In order to counter the shortage of skilled workers in the transport industry, a comfortable workplace in a well-equipped tractor unit is a necessary approach. In addition, however, the handling of the goods to be transported is also of great importance. And how can the daily work of companies and their drivers be facilitated?
The company Feldbinder Spezialfahrzeugwerke has dealt intensively with this question and together with ifm has found a solution with which (silo transport) companies and their employees drive together into the future.
The challenge: Increasing occupational safety, productivity and profitability through future-proof digitalization
Trailers have been used in freight traffic since the mid-1980s, but the basic procedures have not changed much since then: The driver must walk up and down along the vehicle during loading operations, operate shut-off devices and valves, and start and stop the main engine and auxiliary drive. And each loading process must be documented in accordance with the regulations, usually manually.
All this is time-consuming, costly and sometimes risky. That’s why many inquiries and feedback from the market revolve around increasing work and process safety as well as productivity and cost-effectiveness.
Based on these market requirements, Feldbinder and ifm developed a solution that noticeably relieves companies and drivers through digitalization.
The solution: Silo 4.0 - future-proof with digital CAN-bus control
The owner-managed company Feldbinder Spezialfahrzeuge GmbH was founded in 1975 and manufactures customer-specific silo vehicles for liquid, granulated and powdery materials. All manufacturing and service activities are focused on high product quality and customer-friendly service.
Due to the long-standing good relations between Feldbinder and ifm it was logical to contin-ue this partnership also for the current project Silo 4.0.
The success story of ifm began in the founding year 1969 with the invention of inductive proximity switches for 220 V supply voltage. The company has now grown to over 8,000 employees at more than 60 locations worldwide.
With ecomatmobile, ifm offers mobile-compatible components and reliable IoT system solutions from a single source. Designed for use both inside the cabin and outdoors, they withstand moisture, hard impacts and vibration loads as easily as extreme ambient temperatures. Feldbinder relies on the ecomatDisplay as the central operating unit of the silo control system. This is equipped with a 12-inch capacitive touchscreen and additional freely assignable keys. With the ecomatPanel, an additional control knob is also available. It simplifies operation when wearing work gloves.
The powerful control is integrated in the display and can be individually programmed with CODESYS. These include the remote control of the tractor unit, the electromechanical air distribution and the control of the shut-off devices. All previously mechanical, pneumatic and electromechanical controls are combined in this single control element. The connected ioControl modules collect the sensor data decentrally and forward it to the controller via CAN bus cables. Up to 5 ioControl modules can be installed, depending on the version and vehicle type.
A special feature is the integrated database. . It stores customer and product data and unloading parameters. This makes it possible for the first time to optimize unloading across drivers and vehicles, allowing the know-how of drivers to be stored and accessed throughout the company. In addition, geofencing, code scanners and RFID technology provide support during loading and unloading – preventing errors.
An integrated CAN bus, GSM/WLAN/Bluetooth interface ensures document management and smooth data transfer to dispatching and billing systems. The data can be made available company-wide via the cloud.
The result: Data-driven operation of silo vehicles - saving resources and shortening unloading times
Drivers no longer have to walk up and down along the vehicle during the unloading process to open or close individual shut-off devices of the material line or air distribution. The digitalized vehicles can be controlled centrally from one location – for this purpose, the driver can either use the touch display or the additional control unit mounted underneath.
The Silo 4.0 project represents a major step into the future: “The customers who use our modern vehicles no longer want to do without the new possibilities. Drivers and companies alike appreciate the easy handling and faster unloading times,” are the words of the new vehicle designer at Feldbinder.
Thanks to the intuitive controls and database, even inexperienced drivers can operate the vehicle safely and quickly in a very short time. This saves resources and shortens unloading times. The transport and unloading processes not only become more efficient, but also more transparent. In the end, transport companies, drivers and customers all benefit from this ifm solution.