Author Topic: Work tech  (Read 3481 times)

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Offline kee

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Work tech
« on: March 07, 2015, 07:03:12 AM »
So, I've just upgraded my milking parlor to sliding rails and automated take off machines with flow metering. Not very hightech I admit but a substantional saving on the arms and knees of yours truly. Has anyone else got any neat work tech tricks recently?
Kim Erik

Offline irrelevant

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2015, 04:48:50 PM »
The company I work for is undertaking some interesting tech advances (not to high tech, just advancing from where we are today).

We manufacture flavorings for tobacco products. When the company was started in the 70s this was pretty much limited to cigarettes, making products that were designed to make African and Asian tobacco taste like American tobacco, which is far superior.

The company then expanded into flavorings for snuff and snus, and then into fruity flavors for cigars. These products have been extremely popular.

A logical extension from there was flavorings for shisha (tobacco for hookahs). This resulted in a huge explosion in the number of products offered, by now a few thousand different flavors.

Then came e-cigarettes and vaping. These products essentially are hookah flavors that have small %s of nicotine added, along with considerable amounts of propylene glycol (PG) and glycerine.

Up to this point, all flavors were compounded manually, with workers measuring out liquids into large tanks according to a recipe (developed by our R&D flavorists) and mixing them together.

Believing that the e-liquids represent the future, we are building a new on-site facility that will be dedicated to e-liquid production using a highly automated two-step process.

The first step brings in pure nicotine and combines it with PG to produce a 10% nic solution.

The second step combines the 10% nic, more PG, glycerine, and a variety of flavor concentrates (produced in the original building) to make e-liquid, which then will be put into cartomizers (for e-cigarettes) or bottles (for various types of vaping units).

Both steps of the process are highly automated, using a computer control system that contains the recipes for the e-liquids. The computer system controls storage tanks and a system of piping, pumps, and valves to measure out the inputs according to the recipe, mix these together, and decant them into storage containers.

This is a very exciting project to be a part of!

The cost of the new building is ~$4.1MM. The computer controlled compounding system is ~$1.6MM. Supposed to begin production in May.

At the same time we are implementing a new ERP system for both facilities which is going live in 3 weeks (fingers crossed, I'm PM of this portion of the project). This ERP system will have significant integration with the compounding control system.

« Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 04:58:23 PM by irrelevant »

Offline rkelly17

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2015, 08:48:01 AM »
So, I've just upgraded my milking parlor to sliding rails and automated take off machines with flow metering. Not very hightech I admit but a substantional saving on the arms and knees of yours truly. Has anyone else got any neat work tech tricks recently?

A fellow in my model railroad club works for a company that makes computerized sensors and monitors for the dairy industry. Amazing what goes on in barns these days! There is one near here where not only the milking and feeding are automated, but even the walls! They go up when it gets too warm inside and down when it gets too cold. And I'm told that there are barns that make that look elementary. Those of us who live in cities with our bucolic notions about farm life often have no idea what goes into food production.

Offline irrelevant

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 09:29:25 AM »
Those of us who live in cities with our bucolic notions about farm life often have no idea what goes into food production.
That's why I had nothing to say about @kee's post. I know absolutely zippo about farming of any kind, except not to stand directly behind any large critter. ;)

Offline kee

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2015, 10:24:46 AM »
Quote
A fellow in my model railroad club works for a company that makes computerized sensors and monitors for the dairy industry. Amazing what goes on in barns these days! There is one near here where not only the milking and feeding are automated, but even the walls!
There's a plethora of high tech aids and thingmajigs for dairy farms, most as labor saving devices that allow for larger herds per work hour. It's a balance between land and herd size, available workforce and available service personel for the automations.
Milking: That would be a milking robot. Around where I live deLaval, SAC and Lely delivers. What it basically does is wash the teats, put on and remove the milking organs. The cow is given concentrates in the contraption (usually just a bite to keep her occupied while milking). A single robot usually handles some 60-80 cows at max.
Feeding: Some have food mixers combined with railed delivery veichles that are automated, others combine with transport bands for automated coarse feed delivery. A lot have stations in their stalls where the cows can get concentrates, amount here is individually adjusted.
Walls: Most often this is an automated opening/closing of windbrake tarps or windows with passive (just an opening) or active (fans or automated dampers) exit of air. The idea is to have fresh air but exclude drafts.
Kim Erik

Offline kee

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2015, 10:26:15 AM »
A pro tip @irrelevant : Do not stand behind a shitting cow. She might give a cough.
Kim Erik

Offline irrelevant

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2015, 10:44:41 AM »
Noted.

Offline salamander

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2015, 10:57:45 AM »
A pro tip @irrelevant : Do not stand behind a shitting cow. She might give a cough.
Noted.
Or behind a combine (since we're talking about tech at work) ... a cow might feel bad about ruining your favorite shirt, but to a combine, you're just something else to turn into little pieces.

Offline kee

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2015, 11:43:36 AM »
@salamander Not fond of being sprayed with chaff and dust?
Combines is something to keep well away from. They have superb visibility front (you have to see the whole shearboard) but the blind zone behind, to the sides and down to the sides are formidable.
A combine is a neat package of different techs though. Those of an engineering kind of mind should find the whole contraption fascinating.
Kim Erik

Offline rkelly17

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2015, 01:34:03 PM »
There's a plethora of high tech aids and thingmajigs for dairy farms, most as labor saving devices that allow for larger herds per work hour. It's a balance between land and herd size, available workforce and available service personel for the automations.

Here in Ontario each dairy has a quota for how much milk can be sold the the Milk Marketing Board, so if you can get your quota from fewer cows or fewer workers you might make a bit more money. Except near growing cities where farm land prices are astronomical, retiring farmers can sometimes sell their quota for more than they can sell the land.

As to the technology, a few years back the MMB required all dairy farmers to have a phone, which created quite a controversy among the Old Order Mennonites and Amish, who still drive horse and buggy. Some groups split over whether or not a phone was permissible. The compromise many reached: It is permissible to have a phone in the barn, but not in the house. Technology!

Offline solarscreen

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2015, 05:14:08 AM »
Speaking of milking cows, this rotary milking parlor is pretty amazing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJpKNgoUQQk

Technology - Home Theater - Astronomy - Pyrotechnics

Offline irrelevant

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2015, 07:21:02 AM »
That is, er, udderly fascinating! (sorry)

I'd really be interested to see the support structure, the bearings, and the motors underneath the carousel; that thing weighs tens of thousands of pounds!

Offline rkelly17

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2015, 08:44:17 AM »
That is, er, udderly fascinating! (sorry)

I'd really be interested to see the support structure, the bearings, and the motors underneath the carousel; that thing weighs tens of thousands of pounds!

According to friends in the industry, these things are getting more and more common and have been around since the 80s in California. As to the undercarriage, remember that railroads have been able to turn massive steam engines on turntables for a long time. I've never been underneath a dairy carousel (speaking of cow poo!), but they have years of proven technology to rest on (Was that an unauthorized pun?).
 

Offline kee

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2015, 03:33:07 AM »
Carousels have been around for quite some time. Only suitable for large herds, 200 cows and upwards. Typical capacity is 5 cows per place per hour. The ones I've seen were smaller than this one and had the dairy workers inside rather than outside as this design dictates. One worker can handle a lot of cows this way, but it demands some sort of tech or other farm workers to 'force' the cows to line up orderly and enter each available slot for the stall to operate efficiently. This is a world away from the farm I run, with two employees (myself and my father in law), some twenty odd cows and about forty young cattle.
As for quotas: We have that in Norway as well. They are administered by the agriculture department but parts of them can be bought and sold on the private market. They can be viewed as a piece of property that allows the production of XXX tons. To avoid centralization of all production there's a max cap as well, 900 tons as of 2015. My quota is 150 tons, and with my herd size and available land I'm not currently trying to buy more- that would mean having to build a new barn (at a substantially larger cost than 48 logs and 16 pieces of stone), and buy more land or waste a lot of money buying feed.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 03:48:55 AM by kee »
Kim Erik

Offline rkelly17

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Re: Work tech
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2015, 08:43:17 AM »
that would mean having to build a new barn (at a substantially larger cost than 48 logs and 16 pieces of stone),

Sad, but true.