Automation of Material Handling system

Client required automation of a material handling unit comprising of 6 conveyors. Manual operation was resulting in loss of production and time as well as making it difficult to conduct root cause analyses when troubleshooting. Automation of the conveyors had to allow sequential operation of the conveyors such that material flow was stable without any backlogs or blockages.

 Radix provided a single control system allowing sequential and individual ON-OFF control of the conveyors. By replacing the old relay panel with a PLC system, we provided a low maintenance solution that was easily integrated in their present set up.

In addition, a mimic display system showed operator status and troublesome points in the system for quick and targeted response.

  • Automatic Sequential startup and shutdown operation of conveyors.
  • Manual mode override control function.
  • Mimic panel showing status of all conveyor functions.
  • Less maintenance as old relay logic control was replaced with PLC system.
  • 0 speed detection and trip control.

Before automation, the system comprised of six manually operated conveyors sequentially passing on the material from one to the other.  The conveyors were manually started up and shut down in a sequence with appropriate delays and tolerances to prevent piling up of material.

However due to the complexity of such an operation and frequent failure of this manual material handling system, our client decided to go in for an automated solution.

In order to convert the manually operated conveyors into automatic mode, Radix provided a single control system with an Allen Bradley PLC with 36 digital inputs and 18 digital outputs. The PLC was programmed for sequential operation of startup and shut down of all 6 conveyors.

In Auto-mode operation, Conveyors No 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 would start in the sequence with predefined delays. Conversely, they would shut down in the reverse sequence 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 with the same predefined delays. 

A zero speed trip control detected if any conveyor had jammed or was not running on desired speed. In either event, it would trip the entire system sequentially.

Radix-make mimic control panels showed operators all operation indicators on a mimic display.


Screw Conveyor system

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