What Is a Terminal Automation System?
A guest blog from Dearman Systems Inc.
Terminal automation software automates certain manual processes in a terminal, specifically around load authorization, product movement (via multiple transportation methods), product measurement, documentation, and reporting. The software is flexible and open to integration with other siloed systems and hardware, including meter skids, weight scales, tank gauging systems, and secure access control systems. These systems often bridge the gap between the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems.
- Process control is the key
Terminal automation systems contain logic often referred to as process control that enable operators to communicate with and control field instrumentation and devices in an orchestrated manner and utilize data from these devices for practical business functions. Process control is the heart of any terminal automation system and the quality of this software code dictates the reliability of the entire system.
- Terminal data feeding business applications
It is common for terminal-level information to be fed into business applications such as invoicing, inventory management, and reporting. Reports are highly configurable and are used for many purposes including Bills of Lading (BOLs), operations monitoring, accounting, taxes, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliance.
- Visualization of terminal operations
Many terminal automation systems offer a real-time graphical visualization of terminal activity that can be configured to match a terminal facility set up. Users can see terminal overview graphics, specific loading or unloading bay activity, and current product storage location information.
- Optimizing the supply chain
Terminal automation systems can also handle customer orders and even allow for position holders or stock holders to schedule their movements directly through the system. Terminal automation systems allow for the integration of multiple transportation methods into the terminal operations including truck, rail, barge, and pipeline.
- Implementation and open architecture
When it comes to implementation, terminal automation systems typically have pre-built connectors to popular field instrumentation for collecting terminal data and can also interface with enterprise-level applications as previously mentioned. Terminal automation systems with open architecture typically generate the highest ROI for bulk liquid storage companies as their data flows freely and quickly create value in business applications as needed.
About the Author
Dearman Systems is a leading provider of terminal automation and enterprise management software to the bulk liquid storage industry. The company helps terminal owners (petroleum, chemical, renewable fuels, aviation, LNG and LPG) to automate their operations and get more out of their assets. Dearman System has been providing the industry with reliable software solutions since the 1980s and currently has nearly 200 unique customers with nearly 300 installations worldwide.