ABB drives enable record animal feed production levels and energy savings for Red Range Stock Supplements

Red Range Stock Supplements manufacture quality animal feeds across the top of Western Australia, throughout the Northern Territory and into Queensland, manufacturing nutritional and high-quality supplements for livestock. 

They worked with ABB Channel Partner Current Engineering Solutions and contractor Agtric Pty Ltd to select fifteen of ABB’s ACS580 variable speed drives to optimise control of their operations, which has enabled significant energy savings as a result. 

Red Range has already observed energy savings in the amount of over 230,250kWH, and 180 tonnes of saved C02 since 2020, following the installation of the ABB drives in their operations for various onsite applications as compared to energy use of DOL drives. 

Red Range Stock Supplements is a locally owned family-run business located in Kununurra, Western Australia with clients all over Australia’s North-West. Red Range manufactures animal stock feed using imported domestic and local produce while offering a range of customer blend supplements for cattle tailored for their individual dietary requirements. 

Their manufacturing operations consist of a combination of conveyors, augurs, crushers, mixers, pumps, and fan-related applications. Due to the nature of their products, it is essential for them to ensure the accuracy of the blends produced for high-quality produce to offer their valued clients and their animals. 

Overcoming equipment challenges 

Red Range was originally using traditional Direct online starting (DOL) drive technology, to control their manufacturing equipment in process applications. 

Material was built up in the augurs used to deposit grain into the storage silo where it is then collected for further processing and distribution. With their high-powered nature, the augurs require high torque from the motors to sufficiently power them to start under heavy load and prevent stalling. Unfortunately, the existing drive technology in Red Range’s operations did not suffice and the augurs would continue to stall, leading to the material build-up, and bringing manufacturing to a halt. 

Additionally, the start-up torque of such a demanding application was causing high starting currents in the motor in the start-up, leading to voltage inrush causing circuit breakers to trip. 

The right technology identified 

15 x ACS580 all-compatible variable speed drives (VSDs) were identified as the best technology to help solve Red Range’s challenges, as supplied by ABB Channel Partner Current Engineering Solutions and Red Range contractor Agtric Pty Ltd. Agtric introduced VSDs with fieldbus communications to automate and streamline the production process. 

For the feed mill application, with the use of ABB drives and Agrtic’s sound knowledge of the processing requirements, the speed of conveyors could be reliably slowed down in specific stages of the feed production, which has led to both a reduction in energy usage and reduction in wear and the frequency needed to service the conveyors which also intrinsically extend the lifetime of the conveyor. This improvement can only be acquired by using a VSD. 

Tom Beresford, Director at Agtric Pty Ltd said, “it was important for us to establish trust with Red Range so that they could become confident in the benefits of using improved, modern technology like ABB’s VSDs to control the process, and upgrade from their traditional processing methods which were causing issues for them.” 

The VSDs have optimised start-up and operational control of the motors. The reduced starting current helps to increase motor lifetime by protecting it from electrical stress. Since the starting currents are easily optimised to load and application, they keep operational equipment safe from network irregularities. Torque control enables Red Range to operate their processes at their full potential, improving production efficiency.

In the first year following the installation of the ABB drives, Red Range experienced a 2,500-tonne feed output of their operations 

Because the motors now operate more efficiently, Red Range are bilaterally cutting energy costs and reducing carbon emissions. 

 In the first year after the ABB drives’ installation, Red Range had a 2,500-tonne feed output.  Now in their second year utilising the ABB drives and process improvements, their feed output has increased to record product levels in the tens of thousands per annum. 

The breakdown of total energy saved per application equates to: 

Dust collector: Over 17,727 kWh, or more than 8.9 CO2 metric tonnes 

Liquid pump: Over 2,071 kWh, or more than 1 CO2 metric tonnes 

All three conveyors: Over 17,518 kWh, or more than 1.3 CO2 metric tonnes 

Mixer: Over 96,652 kWh, or more than 48.3 CO2 metric tonnes 

The total combined 59.5 CO2 metric tonnes of energy saved, is equal to 13.2 gasoline-powered cars driven for one year. 

The upgraded infrastructure has also given Red Range peace of mind knowing their operations will remain reliable even in uncompromisingly dusty conditions.   Tom said, “these ABB drives have an IP55 rating suitable for our long-term operations in the hot and humid and often harsh West Australian climate.” All ACS580 drives are tested at maximum temperature and with nominal loads to ensure their durability. 

Paul Smith, Senior Electrical Engineer at Current Engineering Solutions Pty Ltd said, “projects utilising the all-compatible range of ABB VSDs with their intuitive menus, ease of programming and inbuilt application macros makes working with contractors like Agrtic very streamlined. This enables the requirement of contractors and end users alike to become seamlessly knowledgeable about applicational energy usage and critical parameter measuring for the best possible outcomes.” 

Russell Cooke, Owner of Red Range Stock Supplements said, “the introduction of ABB drive technology to our lick production plant has not only seen huge energy savings but has also enabled us to provide more of our quality product. 

We have been able to increase production substantially per annum, with reduced training for operators, less wear and tear on equipment, and minimal downtime. We look forward to working with ABB, Current Engineering Solutions, and Agtric Pty Ltd with our future projects.”