When they first came onto the crushing scene, operator control rooms were focused on three things - operator comfort, operator safety and quicker shutdowns. But as they have become more sophisticated with integration of controls for all aspects of the equipment, modern control towers now significantly increase profitability for a crushing operation in several ways.
The 360-Degree View
The most obvious way is that the control tower offers the operator a 360 degree view of the crushing spread.
Start-ups can be faster because the operator can see all the workers, and blow the horn to signal start-up, then hit a single start button to get the operation going. Without the tower, an operator must run around to make sure he knows where all the workers are before start-up. Then there are shutdowns. There are a lot of moving parts when a crusher is running. With centralized controls, the control tower enables the operator to spot problems more quickly and shut down specific equipment to minimize damage. This also minimizes pile-ups of material which creates lost time for clean-ups. Without the ability to shut down all the equipment at once, operators lose precious time in preventing further damage when a problem arises.
Operator Safety and Comfort
The control tower improves the safety of everyone on site, and particularly the operator who no longer must move between pieces of equipment to do shut downs when problems occur. The tower provides a comfortable space for the operator to stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer, to better focus on overseeing the smooth running of the spread. The control van serves as a place where a ground man can come to update, debrief, receive instructions and to warm up in the winter as well. The control van and tower also serve to protect the crusher operator from airborne contaminants and environmental hazards such as dust and silica.
Maximize Aggregate Production
Another benefit is that an operator can monitor and manage material flow throughout the plant. He can adjust equipment for changes in material, spot when a feeder is empty and control the feed rate for specific equipment to maximize production.
Reduce Repairs & Down Time
Another significant way the control van improves profitability is by providing a protected space for the electrical switchgear. Placing the MCC inside the van, protects it from the elemental forces of nature, and the constant vibration of being mounted on the chassis of a piece of equipment in the field. This means it lasts longer, requires fewer repairs and reduces downtime for the spread.
A crushing operation involves a lot of expensive and potentially dangerous equipment. Having a control tower and van protects workers, reduces equipment damage and downtime, and maximizes production. All of these factors combined lead to greater profitability for a crushing spread.
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