Alberta, Canada, experienced one of the worst economic crisis periods during the last 8 years. The Oil & Gas Industry, an important sector of the economy, is going through a period of radical changes with new legislation regarding pollution and environment protection. Although the government offered help, their main focus has been to increase investments. Unemployment rates were at the worst level in 30 years. Despite these harsh economic conditions Tanks A Lot’s decision to invest to upgrade its Plant was a beneficial move. The purchase of their new precast production plant is the proof that business’ believe investments will result in a better more lucrative future.
The principles of quality concrete production and efficient manufacturing processes forms Tanks-A-Lot business philosophy, that lead them Italy to seek out the best partner to realize their new facility, MCT Italy, the Italian precast solutions manufacturers. Sharing the same visions as the client, MCT Italy customized a complete Plant solution for the new factory, located 25 minutes from Edmonton airport.
Customized solution successfully developed
The MCT Italy team worked closely with Tanks-A-Lot in order to design the entire plant, following the initial idea of the client in terms of the concrete distribution layout. MCT’s technical department successfully developed a customized solution according to the client’s request, in order to comply with its expectations in terms of precision in concrete distribution and high quality of the concrete produced.
A dedicated team of MCT technicians was appointed to work on the project and develop a long-term partnership and relationship with the Tanks A Lot team. MCT executed the entire process including the complete pre-installation of the plant at MCT’s headquarters before shipping, the delivery to the site, Plant erection and installation and final commissioning.
All of the equipment and access structures are galvanized, guaranteeing top quality and long-lasting resistance, considering the severe weather conditions experienced in the Edmonton area. In addition to the insulated building, MCT supplied all lighting, receptacles, and motor controls, and incorporated 1⁄2 ton hoists on beams above stations where motors, pulleys, gear boxes and equipment will need to be accessed for maintenance.
The main technical features of the plant are:
1 bucket elevator in order to feed the aggregates storage tower;
220 cubic meters aggregate storage in a tower layout, subdivided into 4 compartments;
150 tons total of storage for cement, silica and white cement;
The option for the installation of 2 future silos in case of expansion of the storage capacity of the plant;
1 Planetary 2250/1500 mixer;
2 flying buckets with 1.500 liters capacity serving the two production bays of the facility
Many MCT masterpiece solutions
The tower aggregate storage is one of MCT masterpiece solutions, thanks to almost 50 years of experience. More than 200 tower plants have been designed and installed to date by MCT in every continent and including seismically active areas, such as Central Italy (where one of the tower plants is located exactly in the epicenter of the big earthquake of 2009, and where no negative consequences were reported after experiencing several hard tremors).
MCT’s modular system design optimizes the efficient shipping of the plant and assures the fast and safe installation on site. This feature also enables pre-wiring and testing in the factory prior to shipping. The aggregate loading system uses a drive-over primary hopper with a bucket elevator system to automatically fill the aggregates storage compartments of the tower. The MCT special distribution system uses a rotating conveyor on the dispensing platform on the top of the tower optimizing the overall height of the plant.
3 cement silos are included in the layout of the aggregates tower, but are not included in the complete cladding that involves the complete batching section from the aggregate storage compartments to the mixers and the flying buckets. The silos are designed in modular panels, like the aggregates tower, for convenient delivery in sea containers and quick installation on site, optimizing their dimensions upon the customized layout. The silo roofs are accessible from the aggregates dispensing platform, also simplifying the maintenance of the equipment installed on these areas, such as the continuous level probes (both for aggregates and cements) which properly support the operators in handling the inventories of the materials.
The plant is equipped with a high intensity 1.500 liters output planetary mixer: the production capacity of the plant can reach 40 m3/hour, representing the maximum future target Tanks-A-Lot would like to produce as the demand for precast elements increases. The mixing section includes dedicated cement scales for each type of material used and water dosing system.
The concrete transport is carried out by 2 high speed Flying Buckets AV 1500 able to deliver the material in a fully automatic process to every discharging point in the two bays of the facility. The MCT concrete distribution system is the result of years of dedicated efforts by their engineers to achieve maximum functionality, efficiency and reliability in the rapid transport of the concrete. Flying Buckets supplied to Tanks-A-Lot can transport the concrete with a speed of up to 240 meters per minute in a fast and controlled way so that material (fresh concrete) arrives at its destination swiftly without changing any of its characteristics. The state of art Wi-Fi control system synchronizes the Batching Plant with the Flying Buckets, allowing the batch operator to oversee the real-time position and status of every machine.
New integrated software solution
The fully automated control system for the plant is composed of the new integrated software solution, which manages all the production processes dosing, batching and mixing of the materials and delivery inside the distribution systems that serves the two production bays of the facility. The software automation system ensures an optimal and consistent level of the production process and reduces manpower required in the batching plant management, in order to focus the attention of all Tanks-A-lot workers to the elements production. Further the system reduces the sources of errors, improving the quality of the concrete delivered with the new mixer. The automation of the whole plant, including all the components from the aggregate loading to the concrete distribution system, is integrated in the MCT CompuNet platform, which operates the electronic control by its PC-PLC based structure. The design of the automation software guarantees the flexibility in the customization of their project, and this aspect is a unique feature of MCT technical departments between batching plant and distribution systems manufacturers.
“We went through a lot of hand sketches and then CAD drawings until we got everything laid out to what we felt was the perfect layout from an efficient and flexibility standpoint” says Shawn Innes, VP of Manufacturing for Tanks-A-Lot. “We invested in this new plant looking for a reliable partner and we are sure that our choice will create a long-lasting cooperation between our two companies, making Marcantonini Concrete Technology our partner and not just a standard equipment supplier”.
Eng. Alessandro DiCesare, Project Manager for North America for MCT Italy says “Our aim is to propose fully customized solutions and delivery equipment that our customers are proud to own. With our experience and technical know-how achieved during 50 years of experience, we can offer products that will allow our clients to develop their business to the highest level: efficient production, better building quality and faster return on investment.”
“Thanks to our extensive experience as a solution & equipment supplier for the precast market - he continues -, we are able to carry out these type of projects in complete partnership and cooperation with our clients. I sincerely want to thank the whole Tanks-A-Lot team for the trust and confidence placed in MCT and all the MCT team, who worked hard to realize the great result and achieve all the deadlines agreed on with the customer“.