Grain for the world

The SIMATIC HMI is applied by manufacturer Neuero to simplify the handling of grain unloaders.
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Challenge

Globally applicable solution for cereals handling

Neuero Industrietechnik für Förderanlagen GmbH is one of the world's leading manufacturers of pneumatic ship loaders and unloaders, which are indispensable to the international grain and other trades. Neuero has found SIMATIC HMI devices to be a rugged, user-friendly system that facilitates the reliable and precise operation of its plants.
Customer

Experts in loading and unloading technology

Around 2.5 billion tons of barley, oats, millet, corn, rice, rye and wheat are currently harvested each year – the main part of this in the bread baskets of Asia, Europe and North America. Approximately 15 percent of this amount – more than 300 million tons – is traded worldwide and often comes into contact with the conveyor systems of a company from Northern Germany: Almost unnoticed by the public, the plants of the company from Melle in Lower Saxony makes quite a contribution to supplying people with foodstuffs.
Our systems are robust, durable, and efficient. We apply state-of-the-art engineering for this purpose – thus, using advanced blower technology, we succeeded in reducing the energy consumption to well below one kilowatt per unloaded metric ton.
Michael Lepper, mechatronics technician at Neuero

Unique plants for special requirements

Each of the company's plants is unique: The performance, levels, booms, track widths of the carriage and conveyor systems are tailored to the requirements of the customer and are adapted to the conditions at the site. The "Multiport M600" ship unloader can reach up to 30 meters in height, depending on the respective type, and features a corresponding boom for unloading with conveyance of up to 600 metric tons of wheat per hour. All systems are maneuverable with either runner rails or rubber tires. The maximum speed is 1 km/h – not bad for a ship unloader that weighs almost 200 tons on its own.

Quality "Made in Germany"

Now boasting more than 100 years of tradition in the manufacture of reliable and high-quality conveyor systems worldwide, Neuero specializes in pneumatic and mechanical bulk material handling and produces continuous ship loaders and ship unloaders (CSU) with the "Made in Germany" seal of quality. Customer-orientated, flexible, cost-efficient and active on a global scale, Neuero employ state-of-the-art technology and their reliability to guarantee success in every project they undertake. At the site in Melle, Neuero have a production area encompassing 6,550 m². The new logistics hall was completed in 2013. With in-house production machinery, paint shop, sandblasting booth and their very own testing lab, the company is ideally equipped to continuously and technically implement the very latest engineering solutions on behalf of their customers.

Solution

Mobile or stationary: Integral system operation

Neuero has now prepared and supplied more than 30 systems with a combination of both stationary and mobile SIMATIC HMI devices. The solution is well received by the users.

"Our customers want their systems to work. If there is a problem, we hear about it immediately," explains Michael Lepper. "But, since no one has reported back, it would seem that the technicians and operators on-site are getting along well with the new solution."

Neuero realized the entire automation of its ship unloaders with components from Siemens. There are two containers in total for the electrotechnical systems installed in various sections of the unloader in the "Multiport" systems. A SIMATIC S7-1500 controller monitors and controls all of the processes in the system, from the sensors in the suction nozzles and the blowers to the running gear. The HMI devices in the cabins for loading and unloading trucks, as well as the HMI devices all come from the SIMATIC HMI family. This mobile device can either be connected to the running gear via a connection box, allowing the personnel to call the status and diagnostics data conveniently from the Multiport, or by way of a second connection box on the superstructure. This flexible operating concept ensures efficient service and maintenance of the plants.

Safe maintenance and control

With the portable HMI device, service personnel can find the optimal point on the running gear – important for safely and efficiently working on the running gear of the Multiport. It must be ensured for travel processes in particular that neither persons nor other vehicles, as well as fixed installations are harmed or damaged, or are exposed to hazardous situations, and consequently Neuero has implemented a special safety concept.  Working in unison with a SIMATIC S7-1500 controller, ultrasonic sensors detect and prevent collisions, and several emergency stop buttons on the running gear and in the operator booths allow the system to be stopped immediately – "of course, the emergency stop action of the traction drives is delayed to ensure that no abrupt movements of the ship unloader occur when stopping," explains Lepper.

Customer benefits

One simple and uniform system

Operations on the running gear of the unloader are often undertaken in harsh climatic conditions. The mobile HMI device offers a major advantage for the system operator or for servicing personnel in this regard: If it is not needed, it can be stored in a climate-controlled protective container – for service or maintenance purposes, the employee takes it along, simply plugs it into the connection box, and can then immediately access all of the information of the Multiport ship unloader.

The stationary HMI devices in the operator's cabins, as well as the mobile systems are based on the uniform SIMATIC HMI family – a significant advantage for operations in ports and terminals, as attested by Michael Lepper: "Thanks to the integrated system and uniform design of the screen layouts, the employee sees exactly the same screen as in the stationary HMI devices and can quickly find his way around. This is very important to our customers, because they only have to train their employees once and operating the system is considerably more intuitive." Neuero also benefits from the integration of the SIMATIC family: "We develop the systems in a relatively small team and we also perform the commissioning on-site. We always use the same tools for this – for configuring the PLC program and visualization, for diagnostics, fine-tuning, and service. As a result, we can efficiently implement the tasks, quickly put the systems into operation, and ensure a reliable supply of spare parts around the world, even in remote regions. This pays off, both for the customer and for us."

Flexibility for individual solutions

The engineers at Neuero are working on several various orders simultaneously – and are constantly keeping the broader view in their sights. "We are not only developing conveyor technology for grain or animal feed, but also systems for other bulk goods such as fertilizer, minerals, aluminum oxide or petroleum coke. Here too, we always need tailored applications – up to the integration into higher-level logistics systems or access to system data via mobile apps. The SIMATIC systems give us a flexible platform for automation and visualization, which enables us to implement almost any task efficiently – an important advantage in our multifaceted market."

The SIMATIC systems give us a flexible platform for automation and visualization, which enables us to implement almost every task efficiently.
Michael Lepper, mechatronics technician at Neuero

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