SPG Tech

Silo automation: The ultimate 2 benefits ​

Silo automation: The ultimate 2 benefits

silo automation

Silo automation benefits

One of the largest industries in the South African agricultural sectors is the grain and cereal industry. According to Grain SA South Africa produces approximately 30% of the total gross value of agricultural production.

Due to the growing demand for food grains, there is a need for a better crop production process. In contemporary times automation has been used in all branches of industrial activity and this includes automation applications more and more in modern grain silo facilities.

This article highlights a step in this process as we explore the benefits of silo automation.

Silo automation: elimination of stock shortage

  •  Having silos and storage equipped with sensors allows knowing in real-time the storage volume and the stock level in a silo. This automated control followed by computer processing of collected data enables farmers to get rid of tedious and non-productive tasks, such as visual control of the filling level and order management. This system is essential to avoid any stock shortage.
  •  With the possibility of receiving alerts, the silo plant never runs out of grain. Alongside alerts, reports can be generated by software systems that create quick access to the history and traceability of stoc


Silo safety

  •  As with most industries, elimination or limitation of safety risk is greatly desired, by process of eliminating manual checking processes, such as storage volumes which are manually done by climbing great heights to check the filling levels, the risk of injury is almost completely removed.

SPG Tech: Silo automation solutions

SPG Tech provides both the software and hardware for a silo control system, with project planning and linking to instrumentation and control solutions. The software and hardware are optimally matched to the process and are completely configured and set during commissioning.

To see other service sectors or current projects head over to our LinkedIn or Facebook 

SPG Tech

4 benefits to automating batching & weighing sytems

4 benefits to automating batching & weighing systems

batching & weighing

As higher outputs are aimed for in production, manual systems start failing due to inconsistencies, delayed delivery times, and complete lack of long-term efficiency. In all plants the aim is to ultimately increase yield while consuming fewer resources and the most efficient way to do so is to automate your plant by implementing automated batching and weighing systems.

Automated systems for production are in wide use today, as we immerse ourselves into industry 4.0; which “refers to a new phase in the Industrial Revolution that focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data… [And] isn’t just about investing in new technology and tools to improve manufacturing efficiency—it’s about revolutionizing the way your entire business operates and grows.[i]” The automated systems that SPG Tech can aid various plants and industries in, enable manufacturers to increase production and decrease both labour and product variations.

Why look into automating your batching and weighing systems?

4 reasons to automate batching and weighing systems

High accuracy & stability

Poor batch quality caused by inaccuracies in the blending process and possible human error means expensive materials are wasted and disposing of bad batches of product may cause irreparable reputational damage to the plant and company leading to great financial loss.  Automated batch processing effectively eliminates common human errors resulting in consistent mixtures. An accurately designed ingredient addition system works well in monitoring and controlling the addition of major, minor and micro – ingredients.

Pays for itself quickly

For any plant size, large or small operations, an automated weigh batching system covers its own cost rapidly through:

  • increased productivity
  • heightened accuracy in measurement of ingredients,
  • reduction of formulation errors
  • minimisation of product contaminates

All the above factors aid in increasing production rates and therefore, increasing the bottom line which aids in paying for the initial batching weighing automated system in a relatively short time period.

Improvement of product quality

Due to the pre-programming of measurements in major, minor and micro-ingredients, the consistency in product delivery provides a better end-product avoiding bad batch consumable products which not only cause reputational damage to the product, but also could lead to lethal consequences to consumers. Pre-formulation of the end product which can be repeated throughout the production not only removes inconsistencies in the end-product but also leads to less wastage of ingredients.

Less time-consuming

It is no secret that manual operations require increased time schedules and a lower turn-around rate with a heightened risk of human error, all these factors contribute to a slower turn-around rates for product production and waste of time in business equates loss of income. Therefore, manual batch processing is not an optimal solution for plants and companies seeking to cut costs and boost profitability. A time-saving solution is the development of an automated system that removes the manual efforts that require too much time and, ultimately are detrimental to the end-result.


SPG Tech Integration: 

Automating a plant and the introduction of system-changing procedures may cause people to jump to the conclusion that they have to diminish their existing systems and venture down an expensive path to technology. However, SPG Tech with their expertise in integration batching processes provide cost effective solutions that upgrade the entire operation that leads to increased goal of quicker turn-around times, product consistency and higher profit margins.

SPG Tech is meticulous when developing client solutions through and as with any process, planning is crucial in determining the success of the outcome. With communication with clients, SPG Tech, designs the optimum hardware based on the mechanical design provided and then develop and design software processes using SCADA that connects all possible equipment to a PLC.

All of SPG Tech’s automated system has remote access and support – bringing your plant to the industry 4.0 era with efficiency and ease.


Test Bench

SPG Test Bench

SPG Tech: Experts in the test Bench

Test bench

The primary objective of a test bench is to simulate the working condition of testing equipment. To achieve the desired conditions, optimum mechanical and hydraulic design is required alongside PLC operating electric control system and SCADA monitoring and data capturing software . Test benches verify theories, devices and technologies with rigor, transparency and as many times as deemed necessary.

SPG Tech provides comprehensive design of the various test benches that can be utilized within different industry sectors.

Automating tests is used to:

  • Reduce repetitive manual tasks – therefore saving time
  • Limit Errors
  • Increase test coverage
  • Reduce validation cycle
  • Increase productivity
  • Save money
  • All instruments on the test bench are calibrated and located in one place
  • Beneficial unit to have for staff training purposes
  • Improves facility cleanliness, organisation, and presentation.
  • Allows for accountability of test equipment by being mounted in the panel
  • Assurance of a quality product – when a product is tested in real time, there is a guarantee of increased product quality

SPG Tech Test Benches

SPG Tech provides products and solutions perfectly meeting the needs of its customers by providing the highest quality user experience and high-quality test benches. Experts in the automation field by offering fully customized hydraulic test benches; specialising in cylinder, hydraulic motor pump, and spindle-end drive test benches, as well as automatic transmission test benches.

SPG Tech designs, manufactures control panels, test internally using PLC and SCADA allowing complete control of the solution offerings.

Each test bench is unique to correspond as closely as possible to the requirements of the customer’s product, industry and expected performance. The simplicity of readability of the test reports, test bench ergonomics, protection of operators and repeatability of tests are the criteria of significant importance in the development of the test benches.

SCADA Software

SCADA is the system that allows operators to interact with test benches with ease. With fully automated control of test operations and possibility to monitor the machine performance through real-time calculated indicators and analyze the results obtained.

SCADA provides:

  • Simple configuration
  • Accuracy of measurement & analysis
  • Traceability of operations
  • Access management

What SPG offers

  • Analysis of requirements and standards
  • Manufactured control panels
  • PLC & SCADA software
  • Definition of specifications
  • Complete, efficient and innovative technical solution
  • On-site installation, commissioning and user-training
  • Maintenance and calibration services for your equipment

SPG Tech

The Future of Industrial Automation

The Future of Industrial Automation

Industrial Automation

In recent years the term “Industry 4.0” had been whispered in various industrial markets, however, this year, the fourth industrial revolution is upon us and no longer a whisper but an ever-increasing roar that screams automation, communication and connectivity.

Industrial automation is perfectly poised to deliver successful digital transformation into the centre of the fourth industrial revolution. “According to the publication Fortune Business Insights, the industrial automation market worldwide reached 157.04 billion dollars in 2018 and is expected to reach 296.7 billion dollars in 2026 .”

The interest in progress and what the future brings in technologies that facilitate industrial automation is due to the benefits it brings. This article highlights 3 things to look for in the future.

Fully automated plants and factories

A vision of fully automated plants are finally approaching an age of true realisation as the needs of automation are driven by the necessity to remove hazardous job roles, improvement of quality through the elimination of errors, maximisation of productivity and major cost reduction throughout the manufacturing process.

Headway towards achieving the most effective automated plants are centered in communications support through the implementation of sensors, fast networks, flexible and easy-to-read interfaces, quality software and centralized, and access operations.

It is important to note that the above-mentioned does not mean the elimination of people, as often automotive systems are imagined to be, “automated systems help, but people are the most critical factor, and ensuring the right time can make all the difference .”

Interactive Instrumentation

As process automation and control systems evolve, the synergy of instrumentation tasks centered on design, developing, maintaining and managing control systems will develop to accommodate changes.

Highlighting the continued importance of people and the industrial future easy-to-read HMIs and dashboards will allow instrumentation that is interactive and approachable to plant operators. Furthermore, implementation of interactive instrumentation maximise the goals within:

  • Productivity
  • Continuity
  • Safety
  • Optimisation
  • Reliability
  • Stability

Virtualized controllers

Our world is an ever-increasing virtual experience and with virtual control systems such as PLCs, HMIs and SCADA, SPG Tech leads the way by virtue of years of software programming experience. 

The convenience of remote access to the control system also allows controls to function in a consolidated manner that embeds function into a single platform instead of multiple singular applications. 

“This flexibility of open, software-based control architecture allows companies to upgrade control processes, optimise them and expedite the deployment of new functions .”

SPG Tech: Drivers of the future

Industrial automation is positioned to deliver heightened quality, accelerated delivery time, remote access and information integration with new instrumentation and control products driving the growth.

SPG Tech’s automation processes are the starting point for successful digital transformation and selected experts to enable the seamless transition of business infrastructure and ensure the achievement of maximum return on investment for technology.

Modernising a plant is at the forefront of automation and SPG Tech provides solutions from full automation to an upgrade of existing systems where innovation is the true source of value.

SPG Tech: Automating the future with quality excellence.


Animal Feed Milling SPG Tech

Feed Mill Automation


Food, food production and food packaging has been and always will be an integral part of our economic and social structure. ‘Animal feeds play a leading role in global food industry; enabling economic production of products of animal origin throughout the world…Commercial feed manufacturing generates estimated annual turnover and sales value equivalent to US$ 85 Billion[i].’  In South Africa, the national gross turnover is US$ 2.8 Billion per annum[ii]. The most efficient way to ensure that feed mills run efficiently and maximise the market potential is to automate the plants; securing a minimum margin of error in the entire processing and packaging procedure. Ultimately, the goals of feed mill automation are;

·          Solve potential and current running problems

·          Minimise risk

·          Reduce costs

·          Maximise profit margins

The following article will highlight ways in which the automation of feed mills drives return on investment.

5 benefits of automating a feed mill

1.       Reducing human error & increase level of safety.

Automation creates a consistent system in task completion which eliminates that could be better utilized in more important tasks rather than unnecessary and dangerous manual operations. It also ‘develop(s) safe work practices and engineering controls which could be used to reduce the number of accidents and injuries in the workplace and to train workers in identification and awareness of hazards and their controls[iii]’. For example, should a man made error or injury occur that result in temporary closure of a feed mill that produces 2 000 tonnes p/w, for every day that the plant is down the loss of production id 285.7 tonnes per day – a high price to pay for something that could have been eliminated by predictive processes and controls.

2.       Optimization in process with enhanced production.

Manual processes are extremely time-consuming and some ways in which time can be saved is through automatic mixing, formulating and distribution. Other processes that could be controlled and accurately preformed in a time-saving manner include; raw material intake, dosing, grinding & mixing, pellet system, and packaging processes. Software automation is the most important element which increases efficiency of production made without human interaction and ensuring stabilization of the required processes whilst being carefully programmed to be delivered in the most time-efficient frame.

3.       Improve accuracy with programmatic solutions and reduction of batch errors.

Batching is one of the most common areas for feed mill automation and often offers the highest initial profitability. Automation of batching and mixing processes substantially reduces error and variation. And with an easily re-programmable controller, you can adjust recipes without significant downtime and reduction of waste, significantly reducing expenses. The correct automation solution can solve the problem of precision and consistency by scale weighing ingredients quickly and to correct amounts ensuring automatic distribution according to pre-programmed recipes.


4.       Monitoring and support through maintenance.

To operate efficiently it is crucial to be able to gather and interpret data through availability of a process optimization tool. Preventative maintenance is a software measure that monitors critical parts in the process control permanently and remotely therefore further reducing accidental cost in the long run. Due to remote access control and support, the maintenance solutions and upgrades required are easily provided and do not result in unnecessary downtime.

5.       Adherence to the highest level of quality control.

With exact-measuring and monitoring of recipes, automation prevents adulteration and/or contamination by reducing hand-add opportunities. This results in the elimination of a variety of costs and risks including:

·         Product and ingredient losses

·         Lawsuits

·         Liability Insurance

·         Reputational Damage

·         Loss of Sales


Automation consists of both hardware and software components and these components often depend on the needs of the clients. One of SPG Tech’s core values is to fully engage with the individual clients to create a hardware and software package that drives the business success of the client’s project. The hardware and software details vary from client to client, however SPG Tech’s and what is required is outlined below in what is needed to create the ultimate feed mill automation solution.


·         PLC: Being able to track system equipment in a fast, efficient manner is imperative in process automation and SPG Tech has expertise in most leading brands.

·         PC: Used in order to operate required software

·         HMI: A dashboard that is used to connect a person to the interface that provides a user-friendly interface to provide a visual overview of the automated system.

·         Frequency Inverter: A way in which to control equipments sensitively.

·         Weighing indications: Used to transmit weight information to the automation.

·         Energy analyzer: Used to report energy consumption in the process and transmit energy consumption.


·         SCADA: Control and monitoring of processes and can be linked to Microsoft Office for reports with remote access to the plant.

[i] good practices for food industry, 2010

[ii], AFMA, 2020