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Students: Christian Moser, Leonhard Schnöll

Advisors: Albert Schmeitzl, Peter Landrichinger

Educational institution: HTL Braunau

Project title: Silo Control

Project presentation
The idea for the project

How did the project come to be?

Loading up silo trucks in quarries has traditionally been a cumbersome and time-consuming process. First of all, the driver always has to climb up the silo to check the current fill level or simply take an educated guess. Then, in order to empty the silo, the driver must position it under the conveyor belt, get out of the truck and go into the next building. Once he is there, he has to use an outdated switchboard to select the desired silo and then press a button to open it. He also has to press buttons to activate each of the conveyor belts individually.. Since the truck can only be loaded in one place at a time, it needed to be moved repeatedly, bit by bit, until it was completely full. That meant even more trips for the driver back and forth between the vehicle and the switchboard. With our project, we wanted to both simplify and modernize this tedious and time consuming procedure.


What is special about your project? What makes it challenging or difficult?

Our idea was that the truck driver would have a tablet in the vehicle displaying the fill levels both in visual form and as a percentage. The emptying process would be activated with the touch of a button. The most difficult part of this project was finding a sensor that could deliver accurate measurements despite the extremely dusty atmosphere. In the end, we decided on an ultrasonic sensor with an output of 4-20 mA depending on the measured distance. The values are converted by the controller and displayed in the form of a bar graph. The controller itself is a 10" Power Panel C70 that is mounted right onto the control cabinet. The tablet is connected to the controller using VNC Viewer. To improve safety, ripcords were also added to each conveyor belt and additional emergency stops to the building. All of this safety equipment is monitored by the controller, so if it is activated the process it can be partially or completely shut down.

Solution approach

Solution approach

What is your proposed solution and how do you plan to implement it?

Our primary goal was to increase efficiency. Since the silo truck driver no longer has to guess what the fill level might be and can accurately plan when the silo needs to be emptied, he now has more time to finish other work or to direct his attention to maintaining the other equipment. This also eases the workload of the employee since this new procedure saves him long walks and trips up and down staircases in addition to allowing him to stay in the cab of his truck where it is not so dusty.

Hardware used

Which B&R hardware is being used?

  • 1x Power Panel C70, 10"
  • 1x 24 VDC power supply 0 PS1100.1
  • 1x X20 bus controller BC0083
  • 11x X20 bus module BM11
  • 11x X20 terminal block TB12
  • 1x X20 power supply module PS9400
  • 1x X20 power supply module PS2100
  • 1x X20 bus base BB80
  • 3x X20 analog input module AI4622
  • 4x X20 digital input module DI9371/DI8371
  • 4x X20 digital output module DO8322
  • Networking via POWERLINK

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