Now available as an option for FLX-128 Plus material-handling control system or as a standalone control package, Conair’s Railcar Unloading (RCU) controller offers processors a time-saving, secure, and expandable way to monitor and manage the unloading and storage of railcar-quantity resins from any convenient indoor location.

The RCU controller is the first of its kind, enabling any authorized user to view and manage the entire process on one touchscreen – railcar unloading, silo selection, material routing, and silo filling – without the need to go outside. The RCU package seamlessly integrates control functions that would otherwise be accessed using dedicated control panels that serve individual railcar unloading systems, airlocks, material-routing valves, silo loaders and level sensors/monitors throughout the plant.

“More and more processors are purchasing – or thinking about purchasing – resin in railcar quantities to reduce material and production costs,” says Doug Brewster, Conair’s Conveying Systems Manager. “The RCU controller offers them the ability to set up and manage bulk-resin handling securely and economically, with plenty of future expansion capacity. Because it shows and controls the entire process on one touchscreen, it saves a lot of time and labor. There’s no longer any need to go outside or to manually monitor and operate a lot of dedicated equipment controls at the rail siding or at various locations in the plant. All control is in one, convenient place – indoors.”

The RCU controller includes an Allen-Bradley PLC pre-programmed with necessary control logic, an I/O control panel, and a separate 10-inch high-resolution HMI monitor designed for indoor/outdoor use. In plants equipped with Conair FLX-128 Plus material handling controls, the RCU PLC and control-I/O box plug directly into the main FLX-128 Plus control panel. Otherwise, the controller operates in stand-alone mode. All unloading system elements connect via Industrial Ethernet, either directly or by way of remote I/O expansion panels located around the plant.

The new controller is easy to configure. On the touchscreen HMI, users follow a graphical system diagram to identify and enter all system elements – railcar unloaders, airlocks, pumps, directional valves, silo receivers and silo level sensors. Then, by configuring pumps, airlocks, and directional valves, users can create and test material pathways that route resin from any railcar unloader to any silo.  In all, the RCU controller is powerful enough to manage:

  • Up to five railcar unloading systems.
  • Up to five airlocks, which transfer incoming material from vacuum-powered railcar unloaders to the pressure-driven conveying and silo-loading system.
  • Up to 12 multi-position valves (2-way, 3-way, or 4-way), which are used to direct material flows through conveyor plumbing to the selected silo.
  • Receiving, filling and level monitoring operations in up to 30 silos.