UK Power Station Trialing Robotic Process Automation for Biofuel Deliveries

robotic process automation

A power station in the United Kingdom has recently begun piloting an innovation for their train movement process that could save up to seven hours each workday. This innovation? Robots.

A Need for Robotic Process Automation

A power station in the UK has begun implementing robotic process automation (RPA) to manage the yearly booking of millions of metric tons of fuel to their power station. The station primarily generates biomass power, and more than 70% of the electricity the power station produces is renewable. As early as 2023, the plant plans to eliminate the use of coal to focus solely on renewable biomass. The station currently houses four biomass generating units that utilize wood pellets for fuel.

The station is responsible for keeping the lights on for around six million households, and a workload this large requires 20 freight trains and a day’s worth of coal and biomass for operation. The 7.5 million tons of biomass that the station uses each year comes predominantly from North America and Europe. Their commercial services team was the group to take on the challenge of piloting this new technology.

The Process: Before and After

The station chose the booking process for RPA piloting for several reasons. For one, the rail delivery booking process involves 167 individual steps, uses eight different systems, and must all be completed by one team member. This causes the process to take anywhere from four to seven hours. With robotic intervention, however, the same process could take as little as 40 minutes, leaving hours each day for workers to focus on other, less repetitive tasks.

The commercial services supervisor in charge of piloting the RPA, Beth Clifford, had this to say of the innovation: “Potentially, this could massively reduce the more mundane and tedious parts of my job. Having more time to focus on other tasks will hopefully mean I feel like I’m adding more value, will enjoy my job more and can also take on new work which will be more interesting. I can’t wait to see how this goes and my colleagues are the same.”

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