In short, says Mark McGaughey, MINDS Inc.’s Director of US Operations, it’s always been a challenge. While on-site plant operators have access to real-time asphalt plant data on everything from mix temperature to moisture content to sales tickets, a higher-level plant manager must pull up data points from multiple plant software systems to get a clear picture of his suite of operations — and even then, the data is hours or days old.
“The plant manager would have to be physically at the plant to see what his facility is producing as its producing it, whether it’s within the specifications or not and if any equipment has stopped working,” McGaughey says.
That’s where MINDS’ powerful PlantManager dashboard comes in. Drawing on plant software data from each plant, PlantManager gives asphalt operations managers a real-time, top-level overview of all their plants with the ability to drill down on individual plant production information, sales tickets, HMA silo inventories, asphalt tank inventories and the products in the A/C tank. Recent updates that have connected most fuel flow meters to the plant control system have given plant managers the ability to see instant energy usage as well as total energy used per ton. Users can also compare current and historical data to determine areas for improvement.
“It gives them all their production and sales data and the material usage; the big advantage is the transparency in what’s happening at their plants,” McGaughey says.
PlantManager is compatible with MINDS’ suite of plant control systems, including DrumTronic for asphalt drum plants and BatchTronic for asphalt batching plants. When a plant manager wants to begin using the system to monitor his various operations, MINDS staff do the back-end work of setting up all the plants on the dashboard, drawing data from each operation’s plant management system, and as many plants as necessary can be added into the dashboard. Within a day, plant managers will have their unique PlantManager dashboard that they can log into on any web browser. “It’s very simple, really. We do all the work for them.”