Union Station Bricks And Materials Company Nashville

The mining industry has been for the past decade in a period of flux, resulting in leading the industry towards greater growth potential with the flip side being just as much interruption and instability than in decades past. In this uncertain climate, mining companies must concentrate on differentiating their business models and plans of action to generate long-term value, in addition, to trying to stay effective and successful in the communities in which they operate. All this while working hard to meet and fulfil the rising demands and needs for mining commodities though grappling with the operational expenses and the cost of supply being higher than ever. The best way forward for mining companies to endure this tough working environment, is to build up their capacity and capability to manage and oversee demand and supply risks by bringing greater transparency into their overall operations. Despite this, mining companies still face numerous challenges and difficulties when it comes to managing Inventory management, warehouse efficiency, and supply risk.

Union Station Bricks and Materials Company faced these same issues. Working with producing brick and stone facades that they mine from their slate mines and ship across the globe, they needed a modernization solution that would help integrate their overall operations onto one platform, giving them better optics based on real-time data from across the supply chain, with a focus on continued growth based on business intelligence.

The most common challenges faced by the mining industry are:


Mines are often situated in remote areas which can represent an issue on the ground because there are very few suppliers who are willing and able to support service in these areas. This puts these mines in a disadvantage with regards to being able to negotiate and setting prices for products, goods, and services. This limitation and confinement in the number of suppliers prepared to service and provide support to remote locations represents a genuine threat to supply particularly if there are issues with quality.


Data visibility in mining organizations has generally been an incredible challenge, particularly when it comes to providing a timely data flow across the inventory and supply chain. This is frequently a consequence of the absence of proper frameworks, appropriate systems, standardized information format and non-standard procedures and technologies, which are all essential to managing supply risk effectively.


The complexities of transporting and distributing people and goods can be overwhelming under the most favorable circumstances particularly in the context of world-wide mining operations. The risks and dangers involved increase manifold the light of frequent transport and logistical bottlenecks. At the point when breakdowns in communication and coordination occur, this further exacerbates the circumstances and goes works towards becoming a sizable obstacle preventing the ability to adequately oversee supply risk.

The best ways to mitigate these risks are by acknowledging that:

• It’s incredibly vital to control orders and inventory as best as possible to minimize and limit losses, boost benefits and maximize profits – which is where inventory management and supply chain techniques become an integral factor.

• Maintaining an efficient and effective warehouse distribution centre means understanding the significance of the company’s overall supply chain. This continues to remain the best way to discover inefficiencies and opportunities for optimization and remains critical to maximizing profit.

The best way to deal with these risks is to implement an IoT based ERP system that provides Business Intelligence reporting based on real-time data analytics.

To legitimize the improvement and continued development of the company, the Union Station Bricks and Materials Company administration stipulated that there was desperate need for an operational overhaul to incorporate advanced technologies to empower their work towards reduced risks, improved efficiency and overall profitability.

The company chose NetFriday Consulting to build up and deliver the project. NetFriday is a global consulting company which provides clientele with custom solutions tailored towards helping increase productivity in mission critical environments. NetFriday Consulting’s automation solutions effectively and adequately help manage supply risks by implementing an overall ERP solution that is based on a perceptive IoT framework. The solution can help manage the overall spectrum of a mining companies operations, from mineral rights permits to transportation, inventory warehousing, order management, production, shipping while continuing to provide the mine operations with advanced real-time data analytics based reporting that helps drastically improve the overall resource performance, impress compliance and consistency and increase production from the mine to final product.

This full scale automation both above ground and at depths underneath the surface is realized by incorporating the latest automation and communication capabilities to enhance and optimize productivity and profitability, improve process variability – and capture the advantages of advanced automation technology.

From a systems and process control point of view, the extent of the project was broad and included: a real-time data management infrastructure, RFID equipment and personnel tracking, remote monitoring and mine analytics, raw material in transit and inventory management in warehouses, order management system based on raw material inventory, wireless and satellite or terrestrial networks, human and external interface, IOT platforms and processors, and remote static and mobile equipment controls.


While each specific and particular application introduced unique challenges and difficulties, energy and resource utilization was a common concern all through the mine. In indicating a control system, NetFriday required an integrated solution that could address a wide scope of control applications. The selected control solutions had to incorporate adaptability to adjust to these constant and steady changes cost-effectively.

Company Challenges


The company still required a solution to address its all unanswered necessities, however at this point, many within the organization were skeptical and distrustful about executing and implementing new and advanced solutions.
• The inadequate data-collection system limited teams’ ability to recognize and identify causes of downtime or optimize production
• Guarantee standardization in the mode of operation and control between divisions
• The procedure control system could be obsolete because of the span of the usage
• The large distances involved between the different zones of the production facility and end clients
• Actual availability of cut stone in warehouses that could be used to handle orders placed and IoT sensor array to make available real time data on raw cut stone and finished stone facades in transit to warehouses / shop floor / customers
• Provide system scalability and adaptability to nearly double the plant’s capacity in two to four years
• Give mine-wide and production floor-wide control and data arrangement utilizing cutting edge technology solutions.
• Design, plan and install underground mining control framework with variable frequency drives (VFDs) to fit in a small enclosure to meet enduser prerequisites
• Tracking of product orders, and materials in the stock/distribution center
• Use of computerized QR code/Bar code scanning for appropriate tracking
• Tracking of machine and equipment wear and tear system tie-in to existing hardware control units

NetFriday's Solution

From the beginning of the project, NetFriday Consulting buckled down to overcome all the challenges and difficulties. Union Station Bricks and Materials Company helped provide a very competent engineering team to discuss and validate the whole system provided by NetFriday Consulting.

An overview of the solution looked as below:


NetFriday Consulting implemented and executed overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), and downtime tracking solution, to monitor plant-floor equipment, gather ongoing and historical information; event-based data with respect to production, stopped, faulted or went into an alternate state – to guarantee operators focused on the correct machine problems during downtime events.

The software provides plant operators/administrators with new abilities to perceive how operations perform against objectives, and monitors and reports on machine events so they can more rapidly resolve downtime issues. It likewise provides out-of-the-box reporting and detailing abilities and developed customized email notifications to alert operators/administrators every time there was a change in the control system’s operations.

The system additionally provides important reports, such as root-cause analyses, production summaries, equipment maintenance summaries, order to inventory ratio based on raw material available and downtime summaries. Plant operators can analyze and examine the reports to look for patterns and make changes and adjustments to their processes.

NetFriday Consulting has provided high end and adaptable solutions which has created a benchmark for the mining industry, in that it provided a best in class solution at 1/4th the cost of a comparable solution available from other software majors:

• Tracking of product orders

• Tracking of material in inventory/warehouse

• Projecting shortfall for materials to deliver orders

• Tracking of stone from mine to distribution center/production floor

• Automated QR/Bar Code Scanning/Tracking on Assembly Line

• Arranging of the item to a suitable container

• Automated QR/Bar Code Scanning/Tracking from Forklifts

• Recording warehouse slot where the pallet is stored

• Dashboard for a live perspective view of products across the warehouse, filterable by customer

• Product shipment based on product orders with live tracking across US / EU


• Improved and Enhanced visibility: accessed information to data across every level to track recipes in real time and make changes and adjustments as needed

• Diminished maintenance costs contrasted to the previous system

• The streamlined, repeatable solution that gives profitable and valuable data across the entire organization

• Focused resources on correct areas of need amid downtime events and decreased dependence on tribal knowledge

• The procedure control system executed decreased the commissioning time of each of the process zones

• The system with multiple monitors made the operation less complex and more flexible

• Production Scalability – Dispersed control infrastructure can easily accommodate increased and expanded production capacity

• Optimized and Upgraded overall system permeability and effectiveness

• Reduced wastage, increased productivity, increased overall profits and transparency

Impact on Company's Business

In the year 2018 alone, the company has experienced a phenomenal 8% top line growth owing to reduced risks, heightened productivity and overall system transparency. Wastage was reduced by 12% and delays in production and delivery by 10%.

NetFriday helped the company to see a chance to streamline the data-collection process and diminish dependence on tribal knowledge during downtime circumstances. The principal target of these progressed automated solutions was to get production up and running more quickly. This would allow for better insights into knowledge into operations and provide room for constant and steady enhancement.

Our scalable Smart Asset Management helps the Condition monitoring/checking, maintenance systems, and purchase departments to work with improved efficiency.

NetFriday’s scalable, and adaptable automation solutions give insight into an increasingly practical perspective on activities with extra data and expanded visibility so the administrators can better understand the process. With NetFriday’s advanced automation solutions administrators can also have access to reporting over each stage and level of the process so they’re able to keep track of recipes progressively in real time and have stricter control during production.

With NetFriday’s cutting edge and advanced DCS System operators are likewise ready to re-organize changes in the line if necessary and can do as such on the web – a new, and time-saving and efficient option. NetFriday Consulting likewise embedded both the procedural and regulatory control inside, and with the adaptability, the system permits to build and assemble customized add-on guidelines and reporting capabilities.

NetFriday Consulting likewise provides an asset management system which helps in facilitating and encouraging maintenance, support, and backup of the application software, and enables the equipment to remotely configure and parameterize intelligent instruments.

NetFriday Consulting automation control solutions would coordinate with the technology vision of the mines and encourages them in accomplishing ideal and optimal levels of efficiency and productivity. We also offer a steady, and integrated system that would enhance and optimize discrete and power control – as well as process applications.

NetFriday Consulting designs its automation solutions based on the clientele’s architecture which makes it unique and helps clientele to build a noteworthy trust that we can handle and tackle production issues in a smart, savvy and unique way. We could also support all applications throughout the mine in a cost-effective environment and permits to create and make a real-time data management infrastructure. NetFriday Consulting automation solutions were deployed throughout all areas of the mining industry. The integrated supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) solutions, programmable automation controllers (PACs), HMI software, low voltage, and medium voltage variable frequency drives, and portable/compact control centers.

Netfriday Consulting automation solutions give an integrated view into the whole mining process – both over the ground and beneath. And the best in class power control technologies implemented throughout the mines have been instrumental in helping the mine accomplish energy efficient operation.

NetFriday Consulting also provides RFID (Radio-frequency identification) landscape which helps in personal/miners/equipment tracking and some practical systems for ore tracking.

Next - Gen Applications

In a continued development effort and in order to provide even greater visibility into the overall operations, NetFriday is continuing to develop the following features for the company.

Miners safety/Security and emergency response – People tracking, video surveillance and analytics, communications, real-time personal health management, weather forecast, and first responders integration

Mine Adaptive optimization/improvement – Ore tracking, quality control, asset/resource performance, mobile machine tracking, process controls, fuel, energy, and water management

NetFriday’s RFID systems can altogether reduce maintenance downtime, conceivably saving millions of dollars for mining organizations. By precisely tracking the utilization patterns of machinery around the site; substitution parts, fluid changes, fueling and general maintenance/support can be better scheduled to limit downtime and keep operations/activities running smoothly.

As a successful automation service provider, the NetFriday Consulting team plans to explore new and advanced automation technologies in upcoming years and also looking forward to providing benefits and 24/7 services to the clientele beyond their expectations.

Want to see how we can help transform your business? Talk to us. You can connect with us on connect@netfriday.net

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