A total of four Weighline systems were installed, which will monitor both inbound coal wagons delivering fuel for the station and empty outbound wagons. The installation involved removing a section of track before welding in the section of transducer rail. There was no need for special civil foundations, so its installation caused minimal disruption.
Once installed, the system is extremely reliable and durable. It has an IP67 rating so the harsh environment caused by coal dust at Ferrybridge does not affect it. The system also has no moving parts, so it requires little or no maintenance.
Using the trade-approved system, the power station can accurately record and pay for the amount of coal delivered to the site. Three to four freight trains deliver a total of up to 5,000 tonnes of coal every day. Monitoring the amount of fuel delivered is a vital part of the power station’s operation, to both control its costs and to monitor its ongoing operational efficiency.
Inbound trains typically have between 19 to 23 wagons. As it approaches the site on one of two rail lines, it stops at a signal and then proceeds towards the discharge hoppers at 1/2mp/h. As the train approaches the discharge hoppers, each wagon passes over a pair of Weighline transducers before emptying its contents. The empty wagons will then pass over a second pair of outbound Weighline transducers and leave the site.
Unlike a static weighbridge system there is no need to uncouple and weigh each wagon individually, so the Weighline system does not affect the delivery process. It uses wheel-weighing techniques that do not restrict the type or size of cars that can be weighed. It can also detect when a train stops and rolls backwards to avoid multiple weighing.
The Weighline system is linked to a PLC system at the power system, which sums up the weight of coal delivered by each freight train. This can be interfaced with a PC and other systems at the power station for further reporting – a possibility for the future.
Says Michael Foster, assistant fuel and by-product engineer at the station: “We needed a durable and reliable system that can record and check the amount of coal delivered to the site. Weighline meets this need and does not slow down the delivery of coal. It was also installed during a planned close down period for the station, so it did not affect the ongoing running of Ferrybridge.”