The 3D scanning or ‘digitizing’ service offered by the Plant Information department allows plants and/or equipment to be mapped in a 3D environment. These maps can be used in a range of applications, which was recently expanded further by the addition of volumetric measurements. A first client, OCI Nitrogen, has already signed on the dotted line.
Estimating stock or determining stock volumes
Located next to OCI Nitrogen’s fertilizer plants are four vast sheds. ‘These sheds hold thousands of kilos of fertilizer,’ says Frans de Wijs, who works in the Plant Information department. ‘Stock used to be estimated 'by eye' once a month. The need for a futureproof method meant OCI Nitrogen was looking to change to an alternative that would also deliver greater accuracy. This sparked an idea from Wilbert Derks, a member of our Chemcubator innovation platform, to carry out volume measurements using our 3D scanner.’
Recognizing that this had promise, the client asked Sitech to investigate whether the measurements would be adequate in terms of accuracy. Frans comments: ‘We collaborated with a third party to conduct a pilot study. The results confirmed it was possible to calculate the amount of fertilizer present with a high degree of accuracy. The inaccuracy of the stock measurement was within one per cent. This is much more precise than estimates 'by eye', which are typically assumed to have a deviation of 20%.’
Improved efficiency within safety regulations
The successful test results and the quality won Sitech a contract to carry out quarterly volume measurements for the next three years. Frans comments: ‘We improved efficiency at the front end by having an attachment developed which complies with all regulations, including those related to safety, and which halves the number of scans we need compared with our competitors. The software we acquired then enables us to achieve the required accuracy in our calculations. The scanner is remotely controlled by members of our company fire brigade using a tablet. We’re proud to have achieved such a great result.’
Get in touch if you would like to find out more about these and other applications. Contact Michel Kreutz: +31(0)6 135 247 23 Michel.Kreutz@sitech.nl or Frans de Wijs: +31(0)6 836 394 59, Frans.de-wijs@Sitech.nl