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Company president Ken Grimm explains: “Lyons is a relationship-based company. At a high level we value long-term relationships with vendor, contractor and customer to achieve success. TEC’s on-site technician service has helped us meet day-to-day results and bridge the relationship gaps that companies face when dealing with a systems integrator or supplier of service. “Today, organisations have become more transaction-based. We have taken a very different and successful relationship-based approach. TEC is important to our long-term strategy in the areas of control, automation and electrical systems.” Grimm adds: “We have made significant strides, but have a long way to go. Putting critical information in the hands of supervisors faster via handheld devices, integrating new technology and enhancing our electrical infrastructure will all play a critical role moving forward.”

The Lyons production skip hoist

at your service TEC Systems Group explains how it has helped to improve efficiency and production at a salt mine in Kansas, US

“To take its approach a step further, TEC offers an on-site electrical, instrumentation and automation technician service to customers such as Lyons Salt”

L

yons Salt Co is a mine located 1,000ft (300m) below ground in Lyons, Kansas (US). The mine is a result of salt deposits from the inland sea that covered the state millions of years ago. The company began its operations in 1917 during a time when mules were utilised to pull its cargo. Today, the mine is a leading producer of feed salt and road salt for de-icing cities across the Midwest. Production volumes are critical to maintain a competitive advantage, which challenges the company’s progressive management team to look for ways to improve efficiency and increase output. With this in mind, the management team introduced automation to the operation with the help of TEC Systems Group, a member of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA), headquartered in Wichita, Kansas. As part of the collaboration, TEC has focused on introducing automation solutions and increasing the electrical capacity at Lyons Salt. The company has

Lyons saLt’s chaLLenge:

made great strides, increasing efficiency by 35% and increasing production output by 32%; the partnership between Lyons Salt and TEC has so far been a successful one.

a different approach TEC is known in the industry for its technical performance in the area of plant automation. The company takes a customer intimacy approach by offering multiple services, ranging from large automation projects to plant automation, service, and support to a small number of customers in select industries. To take its approach a step further, TEC offers an on-site electrical, instrumentation and automation technician service to customers such as Lyons Salt to align with the customer’s business goals. The on-site approach provides a deeper understanding of the customer’s business processes, goals, mission and vision. This on-site service played a key role in efficiency gains and increased production output at Lyons Salt.

The company’s main objective is to serve its existing customers’ needs and grow the business by attracting new customers. This required Lyons Salt to increase its production tonnage, reduce the amount of downtime, and improve the overall visibility of its operations while providing a safe work environment to achieve its goals.

the soLutions

• TEC was instrumental in the design

and installation of upgraded electrical controls throughout the facility, in the mining and milling processes. This was accomplished through the use of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and human-machine interfaces (HMIs) that gave the ability to monitor and control critical systems. The upgrades and introduction of automation resulted in reduced time moving product from point to point, and the ability to adjust or control different functions in the process. Automation also provides Lyons Salt with the ability to introduce new product lines,

Right: the entrance to the mine

Far right: 300m below ground at Lyons Salt

July / August 2014 Automation_Tec_MM1407.indd 66

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Mining Magazine July / August 2014  
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