Volume 16, Issue 2

CP Feeds Milks SmartBob2 Technology to Optimize Inventory Management

CP Feeds, LLC – a feed manufacturing facility located in Eastern Wisconsin – is a prominent facility operating just outside the village of Valders. The company custom blends livestock feed products, with 98% of their business being specially formulated dairy cattle feed. The facility is host to over 45 different bulk commodity ingredients which can be formulated into specialized mixes by CP Feeds staff of experienced nutritionists. The facility custom blends grains and nutritional additives for each farmer, with each unique recipe being based upon what forages are being fed.

Monitoring vast inventories of bulk materials is vital, as CP Feeds manages 87 bins of raw materials and finished goods. BinMaster® products are used to help with inventory management; almost every single bin has a BinMaster® diaphragm (pressure) switch at the top of the bin. On several of the bins, they use rotaries. “It is important that we don’t plug-up equipment or overfill the bins,” stated Keary Getter, operations manager for CP Feeds.

As an early adopter, CP Feeds has used SmartBob2 technology since 2005 – starting with 35 units and now have 59 bins using this technology. They access a computer loaded with eBob software to read each bin, with each bin being read every two hours to help keep operations running smoothly. Getter commented, “The computer shows bin levels at a glance, so we always know we have adequate amounts of each material before we start producing a particular mix.”

CP Feeds applies SmartBob technology in a variety of ways. Many materials come in via railcar and at the time the railcar arrives, it might be unknown how much is in the car. The SmartBob system helps CP Feeds measure how much is going into the bin from the rail car. CP Feeds also does a lot of grinding. For example, they may take whole corn from one bin … grind it … and then refill another bin. They find it convenient to know what the bin level is so they know when to start grinding, which helps them maximize bin capacity.

As a long-time customer, CP Feeds has used a variety of BinMaster® measurement solutions and has taken advantage of the latest SmartBob2 technology. “On the rare occasion when we need it, service from BinMaster has been really good. We have been able to troubleshoot over the phone and make repairs ourselves without having to call in outside help … I even do maintenance myself,” added Getter. “When we need parts, we just call and then get them the next day.”

BinMaster® BMRX Rotary Bin Level Indicator

Skyrocketing energy prices … pressure on profit margins … fewer people to do more work … not enough time for the normal routine – let alone downtime. The BinMaster® BRMX Rotary Bin Level Indicator can help to address the impact of these overwhelming issues in challenging times. With fuel prices and energy costs at record levels, getting bins filled quickly and efficiently is absolutely essential. 

With BinMaster® BMRX, operators are alerted when bins are full without the rigors and risks associated with climbing and continuously checking bin levels. This saves time and hence, causes less fuel and fewer man hours to be used during bin filling. Plus, it virtually eliminates the time and money associated with potential overfills – a single overfill can put an operation at a standstill and quickly erode profitability.

BinMaster® BRMX bin level indicators also help you work smarter, because they are designed smarter. The motor runs so long as the drive shaft is turning; however, the motor automatically goes into a “de-energized” condition once material is detected. Power is not consumed until the bin is emptied and the drive shaft again begins to rotate. This feature also has the added benefit of prolonging the life of the motor.

Another aspect of the smart design is the “fail safe” feature of BinMaster® BMRX which automatically alerts the operator when no power is present to the unit. This prevents the risk that power to the unit has been disrupted and the operator is unaware of it, which could cause the bin to be overfilled. Plus, it eliminates the routine need for units to be inspected to be sure they are still powered over time.

The screw-top enclosure ensures easy access to the motorized components of the BinMaster® BRMX. Any maintenance work can be performed quickly, without having to hassle with removing numerous bolts, just to gain access to the motor. In the unlikely event parts need to be replaced, there are just three screws to remove the motor assembly. This optimizes the use of personnel and time and doesn’t require highly skilled technicians.

BinMaster’s PROCAP Capacitance Level Sensors

Today’s facilities are filled with electronic devices of all types … wired and wireless … radios, sensors, routers, gateways … this MHz and that GHz. A frequent concern is while facilities move data and product from one place to another, the airwaves are getting as cluttered as the plant floor. The BinMaster® PROCAP capacitance level sensor provides interference-free, high-sensitivity and accurate level detection without the use of RF (radio frequency) signals.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) classifies any signal in excess of 9 KHz as RF; RF signals are prone to radiate causing interference reducing performance, or even rendering some electronic devices useless. As additional new electronic devices are added to help make a facility more efficient, these same devices may interfere with other nearby plant equipment. The BinMaster® PROCAP sensor operates at approximately 6 KHz – which is significantly below the RF level – and will not interfere with two-way radios or other plant equipment operating in the radio spectrum.

The BinMaster® PROCAP capacitance probes are appropriate for a wide variety of solid, liquid and slurry materials and can be used for both high and low level detection in bins, silos, hoppers, chutes and other storage devices. To receive a free full-line brochure on BinMaster® PROCAP series email us at info@binmaster.com.

“Big Red” BinMaster® Goes Green

Located on 30 acres in Nebraska’s heartland and “Big Red” country – BinMaster, a subsidiary of Garner Industries – is an eco-conscious company that takes pride in protecting the environment. Our facility is surrounded by native grasses that are easy to care for and thrive in Nebraska’s seasonal weather. As a service to our community, our employees have also adopted a two-mile stretch of our local highway frontage, for which we complete trash removal each year in an effort to improve the integrity and appearance of the local landscape.

Reducing waste and recycling is also part of our company culture. As an ISO 9001:2000 company, we have clearly defined manufacturing processes in place that ensure we manufacture to the highest quality standards, which helps to reduce mistakes and material waste. BinMaster has recycling programs for plastics, metals, cardboard, wooden pallets, steel drums and oil – having recycled almost 100,000 pounds in a single year. We make every effort to reduce, re-use, and recycle and have been recognized for the City of Lincoln’s “Best Waste Reduction and Reuse Program” in recent years.