C²I² Press Release
Drawing on its considerable industrial automation expertise, Cape Town-based Basix Automation has developed a sophisticated, fully customisable system that enables processors of animal hides or bird skins to achieve higher margins for their products by better managing the movement of hides through the various production processes.
The state-of-the-art Skin Tracking System (STS) works in conjunction with a re-usable identification tag attached to each hide, allowing information about the hide to be recorded in the system database at every stage of production. All relevant hide attributes, such as origin, size, mass, colour and the time the hide passed through a particular process or stage, can be recorded in the system.
Because STS data is updated in real time, users can gain access instantly to current information about individual hides or batches of hides anywhere in the process. Thereby users can make informed decisions at a moment's notice and dynamically manage the production environment so as to maximise the possible returns from each animal.
Information in the database can be used for a wide array of purposes, from monitoring hide movements through the plant, to extracting production performance information and pinpointing bottlenecks. The database can also be used to assess operator performance, extract monthly/yearly production summaries, manage hide inventories, control stocks of consumables and more.
"The STS is the only system of its type that can be tailored to fit the customer's operational environment exactly. This minimises the need for operator training and greatly eases implementation of the system within existing production plants," observes Louis van Alphen, Managing Director of Basix Automation. Basix Automation is the sister company of C²I² Systems, a successful Cape Town-based supplier of mission-critical, real-time systems and consulting services mainly to the defence establishment.
"In addition, the STS can grow with the needs of the plant. Users, if necessary, can start with a single workstation and gradually expand into a full-blown information-based system with a server and multiple workstations and peripherals. Basix Automation assists customers to analyse their needs at the outset and tailor a solution satisfying both short and longer-term requirements. In all cases, the solution is specially ruggedised to withstand the harsh environmental conditions in which it is applied."
The STS has been implemented successfully in South Africa, and prospects for exporting the system are good.
An early adopter of the system reports that the STS has dramatically improved monitoring and control of the movement of skins through its tannery.
A spokesperson for the company said: "To obtain a premium price for our product, it is critical that we record the progress of each individual skin through the production plant. This, a high-volume production environment such as ours, is no trivial matter.
"The STS is the answer to our needs because it provides all the necessary controls and management information, along with flexibility, ease of use and the perfect ‘fit' with our workflow and operating procedures."