Security is an important element to a plant’s upgrade. Modern concrete operation procedures often leave satellite operations idle during slow periods, opening them when jobs are close or demand is great. Security systems can offer efficient methods that are more effective than a human guard approach.
One system design for demanding locations is Watchdog Security Inc. The Southfield, Mich.-based firm, provides a turnkey approach in locations in more than 35 states, focusing on scrapyards, demolition sites, and concrete plants. Its systematic approach provides a 24-hour monitoring service. Unlike a camera system designed to monitor construction progress, the Watchdog system is designed to provide an instantaneous alert of when a secure perimeter is breached. The system can include motion detectors, infrared monitors, and even noise meters. Each instrument is connected with a unique signal to Watchdog’s central monitoring system. When a breach is detected, the automated system sends notices to key managers. Should there be an equipment malfunction, the system automatically dispatches a repair technician.
The service begins with a thorough review of the plant or jobsite needs. Design engineers review the site using satellite images to prepare a complete outline of the security plan.
The average age of a stationary concrete production plant is about 20 years. When compared to other manufacturing industries, it seems producer equipment is from the Middle Ages. In 2014 Morgan Stanley reported that an average manufacturing facility was about 10 years old. In the same report, it found that many corporations found it cheaper to scrap older facilities and focus on acquisitions to expand production capacity at lower margins.
Since concrete producers have not invested in new plants or significant upgrades, the option of buying more efficient operations is very limited. So to meet the demands of greater productivity and profitability, capital investment is a must.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 Annual Capital Expenditures Survey, the construction industry is investing in structures. There was a 49% increase in investment from 2013 to 2014. The report states the construction industry invested $3.8 billion in plant upgrades. This figure is about 10% of the investment made in plant manufacturing.
Over the past two decades, producers have been hesitant to invest in mature operations. Now they often discover it is less expensive to replace entire plants with new equipment than to piecemeal upgrades.
When these upgrades happen, producers experience a vastly different set of production norms. Buss wiring, continuous signal and controlling devices can put the fear of innovation into a production manager’s plans. Fortunately there is a new type of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing contractor who has a history of supporting producers who are leapfrogging their operations into the 21st century.
Egan Company, a Brooklyn Park, Minn.-based firm, provides a turnkey solution to upgrading production facilities. The firm has experience working with some of the nation’s largest manufacturers. Recently, it has transcended its experience into concrete production facilities. The firm has worked with a wide range of plant equipment manufacturers covering all aspects of concrete production from ready-mixed concrete to wet-cast precast to concrete block.
The firm has just completed a very comprehensive project. A large precast producer in Minnesota upgraded its entire wet-cast production facility. “Our construction crews were involved in all portions of the new plant’s construction,” says Eli Martin, Egan’s project manager.
Egan also focuses on instrumentation and control wiring. Its software engineers have developed control equipment that includes features needed for a modern concrete operation such as default troubleshooting, batching records, and storing hundreds of mix designs. The KFBatch systems are options on much OEM plant equipment. The system is very suited for concrete producers who are batching self-consolidating concrete.
To learn more about the Egan Company visit www.eganco.com.