Understanding Concrete Plant Control System and Dispatch Automation

Ready Mix concrete plants commonly use automatic control systems to operate their batching system. This control system is one piece of a much larger series of software and systems required to operate, dispatch and track their companies business assets and profits. In this article I will attempt to discuss some of the common systems and software’s associated with operating a concrete batch plant as well as some of the features and benefits of popular concrete plant control systems.

Typically the term automatic control system, when discussing a concrete batch plant, is referring to the actual controls that operate that plant. A typical control system for concrete plants will operate all of the functions associated with the concrete plant. The control system will usually allow a user to enter in various formula types and/or modifications to a mix design for easy recall when batching. Concrete plant control systems will also typically track the amount of materials used in the batching process and enable an operator to input material deliveries for ongoing inventory tracking. Many control systems also offer memory of trucks to recall charging heights, charge rates and other desirable information.

Concrete plant control systems when properly set up and programed are very easy to operate and user friendly. A plant operator in most cases merely has to signal to the control system when he is ready to activate the plant then the rest of the batch is completed automatically. The addition of temperature and moisture probes enables your plant to gain very high levels of accuracy that would have been unable to be achieved through manually operated plants.

While the concrete plant automatic control systems enable you to manufacture concrete using the material in your plant then discharge that material into the truck, the concrete plant control systems we have discussed will not typically control the equipment that charges materials into your plant. Depending on the type of concrete plant you operate you may charge your concrete plant using a front end loader, conveyor and turn head, conveyor with shuttle conveyor, radial stacker, or other way not mentioned. Depending on the nature and configuration of your feed system you may require a control system to operate that feed system. In most cases, these control systems will feature an on off and/or configuration settings to determine which material bin is charging. Often times control systems for feed systems consist of a simple panel and relay technology.

Now that you understand the control systems necessary to feed materials into your plant to manufacture your desired mix design and dispatch that material into your desired delivery vehicle, we can discuss other system frequently found in concrete plant operations. Dispatch, tracking systems and software are very popular with operators of concrete plants. Additionally, the concrete plant automatic control often includes or can have interfaces added to enable your plant control to send customer and production information to your accounting system for billing and other purposes. Dispatch systems are commonly used with multi plant operations using multiple trucks. Modern dispatch systems may interface with GPS technology to pinpoint a drivers location as compared to pending orders and proximity to various plants, automatically assigning drivers the plant to pick up from and the customers address for delivery.  This advanced planning and tracking tool enables users to have superior control and oversight of their employees and assets.

Together these systems are the most commonly used in conjunction with a concrete plant. It is important to understand that it is not required that these systems be used to operate a successful concrete plant or plants, these tools simply provide valuable tools to help you understand and analyze your business operations and maximize efficiencies.

The use of a modern concrete plant automatic control system and support systems saves operators time and money in wasted material and lost productivity. FESCO Direct sells and supports Jonel automatic control systems, a leading manufacturer of quality concrete plant control systems. For more information on our automatic concrete plant control system visit our website or contact our qualified sales professionals.

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