Italian precast producer Fratelli Abagnale has been active as a manufacturer of concrete products and precast concrete elements since the beginning of the 1970s. In the 1990s, production was expanded to include products for the sewerage, road and street furniture sectors. New products were introduced, for example, in the fields of water treatment(rainwater treatment plants, biological and chemical-physical plants for wastewater treatment, light fluid separators, constructed wetlands, plants for water treatment and lifting, oil separators, etc.), hydrology (hydraulic balancing tanks, water reservoirs, tanks for firefighting systems, etc.), cemetery construction (burial niches, family chapels or underground tombs made of precast concrete elements, etc.), and equipment rooms (substations, etc.).
Since 2006, the company has been operating an ultra-modern concrete batching plant from manufacturer MCT Italy at its second production site in Palomonte (SA), which is managed via a sophisticated high-precision remote control system and meets high quality standards in high-tech production processes. The expertise of its design team, which includes in-house hydraulic and structural designers, and reliability in production have enabled the company to obtain qualifications issued by the High Council of Public Works at the Ministry of Infrastructure, ENEL type approvals and UNI EN ISO 9001:2015 quality certification from 2006, and to additionally comply with UNI EN sector standards.
Constant growth of Fratelli Abagnale
The constant growth of Fratelli Abagnale, both in terms of the variety of solutions offered and in terms of market shares, made it necessary to invest in a third production facility, again at the Palomonte site, which is dedicated to the production of precast concrete elements for the water treatment sector.
The proposed solution includes a facility for horizontal aggregate storage comprising four linear storage bins. Loading is effected, via a receiving hopper with a capacity of 25 m³, by an automatic bucket elevator with a capacity of 100 m³ per hour.
The aggregate weighing system integrated into the bucket conveyor guarantees highprecision in aggregate batching even for quantities well below the nominal volume of the mixer, while at the same time reducing wear of the coating and ensuring ease of maintenance.
The MP2250/1500 planetary mixer with planetary gearbox ensures perfect hydration of the cement and homogenizes the cement paste in an extremely short time due to the high speed of the mixing stars, which revolve at 3.2 revolutions for each revolution of the mixing vessel.
The concrete is distributed by means of an AV/1500 overhead tipping bucket, which has been designed for a straight or curved track layout with a curve radius of up to 3 m and is equipped with a tipping system for concrete discharge. Both travel and unloading of the tipping bucket are inverter-controlled to optimize both phases and minimize transport times. Via a WiFi network, the tipping bucket communicates with a mobile chute traveling on the same rail system, which is positioned above the stationary formwork selected for the pouring process in accordance with the production schedule.
Compunet plant management system the most important component
The most important component of the batching plant supplied is certainly the Compunet plant management system developed by MCT Italy, which allows full integration of the plant into the existing corporate network. The meeting between Luca Cellini from MCT and Giovanni De Rosa from Fratelli Abagnale, who have combined their knowledge of the precast sector and always strive for innovative solutions, has initiated a high level of automation in the production and distribution of concrete. The first step is production planning, which is defined directly in the ERP system by the technical department. Theproduction order for the precast concrete elements is transmitted to the management system of the batching plant via exchange protocols. The production manager only needs to confirm the product in the order list. The system then produces a series of mixtures in accordance with quantities and formulations that have already been defined once in the database. A special innovative feature is automated loading of the tipping bucket, which then moves to the mobile chute that is also controlled by the management system and automatically places itself above the form selected for the product to be manufactured. The concrete is poured in a semi-automatic process (not fully automatic for obvious safety reasons). After matching the configuration with the ordered product and clearance by the ERP system, a first feedback message is provided by the formwork that the conditions for concrete pouring have been met (side walls closed, no staff present in the hazardous area, etc.). A second message is transmitted after completion of the concrete pouring operation. The system calculates the required curing time from this point until automatic demolding and increase of the finished product inventory. The production report links the lot produced to the characteristics of the mixtures used, thus maximizing traceability of the processes used, the production managers involved in the different production phases, and the batch of material used, right up to label printing. During production planning, both for make-to-stock and make-to-order production, the interconnected system additionally queries the stock levels of raw materials (aggregates, cement, additives, etc.) managed by the Compumat system, notifies the purchasing department if stock levels are too low, and updates the production schedule to include the supplier lead times. In addition, raw material consumption is independently monitored by the management system, as each product is linked to a list of the quantities consumed.
The technical department can monitor both the progress of orders and status of production resources in real time.
Milestone in the precast industry
The design of the system is an excellent example of the perfect integration of the batching plant into the overall factory system, in which a continuous and highly precise exchange of information is ensured by means of shared folders populated with input and output data.
Luca Cellini, sales manager at MCT Italy, says: “For MCT Italy, Fratelli Abagnale is much more than just a customer. The company has been a strong partner for over 15 years, supporting our quest for innovative solutions with a firm focus on the future. In the current project, the synergies between our companies have again resulted in the development of a pioneering batching plant management system that industrializes and streamlines the production process and integrates it into the digital corporate system. It has been a great honor for me to be actively involved in this project, which represents a milestone in the precast industry.”
Mr. Abagnale confirms: “MCT has been involved from the beginning, understanding our sometimes complex technical requirements. The company’s team of experts participated in all of the technical discussions that took place at every stage of the project from design and implementation to test runs, commissioning and full operation.”