Material Handling: Manage Bulk-Resin Storage for 30 Silos on One Touchscreen

New Railcar Unloading Controller manages railcar unloading, silo selection, material routing, and silo filling from one control inside the building.

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Conair’s Railcar Unloading (RCU) controller is available as an option for FLX-128 Plus material-handling control system or as a standalone control package. Conair says the RCU package seamlessly consolidates control functions that would otherwise be accessed with dedicated control panels serving individual railcar unloading systems, airlocks, material-routing valves, silo loaders and level sensors/monitors throughout the plant. 

For processors already purchasing or thinking about purchasing resin in railcar quantities, the RCU controller offers the ability to set up and manage bulk-resin handling securely and economically, with the possibility of future expansion. Because it shows and controls the entire process on one touchscreen, it eliminates the need for processors to go outside or to manually monitor and operate dedicated equipment controls at the rail siding or at various locations in the plant.  

The RCU controller includes an Allen-Bradley PLC pre-programmed with necessary control logic, an I/O control panel, and a separate 10-inch high-resolution HMI monitor designed for indoor/outdoor use. In plants equipped with Conair FLX-128 Plus material handling controls, the RCU PLC and control-I/O box plug directly into the main FLX-128 Plus control panel. Otherwise, the controller operates in stand-alone mode. Unloading elements connect via Ethernet directly or via remote I/O expansion panels. 

During setup, users follow a graphical system diagram to identify and enter all system elements: railcar unloaders, airlocks, pumps, directional valves, silo receivers and silo level sensors. Then, by configuring pumps, airlocks, and directional valves, processors can create and test material pathways that route resin from any railcar unloader to any silo. The RCU controller can manage up to five railcar unloading systems and up to five airlocks, which transfer incoming material from vacuum-powered railcar unloaders to the pressure-driven conveying and silo-loading system. It can also run up to 12 multi-position valves (2-, 3-, or 4-way), which direct material flows through conveyor plumbing to the selected silo. Finally, it can control receiving, filling and level monitoring operations in up to 30 silos.