Tracking Toothpaste Levels in a Storage Tank
Date Published: December 11, 2012
CAS DataLoggers Automated System Intelligently Tracks Inventory for JIT
CAS DataLoggers recently worked with a large consumer products company that produces toothpaste in one of its plants. At the moment they were in the process of setting up a vendor-managed just-in-time (JIT) inventory control system. The goal was to continually monitor usage of one of the key components in the toothpaste and send an alert email directly to the supplier whenever replenishment was required. Their existing setup already had an electronic scale connected to the storage tanks for this material which was tied into their existing process control PLC. Management wanted a single system to automate this process and which could be easily configured for fast implementation.
CAS DataLoggers Applications Specialists suggested a dataTaker DT80 intelligent data logger which was soon installed and tied into the electronic scales to track the ingredient level in the storage tank. Analog and digital channels, high-speed counter inputs, phase encoder inputs and programmable serial sensor channels allowed the DT80 to easily connect to most sensors and data measurement sources, while its Dual Channel concept allows up to 10 isolated or 15 common referenced analog inputs to be used in many combinations. This allowed the manufacturer to accurately track their product usage by simply downloading and charting the level each day.
The dataTaker’s flexible communications options allowed Ethernet, USB, or RS-232 communication with the plant PCs. Connections could be established locally, remotely or over the Internet, with support for multiple SDI-12 sensor networks, internal web and FTP servers.
The plant made use of automated software on the PC to send regular emails to their supplier which provided regular information on the current inventory level. Users also set up alarms based on usage rate and resupply time to automatically email the supplier when the level dropped to a point that a delivery was required to keep from interrupting production under their JIT model. Since the dataTaker was connected to the plant's computer network, any company computer could login and view the data through the company's ISP (Internet Service Provider).
Additionally, the data logger could store up to 10 million data points in user defined memory so that users could log as much or as little as needed with independent control of schedule size and mode. Users could also overwrite or stop logging once allocated memory was full.
The plant’s new storage tank tracking setup helped significantly to streamline their JIT model. This custom dataTaker DT80 system was designed to be fully independent so that all of the measurements and communications were done automatically, eliminating the once-constant need to manually read and record the tank level and call/email the supplier that yet another delivery was needed. Now all this monitoring and reporting/alarming data is now managed and organized entirely by the self-contained dataTaker using its powerful alarming and programming capabilities, and the included dEX graphical interface software was easy for users to learn and program.
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