In an exciting development for the African timber treatment industry, Dolphin Bay now offers a service to fully automate your timber treatment plant.
The solution, called PROtreat, is a modularised system that uses as much of your existing plant as possible and the automation can be done in degrees, rather than all at once, to make it more feasible.
PROtreat allows the plant manager to monitor the entire treatment process from multiple desktops or even a phone, and makes quality verification and auditing instant and extremely easy.
“Dolphin Bay decided to develop automation services because the timber treatment industry has been static for many years. Plants in South Africa are typically using technology from the 1970s and 80s,” explained Bertus.
“Automation has become more relevant and important to our industry and will become even more so in the future, as we continue to experience increasingly stringent regulations, occupational health and safety requirements, rising labour costs and an ever-growing focus on quality and lot tracking.”
“Manual systems will soon become uncompetitive and antiquated. Automation will set our customers apart from their competitors.”
Dolphin Bay has been working on the PROtreat project for about a year now. “It’s a big venture, and due to its huge scale we are introducing it gradually. The auto-strength detector is part of the offering,” said Bertus.
“We believe it’s important, even in these economically difficult times, to invest in automation because it is the way of the future. The future will depend largely on optimising production and processes, and on having cleaner processing environments. Automated treatment ensures these outcomes.”
PROtreat controls the entire treatment cycle, monitoring the process to ensure that the timber is treated correctly to achieve the required retention and penetration levels.
A full installation will take a week or two to implement and commission, depending on the existing infrastructure.
“The main components are assembled off-site and ‘Lego-ed’ together in a modular approach,” Bertus explained. “Dolphin Bay manages the installation process, working with suppliers who bring specialised expertise. We can maintain the system, too, once it is installed.”
The software, meanwhile, is the heart of the PROtreat system. It offers data monitoring of each process during the cycle, enabling effective, efficient production. “The manager has full control over the plant,” said Bertus. “The platform enables you to log in remotely, monitor the process and generate reports.”
The proprietary software developed by the Dolphin Bay team controls the whole automated treatment process through either a direct human-machine interface (HMI) or a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, depending on the scope of the project.
Automation will set our customers apart from their competitors.”
Dolphin Bay is working with the cash-flow risk solutions provider Wauko to develop financing options for customers wishing to install automation. Wauko CEO Pieter le Roux said the company’s vision was “to empower every organisation, everywhere, with the cash-flow management tools that will enhance their return on investment. This means you need to be a digital company, and automation is key.
“Looking at the efficiencies a client will gain by adopting PROtreat, we see it will be very beneficial, especially in our world of tight margins and tough economies.”
His dealings with Dolphin Bay have convinced him that we “really are there” for our customers and we “do the right things, in the right manner.”
“This is the kind of business we want to be involved with – and we’ve very particular about our business partnerships.”
Timber treatment plant automation is taking place internationally in line with the digital and AI revolutions. The data generated by your system could become invaluable to your future operations, as data models will be hard to come by should you not have made the decision to automate.
PROtreat is the first automation offering of its kind in Africa. “PROtreat gears your business towards survival, sustainability, and growth for years to come, while manual systems will soon become uncompetitive and antiquated,” concluded Bertus.
“Automation will set our customers apart from their competitors.”