Omniflex Improves Storage Inventory Management
Dulux in South Africa is a wholly owned subsidiary of AECI. As part of a strategy to improve plant efficiency, the company decided to engage the services of Omniflex, which has offices in South Africa, Australia and the UK. The company needed to provide direct control to vendors in the management of bulk chemical supply and on-site storage.Dulux required the monitored information to be made available to vendors so they could monitor at any point in time and from any location.
Omniflex supplied an advanced Data2Desktop data monitoring solution, where the data from the on-site storage tanks on the Dulux site is made available to the vendors over the internet using conventional browsers. Twelve vendors are connected to the system some of whom are based in Europe. Login rights for the individual vendors are managed by Dulux so that multiple users only have access to their relevant data. The monitored parameters are also logged at the Data2Desktop Data Centre so that trends can be viewed with reference to time and in conjunction with other monitored parameters. Alarms are sent to selected vendor personnel via SMS and or email if out of limit conditions are detected at the data centre.
The system extracts data from a Siemens S7 PLC via a Profibus Network, which is currently used to monitor the tank levels on site to a SCADA. The Omniflex Data2Desktop RTU collects the levels associated with the 63 tanks on site and displays the information for the vendors who through separate logins have rights to the system.
Dulux administration and procurement personnel also monitor the tank status via the Data2Desktop site as the convenience of simply using an internet browser to view the status of supply chemicals keeps them well informed of supply status and usage trends.
Gordon Davey, Dulux project engineer, had this to say: ‘This technology is amazing – we knew it existed but we had no idea how easy it was to configure and use. Our buyers are able to see tank levels and get a trend of usage over time, which is impossible with our conventional inventory control systems. ‘Our vendors now also have access to the same information and we are pre-empting shortages and improved our efficiency.’