymers from end-of-life vehicles. Although developed for the waste industry, the data logger is suitable for a wide variety of other continuous processing industries with similar characteristics. Capable of working with existing programmable logic controllers (PLC) from different manufacturers, the data logger provides hard data of a plant’s downtime and its causes, enabling operators to analyse faults and focus on systems improvements. A key feature prevents an operator restarting the plant until a stop cause has been inputted.
For a multi-site operation it makes it possible to compare sites and performance of sites or shifts, with the added benefit of accessing data remotely when logged in. Installing the data logger on four PLCs at their Trafford Park plant is already delivering benefits for Axion, which offers bespoke versions configured to individual client requirements.
A very worthwhile investment
Axion Director Roger Morton explains: “Since using the data logger our downtime has dropped by around 50 per cent, so it’s been a very worthwhile investment for us. It could also be of huge benefit to others; that’s why we have decided to share our expertise with external clients.
“Accurate monitoring of our processes has already helped to create savings for us and identify where we can implement improvements in our processes.
“We developed it for ourselves because we couldn’t find anyone else offering a package for the waste industry that gave all the features we wanted, including interfacing with multiple PLCs and forcing a structured input of stop causes so that these can be analysed in a regulated way.”
Complex data analyses of variables
The data logger’s developer Axion Senior Engineer Sam Haig says overall equipment effectiveness can be optimised through complex data analyses of variables such as uptime, throughput rate and quality over an extended period of time.
“Reports generated by our data logger enabled us to determine the optimum balance between several variables and this has cut our downtime by half,” he says. “This data can be processed quite quickly and interpreted in a way that it leads you to the best solution.”
Roger Morton adds: “While the data logger is very relevant for the waste management industry, we think it offers great scope for many other similar industries incorporating separate processing units, such as aggregate mineral processors and food processors.”
Source: Axion Consulting