Ammann commission concrete plant remotely
Company takes an innovative approach to an unforeseen issue during coronavirus pandemic
AL Manaratain Co., Bahrain-based manufacturers of concrete products, are long-standing users of Ammann concrete-mixing plants, having purchased two Elba plants in the 1980s which continue to run efficiently.
When demand called for a new concrete batching plant, Al Manaratain turned to the Ammann Elba CBS 130, but soon after the deal was done and the plant delivered, the global coronavirus pandemic struck.
‘The installation of the concrete plant took place before the travel restrictions due to COVID-19,’ said Rami Shihab, area after-sales and product support manager at Ammann. ‘A great deal of the mechanical and electrical work was completed too, but some was pending before we had to return the Ammann engineers to their home base in Dubai.’
Eventually, it was safe enough for Al Manaratain employees to get back to work, but the Ammann technicians who normally visit a plant site at this point were not allowed to travel. The installation still needed to be completed, as did the commissioning, testing and training.
Meanwhile, Al Manaratain needed to start up the plant to keep their promises to customers. ‘They could not wait due to obligations, so we had to come up with an innovative solution,’ said Mr Shihab.
The plan was to dedicate an Ammann engineer for daily, detailed video conferencing to walk the Al Manaratain team members through the remainder of the installation. While the strategy had its challenges, there was one key advantage: the as1 control system.
‘We used the as1’s remote access to perform the commissioning and start production,’ explained Mr Shihab. ‘The remote access allowed our engineers to take over the controls and run the system from Dubai, as if they were present and working at the plant in Bahrain.’
The commissioning was successful, and the plant has been working ever since. In addition, two training sessions have been completed through as1 remote support.
Ammann say this is the first time a commissioning has been completed without one of their engineers being in attendance to personally oversee the process.
‘It was not easy, but it was manageable because the right plan was made and our team has great experience,’ said Mr Shihab. ‘The remote access of the as1 system played a big role in making the procedure doable.’
‘While it would have normally taken a week with an Ammann engineer on site, the remote commissioning took a bit longer – about two weeks – but it was a much more expedient option than waiting out the pandemic.’