Clarkson Port Services Select GeneSYS Again

When Clarkson Port Services (CPS) opened its new £1.5 million grain terminal in 1997 at the Port of Ipswich it was among one of the first installations of its type to achieve extensive and cost effective driver operation. The terminal was designed to comply with the latest guidelines for the handling of agricultural bulk products drawn up by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) and comprised a 90,000sq.ft, covered flat store with the capacity to store some 24,000t of cereals and animal feeds.

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THE NEED
• Replace the existing driver operated consoles which had managed up to 150 lorries a day since 1998
• Provide simultaneous handling of all four types of weighing transaction currently carried out at the terminal, embracing ship loading and unloading and flat store collections and deliverys.
• Deliver a high degree of driver operation providing a single weighbridge operator complete control of all site weighbridges from one central control point.
• Feature in-built flexibility to enable the system to be readily adapted and expanded to meet the dynamic nature of the business.

THE SOLUTION
The existing driver operated consoles were replaced by the latest generation of Precia-Molen driver console, the BI300, on all four weighbridges. The BI300 incorporates backlit LCD full screen display, industrial keypad for easy driver dialogue and thermal ticket printer for increased reliability and print quality.

Each weighbridge was previously integrated into the Precia-Molen GeneSYS™ 1 weighbridge and administration software. This legacy system did not offer the functionality demanded by a busy modern operation and prevented the terminal from moving forward with plans for growth and productivity gains. The software was therefore upgraded to Precia-Molen GeneSYS™ 3 Enterprise, a central administration software, which includes new modules allowing features such as stock control and traceability from ship to shore, and store, to customer. The system also allows for web access to customer information as well as a comprehensive site management system for the daily scheduling and reporting of site operations. GeneSYS™ 3 also incorporates a large number of reports as well as a report builder which can be made visible to the customer via the web or email direct to the client.

A critical element of the upgrade was that the hardware modernisation which had to be completed over a weekend to ensure minimum operational downtime.

THE SYSTEM IN OPERATION
The weighbridges are designated A, B, C and D. Weighbridges B and C are positioned either side of the offices where the weighbridge operator is based and act as the main reception point for vehicles collecting and delivering. Weighbridges A and D are both driver operated and are sited remotely from the offices. A is used primarily for ship unloading operations whilst D functions as the ‘out’ weighbridge for ship loading. The GeneSYS™ system allows simultaneous operation of all four weighbridges.

The entire vehicle processing system ensures vehicle drivers remain in their cabs throughout most of the cargo loading and unloading routine. When, for example, a delivery of animal feed or milling wheat is made the vehicle accesses weighbridge B or C. Documentation is placed into a pneumatic document dispatch system which transfers it to the operator. Relevant details are logged into the computer and following successful completion of quality procedures, GeneSYS™ authorises the delivery. The Bi300 driver console then prints out a two part ticket, including a tear off ID number and loading or unloading details which are to be passed to Clarkson operatives responsible for lorry management.

The vehicle is then directed to weighbridge A or D where the BI300 unit prompts entry of the ID number. The vehicle is then weighed and a final weight ticket printed together with a tear off exit pass to enable the driver to exit the docks, thus completing his/her weighing.
This final transaction is essentially driver operated but, should any problems arise, the driver can still use the integral intercom to communicate with the weighbridge operator, who is also able to observe all weighbridge activity remotely through a CCTV system, in addition to that offered by the GSM (GeneSYS™ Site Management software).

THE VERDICT
The system has delivered on all its key objectives. CPS Director, Julian Scott, commented, “The Precia-Molen system has not only proven to be extremely reliable, but is even more flexible than we originally anticipated.”