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Schunk Group

Control system for the monitoring of the energy supply in the Heuchelheim plant

The company

In 1913, Ludwig Schunk and Karl Ebe founded the company "Kohlebürstenfabrik Schunk & Ebe OHG". This laid the foundation for today's Schunk Group, consisting of "Schunk Materials", "Schunk Sintermetalltechnik", "Weiss Technik" and "Schunk Sonosystems". Meanwhile, more than 60 companies, spread over 28 countries, belong to the group of companies, which employs more than 7,900 people worldwide.

At its headquarters in Heuchelheim, Germany, Schunk develops and produces not only sintered metal components, but also components and systems made of carbon materials for tribological applications, high-temperature technology, household appliances and power tools, railroad applications, industrial power transmission and the automotive industry.

The broad spectrum with which the Schunk Group holds its own on the international market brought the company consolidated sales of €810 million in 2008.

Task and solution

To monitor the power grid at the Heuchelheim plant, Schunk previously used a mosaic panel, a wall-mounted system composed of individual modular blocks to display switch positions and measured values. Due to the space required for this and the fact that it could no longer be expanded, the company had to switch to a digital solution.

The task was to integrate the mosaic image into an existing control system of the plant. In addition, a forwarding of gas tank level messages to suppliers via e-mail was to be made possible.

In order not to lose the advantage of the clarity of the mosaic tableau, a four-monitor solution based on Wizcon Supervisor was implemented. For this purpose, the mosaic image was divided into three monitors, which can be called up via the fourth monitor, on which the overall overview is displayed. Each of the 18 transformer stations can additionally be opened in a detailed view on the respective monitor. In this way, the responsible personnel have an overview of the complete power network at all times and can detect and rectify faults in the switches and transformers at a glance, as well as read off kWh counters and actual values. Certain fill level messages from gas tanks are forwarded directly to suppliers by e-mail to ensure constant availability. For this purpose, the "Advanced Alarm Management" (AAM) module integrated in Wizcon is used, which acts as an interface between the control system and the e-mail server.

To prevent data loss in the event of a failure of the control server, it is connected to a second server in the master backup network. The actual four-monitor application runs on the master server. If this fails, the second server takes over the master's tasks. These include recording measured values, recording and forwarding faults, and visualizing the power grid. This means that the backup application can be fully used as an independent system during the downtime of the master server. As soon as the master server is back online, the data recorded by the backup is transmitted to the master server.

Even in the event of a temporary failure of the master server, there is thus uninterrupted data recording. Changes to the definition of data points and alarms in Wizcon are also automatically kept the same on both computers. The recording of actual values and status messages from the stations is handled by controllers from Siemens and WAGO. For data transfer, the controllers are connected to the master and backup server via Ethernet.

A web application was implemented so that an overview of the power network is possible throughout the Schunk intranet. A common browser is sufficient to monitor the digitalized mosaic panel from the office at any time. The complete functionality of the main application, which is divided into four monitors, can be used. The specially created navigation system allows operation via only one monitor and outputs the data of the stations in real time.

The project in compact

Visualization mosaic tableau

  •     18 transformer stations
  •     2 power networks
  •     application operation with four monitors

Automation technology

  •     process control system with Wizcon Supervisor 9.3
  •     coupling to SIMATIC S7-300 and WAGO 750-841
  •     web application
  •     forwarding of fault messages via e-mail (AAM)
  •     master backup system