Efficient Plant February 2018 - 39
feature | solution focus
DCS Opens New
is providing critical
production insights and
centralized control for a
major agricultural terminal
AFTER OPERATING FOR decades,
Nebraska's Midwest Farmers Cooperative
(MFC, midwestfarmers.coop) found itself
facing limited opportunities for an expanded global-market reach. With most of its
grain transported by truck, the co-op determined the best way to grow the business
would be to build a new central-hub terminal with access to major U.S. rail lines. In
addition to train service and highway access
for inbound trucks, the terminal would also
need to be strategically located with respect
to MFC's existing operating facilities.
Having settled on a location that met
those requirements, the co-op worked with
system integrator Wachter Inc. (wachter.
com, Lenexa, KS) to design a fully automated facility based on the scalable PlantPAx
distributed control system (DCS) from
Rockwell Automation (rockwellautomation.
com, Milwaukee). Now up and running, the
terminal is helping MFC efficiently move
corn and other grain into new markets
around the world.
MFC is a full-service cooperative. It brings
together 4,100 farmer patrons in Nebraska
to negotiate higher prices as a group and
reach customers to which individual members might, otherwise, not have immediate
access. The co-op operates 28 Nebraska
facilities where trucks bring grains to be
dried, conditioned, and stored until purchased and transported out.
Previously, only a few of those terminals
had access to trains to haul grain to market.
Reliance on trucks as the primary means of
transit, in turn, limited the co-op's customer
base solely to companies operating in the
Midwest. The co-op's efficiency also was
limited given the fact most of its terminals