Efficient Plant February 2018 - 40
feature | solution focus
weren't automated. Consequently,
operators needed to manually keep
processes moving forward.
An automated greenfield central-hub terminal, MFC reasoned,
would not only be key to developing
a larger customer base for the co-op's
patrons, it could help keep operating
them, production moves more
quickly and efficiently compared
to older terminals. Case in point:
The terminal has a capacity of
2.75 million bushels, which could
more than double if warranted.
The receiving end has the capacity
to take in 1,000 bushels every two
minutes, and receives an average
of 300 trucks each day. The site
also reports that remote monitorCo-op management found a location
ing reduces downtime and helps
in Syracuse, in southeastern Nebrassave maintenance costs.
ka, that met their requirements for
One of the biggest benefits,
rail-line access. Once the land was
though, may have come as a result
secured, the project moved forward.
of the project's development
"This was the first time MFC was
process and expedited commisdeploying a centralized DCS in a
sioning. MFC began building
terminal," said Daniel Alvarez, autothe terminal in December 2015.
mation software systems consultant
Wachter began performing the
Up and running since October 2016 with no major downtime events, the
at Wachter and a lead on the project.
upfront engineering and design
Midwest Farmers Cooperative's fully-automated central-hub terminal
"We knew that the PlantPAx modern
in March 2016. The PlantPax
customers around the world.
DCS would be easy to design and
DCS was deployed by October of
deploy quickly, helping to get the
that year-and began validating
facility operating sooner."
processes less than two weeks later.
receiving, weighing, and loadout. Typically,
When designing the control system,
"Our operations, management, and
terminals would require multiple operators
Wachter leveraged the Rockwell Automaleadership teams have varying levels of
to manually manage the process.
tion Library of Process Objects. The preautomation experience, from little or none,
The new system also smoothly manages
built, pre-engineered, and tested process
to full-on, wholly automated facilities," said
enterprise-level monitoring, data storage,
objects allowed Wachter to quickly design
Eric Werth, manager for the MFC Syraand alarming. The system's connectivity to
and deploy the system.
cuse terminal. "With the PlantPAx system,
the enterprise-level monitoring also enables
The Rockwell Software Studio 5000 Logix
Wachter helped us go from design to operremote access. If an issue arises, Wachter
Emulate software application enabled the
ations at the same location, within a year,
can remotely access the control system for
Wachter team to validate, test, and optimize
letting our patrons reach a bigger customer
maintenance and troubleshooting, reducing
code without hardware. This reduced design
base faster than expected."
costs and time for both.
time by about 25%, and allowed the team to
Bottom line: The Midwest Farmers CoopTHE ROI
gather buy-in from MFC stakeholders and
erative plans to standardize on the PlantPAx
MFC's greenfield terminal has been opertrain operators.
system across its facilities as it builds future
ating with no major downtime events to
With an EtherNet/IP backbone, the
terminals and upgrades existing ones. EP
date. Its rail-line access allows the co-op
modern DCS integrates smoothly with the
to deliver corn and other grains to more
facility's new machines, including conveyors
Results mentioned in this article are specific
national and global markets, at higher profit
and dryer systems, to efficiently monitor
to the Midwest Farmers Cooperative's use of
and visualize the terminal from inbound to
Rockwell Automation products and services
The business is realizing a number of
outbound. This comprehensive view enables
in conjunction with other products. Specific
specific benefits from its first centralized
operators to control all areas of the site
results may vary for other users. For more
DCS and fully automated operation. Among
through only three workstations located at
information, visit rockwellautomation.com.