Working with an equipment supplier, we ensured a new storage facility for bulk material is set up to operate fully automatically.

Our client collects fly ash produced by coal-fired power plants in the Netherlands to sell to the building industry across Europe for the production of cement. Typically fly ash builds up in the winter when electricity use is higher but demand from the building industry peaks in summer months when there is more construction activity. For this reason, a storage facility is required with easy access for trucks and barges.

Committed to automation in spite of complexity

Royal HaskoningDHV was contracted to design the entire facility including the capability for fully automated truck loading. The business case for a fully unmanned terminal operation was very attractive for our client. Such a terminal was not currently in operation but, based on our knowledge and experience, we believed it was possible in spite of complex regulatory and technical issues.

To achieve it, we worked closely together with the supplier of the equipment, who had suggested that an unmanned terminal was not possible. We identified how to adapt their system using sensors and other components to realise our client’s ambition. The facility is now fully operational and fully automated.

“We proved that, contrary to the opinion of the equipment supplier, it was possible to fully automate the facility,” said Eric Pereira, Project Manager Advisory Group Resource Logistics & Power. “Our practical knowledge of control systems and understanding of our client’s operations meant we could work with the supplier to deliver the solution our client wanted.”