Equipment & Technology

Tanktel’s remote monitoring helps manage silos

Tanktel’s software can help bulk solid handlers plan shipments of material to ensure there are no delays in production.

Manufacturers, producers and miners rely on a continuous source of raw materials to keep their operations running.

Material running out at an unexpected time can lead to expensive last-minute shipments and stopped production, which have flow-on effects for the supplier and the site.

Tanktel’s remote monitoring software and hardware combo helps businesses stay abreast of their materials, ensuring scheduled delivers are made on time.

General manager Rob Crutcher said the Tanktel’s hardware was designed to connect to existing sensors to display easy-to-access information on its website.

“The client can see trends, material values and historical data from anywhere, making it perfect for ensuring they never run out of material,” he said.

“With our web-based login, users can allocate inventory managers and transport companies, set up alarm points and see exactly how much stock is available without having to visit a site.

“If an alarm triggers, an SMS and email will be sent to a manager to let them know it’s time to purchase more stock.”

The Tanktel silo level monitoring system can track hundreds of silos per site, with the option to use supervisory control and data acquisition systems to send data to Tanktel’s server without additional hardware. This allows suppliers to gain access to a site’s levels without the need to interface with a client’s IT infrastructure.

Using telemetry for silo vendor-managed inventory can show production peaks and troughs for users that may have seasonal variations, or that may have procured a new contract with higher than usual product usage.

Crutcher said the remote aspect of the data also improved safety, as employees are not required to climb on top of silos to check the level.

“COVID-19 shutdowns also meant it was difficult for some users to get to worksites. Tanktel’s software lets them get the information they need from the comfort of home,” he said.

One of Tanktel’s customers is a supplier of xanthates and other speciality mining chemicals for mine-site processing. Xanthates are among the most-used mining reagents by volume and pose a significant safety risk if not handled or stored correctly.

The supplier wanted to monitor all processes involved in the supply and storage of its xanthates material. It needed to instantly see the current inlet, outlet and coolant temperatures to ensure they were within safe operating limits, and to also see a live reading of the product level within the storage vessel.

Tanktel provided standard remote terminal units that had sufficient inputs to be connected to existing level sensors and temperature probes on the storage vessel. This enables live access to the information via its web dashboard.

Having access to live data allowed the supplier to view daily, weekly, or monthly trends to get a better understanding of the customer’s usage and plan optimal deliveries. It also helped estimate the time until empty based on the current usage rate. Importantly, it allowed the supplier to keep monitoring the temperature controls for the product.

Knowing more about when deliveries needed to be made meant fewer deliveries were required, reducing the need for human interaction with potentially hazardous chemicals at each site.

Crutcher said Tanktel also offers technical support, with emergency support available around the clock.

“Users can call up any time if there is a problem, and we can send engineers and electricians out to see if the sensors are working correctly,” he said. “Where practical, w also do customer visits occasionally to make sure everything is working properly.

“We’re excited to grow the business and let people know about how effective our software can be.”

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