German tanker specialist, FFB Feldbinder, is embracing the digitalisation of silo technology to improve vehicle operator efficiency while optimising loading and unloading processes.
At the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover, FFB Feldbinder, in cooperation with agricultural co-operative, Raisa, equipped a seven-chamber feed silo trailer with a touchscreen for controlling air distribution and material conveyance components. With help from a Controller Area Network (CAN-BUS) system, the formerly mechanical, pneumatic and electro-mechanical control elements for air distribution and material conveyance are consolidated into a single control.
The tanker specialist said it will be possible for the driver to control and monitor central operations of the vehicle via a touchscreen at the rear or rear panel at a glance. “The unloading process is graphically presented to the user on the screen in a very comprehensible, visual display of the vehicle. The shut-off flaps, air intake, material conveyor and loosener can be attuned to one another via a simple, intuitive menu.”
Unloading processes with specified standard parameters reportedly allow for high reliability of unloading results, even with different users. Standardised unloading under unchanging vehicle settings will also be possible for fixed unloading sites, according to FFB Feldbinder. The user can save the ideal settings for the respective unloading site, and unload at that site in the future with the same settings.
The processing of data sets for unloading sites, loads, fill levels, pressurisation, behaviour of the shut-off flaps, material flow and much more will make it possible for the customer to identify optimal work processes during unloading and to define them as the operation profile for each unloading site and load, and to enter this into the software. The function of geographical and operational data logs forms the basis for the development of customer-specific databases.
The most experienced operators can be secured and implemented in operating profiles. This can reportedly save time when training new employees and when unloading in the future, with the selection of the standardised and optimised operating profile.
“The guided operation and unloading, or ‘guided discharge’, leads to a clear increase in workplace safety and operation quality of silo vehicle technology,” said FFB Feldbinder.
“Through the control panel, safety requests can be sent to the operator. Recording functions help to create checklists. This ensures that important tasks, such as the stability of the vehicle during unloading, are taken care of.
“The safety of the person and vehicle is the top priority of this innovation. In the event of a defect, the operating safety of the pressurised container can be ensured with just the push of a button thanks to the ‘FFB Smart Silo Control Hub’ technology.”
The tanker specialist said that by using the smart silo control hub operators can optimise payload because there is no need for “painstakingly configured, mechanical remote control or shut-off devices”.
There is also an app-based smartphone control that allows the user to unload.
“The Feldbinder Group is excited for the digital future,” FFB Feldbinder said in a statement. “We want to assist our customers with the looming challenges of the pressure of cost and efficiency, as well as the lack of specialists, by improving normal silo technology (in particular the loading/unloading processes based on retrieved operative data) with our ‘FFB Smart Silo Control Hub’ controls.”