What's the Latest News from the Astec Controls Department?

In this Q&A with the Astec Controls Department, our experts discuss condition monitoring which is one of the latest program advancements that will positively impact our customers.

Operations
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Astec provides the software and hardware required to control and manage Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) facilities and constantly evolves better and simpler systems. Condition monitoring is the latest program that will positively impact our customers. 

Q: What is new with Astec Controls?

A: We have several projects going that we believe will impact our customers in a positive way. One project is our Condition Monitoring application.

Q: What is Condition Monitoring?

A: Condition Monitoring is the use of sensors to collect data from the equipment to determine the health of the equipment. This data is analyzed to determine if there have been changes in the performance of the equipment or any of its components while it is in operation. We are currently monitoring vibration and temperature but we can also monitor current, speed and lubricant analysis as well.

Q: What are the advantages of condition monitoring?

A: Condition monitoring allows our customers to be able to monitor the present health of their most critical assets as well as see a history of the state of that asset. If the health of the equipment starts trending in an adverse direction the application will send alerts warning the customer to take action. But we are not stopping there. We are continuing to develop this application and are creating the machine learning algorithms that will be able to predict what the future state of those assets will be and provide our customers with a remaining useful life estimation of components. This allows our customers to identify problems early and plan repairs in advance, avoiding unscheduled downtime.

Q: Are there other areas of monitoring that are applicable with this technology?

A: Absolutely, we can also monitor the liquid asphalt tanks, monitoring the tank levels and temperature as well as the hot oil heater. If the liquid asphalt is not hot, there won’t be any mix produced so it is critical that the hot oil heater is monitored especially on nights, weekends and holidays. Our Tank Monitoring application monitors those critical parameters on the hot oil heater such as Panel Power, Burner status, Ignition Status, Low Media Status, Safety Limits, Flame Safeguard and the Circulating Pump. If any of these parameters flip to an “off” status, an email notification is sent to the customer allowing him to check the status from his smart phone and also providing the ability to “reset” the burner if the need arises.

Q: Can we expect more new products coming from Astec Controls in the future?

A: Definitely. We are focused on providing our customers Controls, Automation, Technology and Software that is simple but powerful with innovative