News – PACE https://pacetoday.com.au Process & Control Engineering Fri, 22 Jun 2018 00:44:11 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.2 https://pacetoday.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/prime-creative-media-50x50.png News – PACE https://pacetoday.com.au 32 32 GreyOrange Butler robotics deployed at intelligent logistics centre https://pacetoday.com.au/greyorange-butler-robotics-deployed-intelligent-logistics-centre/ https://pacetoday.com.au/greyorange-butler-robotics-deployed-intelligent-logistics-centre/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 00:44:11 +0000 http://pacetoday.com.au/?p=46249 GreyOrange and GROUND announced the deployment of its Butler robotics operations at the Ichikawa logistics center of Daiwa House Industry Co. Ltd (TSE: 1925). The Butler robotics system operates in a 7,000sqm facility offering total logistics solutions that are shared and used for multiple shipper companies. At this site, named ‘Intelligent Logistics Center PROTO’, the … Continue reading GreyOrange Butler robotics deployed at intelligent logistics centre

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GreyOrange and GROUND announced the deployment of its Butler robotics operations at the Ichikawa logistics center of Daiwa House Industry Co. Ltd (TSE: 1925). The Butler robotics system operates in a 7,000sqm facility offering total logistics solutions that are shared and used for multiple shipper companies. At this site, named ‘Intelligent Logistics Center PROTO’, the innovative Butler goods-to-person solution automates material movement to deliver higher throughput and productivity.

Junichi Akiba, president and CEO of Daiwa Logitech, the company that operates logistics in the centre, commented, “We have created this new model of shared logistics facilities using robots as our shippers require comprehensive logistics services. The Butler robotics system allows us to offer higher performance and realise higher productivity through shared logistics services. This delivers additional and exceptional value to each shipper to support their service level requirements.”

The robotics systems will handle a variety of items, reducing time for order fulfilment and cost per shipment, thus enhancing the productivity for each of the shared users. The Butler system is powered by GreyMatter, a software platform from GreyOrange that uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to optimise complex operations. It integrates multiple automation systems to synchronise material flow to gain the highest efficiencies.

The users include airCloset, a subscription-based online fashion rental service for women, Tokyo Otaku Mode; a leading e-tailer for Japanese Pop Culture and Waja, an e-commerce site which operates three marketplaces – Worldrobe for imported brands, Reason Outlet and Fashion Charity Project.

Nalin Advani, CEO – APAC, GreyOrange said, “With 70 per cent of the population shopping online, Japan is one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in the world. We are honoured to partner with Daiwa House Group and GROUND Inc to deploy the Butler system to accelerate order fulfilment and consolidation, and ensure consumers get their orders quickly.”

GROUND, the Japan distributor for the Butler goods-to-person robotics system from GreyOrange, in mid-2017 formed a business alliance to jointly develop with the Daiwa House Group a new generation of ‘Intelligent Logistics Center’ to significantly improve the productivity of logistics facilities.

Hiratomo Miyata, CEO of GROUND said, “The labour shortage in the logistics industry has become a critical issue. Automation of key processes for e-commerce fulfilment is a necessity for companies to maintain a competitive edge. We are pleased to be a part of such innovative initiatives with the Daiwa House Group. We look forward to working closely on supporting their clients and their businesses with the Butler system.”

The Butler system enables high-speed operations by automating inventory storage (putaway) and order fulfilment. It has been deployed in distribution centers in Japan, Hong Kong, India, Europe and the Americas for industries such as 3PL, e-commerce and retail.

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ABB and Kawasaki create world’s first common interface for collaborative robots https://pacetoday.com.au/abb-kawasaki-create-worlds-first-common-interface-collaborative-robots/ https://pacetoday.com.au/abb-kawasaki-create-worlds-first-common-interface-collaborative-robots/#respond Thu, 21 Jun 2018 05:01:11 +0000 http://pacetoday.com.au/?p=46245 ABB and Kawasaki Heavy Industries have showcased the world’s first common collaborative robot operating interface at automatica in Munich, Germany from June 19-22, 2018. The common interface will also help address the shortage of skilled workers in many industries. In Japan for example, one person in five is within a decade of retirement. Demand for … Continue reading ABB and Kawasaki create world’s first common interface for collaborative robots

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ABB and Kawasaki Heavy Industries have showcased the world’s first common collaborative robot operating interface at automatica in Munich, Germany from June 19-22, 2018.

The common interface will also help address the shortage of skilled workers in many industries. In Japan for example, one person in five is within a decade of retirement.

Demand for collaborative robots has outpaced the rapidly-growing industrial robot market, as easier-to-use robots open doors to new users. The fact that collaborative robots can be programmed and operated by people without specialized training helps small and medium enterprises, in particular, to leapfrog traditionally longer industrial robot learning curves.

Collaborative robots (cobots) that can be operated by nearly any user can help offset labor shortages. Their flexibility to work nearly anywhere in a factory without safety barriers also makes them ideal for meeting sudden and unexpected demand peaks.

“The new state-of-the-art, industry-standard operating interface will accelerate the already rapid growth we see in collaborative robots,” said Per Vegard Nerseth, Managing Director of Robotics for ABB. “It will give many new manufacturers flexibility and scalability, while providing more interesting jobs for the world’s vital industrial workforce.”

The interface is a result of the collaboration between ABB and Kawasaki announced in November of 2017, designed to share knowledge and promote the benefits of collaborative automation, in particular dual-arm collaborative robots. It includes a simplified human–robot interface with intuitive, smartphone-like navigation and icons.

Yasuhiko Hashimoto, managing executive officer and president of the precision machinery and robot company, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., said: “We are proud to take this first big step together with ABB and it is entirely appropriate that we usher in a new age of collaboration automation with a collaborative approach.
Collaborative robots will make a large contribution to society in making manufacturing more flexible and efficient and in keeping our factories productive with an increasingly scarcer workforce.”

A joint collaborative automation demonstration located at the East Entrance of automatica will feature Kawasaki’s unique and innovative Dual-Arm SCARA Robot “duAro” working together with ABB’s dual-arm YuMI robot.

In addition to continued development of the operating interface, the collaboration also focuses on other topics such as common safety standards. Traditional industrial safety standards are based on years of practice, supported by very specific parameters. The goal for collaborative automation is to develop safety standards which ensure worker safety, but also allow for entirely new ways of working together without unduly restricting collaborative robots’ many benefits.

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Local support key to upgrade https://pacetoday.com.au/local-support-key-upgrade/ https://pacetoday.com.au/local-support-key-upgrade/#respond Thu, 21 Jun 2018 04:49:27 +0000 http://pacetoday.com.au/?p=46242 Established in 1986, Blackhead Quarries is a joint venture between Palmer & Son and Fulton Hogan and operates a number of quarries in the region surrounding Dunedin, in New Zealand’s South Island. Opened in the 1950s, the company’s Blackhead Quarry, located on Green Island, produces 300,000 tonnes of aggregate per year. The company also operates … Continue reading Local support key to upgrade

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Established in 1986, Blackhead Quarries is a joint venture between Palmer & Son and Fulton Hogan and operates a number of quarries in the region surrounding Dunedin, in New Zealand’s South Island. Opened in the 1950s, the company’s Blackhead Quarry, located on Green Island, produces 300,000 tonnes of aggregate per year.

The company also operates quarries at Logan Point, Dunedin, as well as Balclutha and the Walton Park sand plant in Fairfield. The Balclutha quarry, located approximately 80km south-west of Dunedin, is the largest producer of quality aggregates in the South Otago area and supplies around 30 different products.

With a population of 130,000 people, Dunedin is the second largest city of New Zealand’s South Island and is the principle city of the Otago region, with the harbour and the hills surrounding it being the remnants of an extinct volcano. It has a diverse economy, but the city’s most important activity centres around tertiary education. It is home to the University of Otago, New Zealand’s oldest university (established in 1869), and the Otago Polytechnic.

While primary industries are the main drivers of New Zealand’s economy, in recent years the Otago region has experienced a large increase in tourism. As a result, local government authorities have increased their expenditure on infrastructure in the region, driving strong demand for quarry products.

Investing in the future
Until recently, Blackhead Quarry’s Balclutha quarry operated a fixed crushing plant that required rock to be transported up to 5km from its primary sources to the ageing facility. In the interest of improving operational flexibility and safety, the company decided to invest in a new mobile crushing and screening plant for its Balclutha operations.

Blackhead Quarries has worked with plant specialist Metso in the past, having bought its first Lokotrack mobile impact crusher in 2005 from the company. With its latest acquisition, Blackhead operates the largest fleet of Metso mobile crushing and screening equipment in New Zealand. But the company’s relationship with Metso and Mimico, Metso’s dealer in New Zealand, dates back further. Much of the equipment in the company’s original fixed plants includes Nordberg, Allis Chalmers and Barmac machines, which can all be traced back to Metso origins.

Tony Hunter is the general manager of Blackhead Quarries and has been involved in the industry for over 30 years. He is a fifth-generation descendant of one of the company’s original founders. Tony has overall operational responsibility for all of the company’s quarries.

He said that being near the sea, Blackhead quarry’s fixed plant was suffering from extensive corrosion issues. Management was worried about the safety of fixed walkways and the quarry’s 23 conveyors.

“Five years ago, we decided it was best to build a new plant at Blackhead with only nine conveyors and no walkways,” he said. In doing so, the existing Nordberg C100 jaw crusher, a cone crusher and Barmac 9600 crusher were relocated.

The new plant is fully automated and was designed to keep the amount of structural steel work to a minimum, which led to the elimination of walkways.

“For maintenance we use cherry pickers, which give better access to the equipment than walkways, and, in our opinion, are much safer for our maintenance staff,” he said.

Hard rock drives need for reliable wear part supply
Gavin Hartley is the quarry manager at Blackhead quarry, and has 10 years’ experience with the company. He describes his job as, “making stones as cheaply and efficiently as possible while ensuring that his staff is safe.”

“Staff compatibility and continuity are very important, as is giving our people the right tools for the job,” he said.

The Blackhead quarry produces a range of quarry products, including base courses (for road base), sealing chip, asphalt dust and railway ballast. The rock quarried in the Otago area is a heavy, fine-grained rock that is hard, brittle and abrasive.

“Jaws and liners typically last about 3500 hours, and Barmac tips only about 500 hours,” Hartley said. “Bucket teeth can last anything from 800 to 2000 hours.”

The reliable, local supply of wear and spare parts is important.

The importance of local support
“Here in New Zealand we are a long way from Finland, or other countries where rock crushers are manufactured,” said Hunter. “It’s important that we can get ready access to the support we need, because a crushing equipment failure can stop our production.”
“New Zealand is a small country and Dunedin is a small community,” said Garth Taylor, crushing and screening business manager at Mimico. “If Blackhead Quarries has two LT106 jaw crushers they only need one set of spare parts. They have two of New Zealand’s 12 LT1213 impact crushers. The number of Metso machines in New Zealand means that we keep a range of spare parts to support our customers.”
While there are more brands of crusher available, Hunter likes to work with organisations that support the local quarrying industry.

“The large number of Metso crushers in New Zealand means that there’s good support locally,” he said. “Wear parts are one thing, but these technically advanced machines can be stopped by the failure of a small component like a sensor. While we perform most of the maintenance ourselves, it is good to have local technical support. Mimico provides all that we need and we have a great relationship.”

Blackhead Quarries experienced the benefits of crushing and screening at the quarry face when it introduced its first mobile crusher in 2005. The company has been growing its fleet of Metso Lokotrack mobile equipment ever since, gradually reducing its reliance on fixed plant.

“You can’t bust a rock without energy and even though it is fuel efficient, the mobile plant uses a lot of diesel – the machines have large motors to move them around, as well as for processing rock,” said Hunter. “With our move to mobile equipment and reduction in the number of trucks, our diesel usage has remained about the same, but we no longer consume electricity in our fixed plants – so overall, our energy costs have gone down in the order of $100k per annum.”

According to Hunter, the reduction in truck usage has also delivered benefits in respect to staffing levels, site safety and maintenance costs.

Blackhead Quarries now owns a total of 10 Lokotracks across its sites, and is the largest user of these machines in New Zealand.

“The Lokotrack fleet has become important to our business,” said Hunter. “Our original LT1213 unit was the first one in New Zealand and is still operating – and now we have more across our quarries. They are the core of our mobile fleet.”

Going mobile at Balclutha
The company’s most recent addition to its Lokotrack fleet took place in 2017 at its Balclutha quarry, which mostly produces road and construction materials as well as manufactured sand. Part of the quarry’s production also feeds the concrete plant next door. The quarry’s demand tends to be seasonal – the Clutha District Council, for example, has an annual road sealing season, and there are periodic maintenance gravel contracts.
Craig Upston, quarry manager at the Balclutha quarry, is a veteran of the industry. Having been with the company for 25 years, he is a third-generation employee.

“The shape of the product is critical for our customers – if we don’t get it right it will be rejected,” he said. “Our Barmac crusher helps us to achieve consistent product shape and quality.”

The Metso Barmac vertical impact crusher uses an autogenous (rock-on-rock) crushing method. Its adjustable rotor speed and feed rate give operators precise control of the grade and shape of the final product. From Upston’s perspective, moving from fixed to mobile plant was a matter of future-proofing the quarry.

“We were planning to replace our older Barmac with a new one, and because the market for Balclutha’s product has a lot of ups and downs, being able to move the crusher around to different sites creates better business flexibility,” he said.

The quarry was originally opened some distance from the town of Balclutha, but with the growth of the town bringing suburbia closer to the quarry, the issue of dust has become a problem. By eliminating the fixed plant that was close to the road and moving to Lokotrack machines, quarry staff can choose where crushing occurs. The reduction of truck movement and decommissioning of the fixed plant has made it easier for the company to manage dust.

At first Upston proposed putting a new Barmac on tracks then in five years’ time adding a tracked cone and jaw crusher as well. As it turns out, the company’s management loved the idea and acquired all three Lokotrack versions in the same year.

Uptson’s first exposure to Metso crushers was the Nordberg GP300 when Blackhead Quarries took over from Fulton Hogan around 2003.

“We already had a lot of Metso gear and had a great run with the crushers, so it made sense to keep on dealing with the same company,” he said. “As we were happy with the Metso equipment that we already owned, it was a no-brainer.”

The decision to move to tracked equipment was driven by the need to quarry without access to electricity. Additionally, if the quarry had to relocate, it would be easy to move the equipment elsewhere.

“If you bolt it to the ground there is no flexibility,” he said. “All the mobile plant is self-powered. We don’t have any three-phase power at the new quarry face, so mobile, diesel-powered crushing and screening is the only way to go.”

Reducing dependence on fixed plant
In July 2017, Mimico supplied a Metso Lokotrack LT106 mobile jaw crusher along with an LT200HP mobile cone crusher and a ST3.5 mobile screen for the Balclutha quarry. An additional ST3.5 and a LT7150 mobile Barmac VSI (impact) crusher were supplied in October.

At a time of increasing infrastructure expenditure in the growing Otago region, being able to produce large quantities of quality aggregate in a more flexible way allows the company to be responsive to market fluctuations, which is important for Blackhead’s future business success.

The company also deploys some of its Lokotrack mobile crushers and screens in contract crushing operations around the Dunedin area and is now looking to purchase another LT106 for a new job that will deliver half a million tonnes of aggregate for a major road building project.

In a world where concern for the environment means that people look at mining and quarrying with an increasingly critical eye, Hunter has a positive outlook on the future. “This is a simple business. You can’t have a city without stones, and so we are lucky to be a mature company in a mature local economy, that will always need infrastructure,” he said. “In buying the Lokotrack equipment, I am trying to set the company on a good path for whatever may happen over the next 10 to 15 years to come and beyond.”

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Fence power – personal power picogrids https://pacetoday.com.au/46239-2/ https://pacetoday.com.au/46239-2/#respond Thu, 21 Jun 2018 04:45:33 +0000 http://pacetoday.com.au/?p=46239 The growth of onsite power systems, flavour-of-month battery packs, EVs, interconnectability to the outside poles and wires plus kilowatt hour exchange apps have changed the underlying energy in microgrids, their takeup and the associated technologies. For people sharing fences with the neighbours, often on three sides of a property, the idea of investing in a … Continue reading Fence power – personal power picogrids

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The growth of onsite power systems, flavour-of-month battery packs, EVs, interconnectability to the outside poles and wires plus kilowatt hour exchange apps have changed the underlying energy in microgrids, their takeup and the associated technologies.

For people sharing fences with the neighbours, often on three sides of a property, the idea of investing in a big, roof-mounted solar system, with inverters, wiring and not being paid the same as it costs to buy the same electricity, does seem like a renewable bridge too far for some to cross. Then there is the issue of climbing onto the roof to clean the collectors so the efficiency doesn’t drop.

The Columbus Group has a power solution that it calls the Neighbourly Fence Power system. It’s a solar array with a built-in battery pack and the ability to accommodate different priorities. One of the key features of the system is that it is expandable to meet varying power needs. To add more capacity, consumers can click in another array. They are narrow enough to sit on top of almost any fence, with angle support brackets that double as power take-off points.

A key element of the system is that it is not normally connected to the big grids. It is mounted on top of fences between neighbours, so it is easy to clean, which is necessary if users wish to keep the output strong. The cost of adding new capacity is usually shared or balanced up depending on the number of takeoff brackets and their priorities.
With safety and usefulness in mind, the system (on each side of the fence), can be connected to a neighbourly local inductive power system (LIPS) solution at a nearby window.

LIPS allows the transfer of energy through a glass window at around 5.8GHz to a collector on the other side where appropriate conversion from 12V DC to 250V AC, so it can run lights, recharge phones or power laptops.

While not suggesting that personal power picogrids should be connected to the external networks, the Columbus Group says there is value for local governments to transfer the responsibility for footpath lighting to such systems, provided there is identified priority power capacity to run nearby street footpath lighting, usually one or two lamps, to say, a minimum five Lux, which is aligned with the AS1158 standard.
There are many other uses for picogrids – from high-priority security CCTV that can be monitored by smart phones to horticulture LEDS that stimulate plant growth such as kitchen vegetables. While there might be sun on the fence top, quite often the sun does not reach the narrow pathways between fences and walls. Horticulture LEDS of ultra blue, hyper red and far red for flowering, can make a world of a difference to stimulate healthy plant growth.

It is well known that there are many stand-alone solar power systems – from street lights to traffic control warning signs outside schools and remote sensor packages – but they are usually of a set capacity and purpose.

The Neighbourly Fence Power modules and applications go the next step by having smarts for the system to be expanded easily. Users click in another module with a built-in battery, without any additional wiring or configurations.

There is also a  range of power take-off mounting brackets where different brackets have the software to automatically prioritise the purpose for the power package. This balances up short high demands like opening vehicle gates with long-term, low-drain energy needs, such as CCTV.

The system design allows different power take-off mounting brackets, from high demand to low drain, to be clicked together side by side, between solar collecting modules, or at the end of a string.

There is a new range of mounting brackets being developed that can collect energy and share the recharging of the batteries in each of the solar array modules. Small wind turbines, scavenging heat from dishwasher and shower waste water, and even energy collectors on playground equipment  like swings in the backyard, are prime candidates in the expanding range of options in support of the personal power picogrids.

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Joint venture will lead to efficient battery systems https://pacetoday.com.au/joint-venture-will-lead-efficient-battery-systems/ https://pacetoday.com.au/joint-venture-will-lead-efficient-battery-systems/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 23:53:14 +0000 http://pacetoday.com.au/?p=46235 How is it possible stabilise power that is generated by renewable energy sources and therefore is subject to fluctuations caused by the weather? That is undeniably one of the key questions at the heart of the current energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables. Efficient battery systems will play an important part going forward, as … Continue reading Joint venture will lead to efficient battery systems

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How is it possible stabilise power that is generated by renewable energy sources and therefore is subject to fluctuations caused by the weather? That is undeniably one of the key questions at the heart of the current energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables.
Efficient battery systems will play an important part going forward, as they can be used to compensate for imbalances in the amount of energy being generated and required by consumers.

And now, within the scope of their joint venture Kraftwerksbatterie Heilbronn GmbH, Bosch and EnBW have come up with the answer. Their joint efforts have brought about the creation of an energy storage system for primary control reserve at the EnBW power plant in Heilbronn. Transmission grid operators require primary control reserve power to even out any frequency fluctuations in its electric power grid. This energy storage system is among the first of its kind to be integrated into the control technology of a major power plant in Germany. The energy storage system in Heilbronn consists of 768 lithium-ion battery modules. It has a maximum power output of around 5MW and an installed storage capacity of 5MWh.

“We have so much research and innovation potential at our disposal as far as the energy transition is concerned. It is down to us to use that potential and make advancements,” said Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann at the official commissioning of the battery storage system. “The battery storage system is a prime example of this. It opens up new levels of flexibility that will allow us to guarantee power grid stability and in turn a power supply that we can rely on. Not to mention that it has been developed specifically for the energy market, where it needs to really prove what it can do.”

Kretschmann went on to say that, as a result, the energy transition in Baden-Württemberg is witnessing the birth of a new environmental and technological momentum of its own.
“This will lead us to new products, processes and business models. And, of course, new partnerships,” said Kretschmann.

“Our intelligent networked solutions provide the foundations for efficient energy grids. They facilitate smart energy management, which in turn protects the environment and saves money,” explained Dr. Stefan Hartung, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, responsible for the business sector Energy and Building Technology. “Lithium-ion batteries can supply energy in no time, which makes them suited for making primary control reserves available.”

The storage system covers less than a fifth of the regulation power at the power plant in Heilbronn and it can receive, or output, exact amounts within a matter of seconds. The amount of power in the space of one year equates to around the average annual consumption of 400 two-person households.

“We want to work together to help improve the reliability of the power supply and the flexibility of the energy system in Baden-Württemberg, so we can take the next step forward on the energy transition path,” explained Dr Hans-Josef Zimmer, member of the executive board at EnBW.

Today, it is primarily still the large power plants that generate the regulation energy needed for grid stability. And by doing so, those large power plants ensure that a highly reliable power supply is made available. But things cannot stay that way.

“We are about to see a fundamental change to our energy system, as the focus moves away from this centralised approach,” said Zimmer.

He went on to explain that this development calls for fresh solutions. Using battery systems to provide primary control reserve is a good example.

In the wake of the continually increasing share of renewable energies in Germany, energy suppliers are facing new challenges. While working on this project, EnBW has been able to apply its experience in the energy sector and took the lead on the civil works and power grid connection on-site. Bosch’s contribution was its expertise in stationary storage solutions, with the technology company developing and installing the battery storage system itself. Construction, which started on the site of the power plant in Heilbronn back in the late summer of 2017, has been fully completed, meaning that it is now time for the storage system’s normal operation to get under way.

Kraftwerksbatterie Heilbronn GmbH now plans to use the experience gathered during this project to offer solutions for other customers.

The joint venture provides services relating to the integration of battery storage systems into renewable and conventional generation systems, or industrial energy systems, including marketing batteries on the energy market.

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