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Saint-Gobain Norpro GmbH

Renewal of the automation technology for a tunnel kiln

The company

The Saint-Gobain NorPro GmbH plant in Steinefrenz near Montabaur is part of the globally operating SAINT-GOBAIN Group with more than 183,000 employees worldwide.

Saint-Gobain NorPro GmbH produces and sells ceramic components (packing, ceramic balls) for chemical and petrochemical processes, special products for use in environmental protection (air purification) as well as for regenerative thermal oxidation plants.

The company is constantly working on the further and new development of products, materials and manufacturing processes in order to optimally solve the customers' requirements.

With own tests as well as externally carried out controls, the product quality is ensured within the scope of the certification according to DIN EN ISO 9001:2000. The processing of high-quality materials on modern machines also ensures consistent quality and thus the highest possible operational reliability for the customers of Saint Gobain NorPro. With decades of experience, Saint-Gobain NorPro GmbH is a successful and globally operating company.

Task and solution

The project to be implemented at the Steinefrenz plant involved the control and visualization of an existing tunnel kiln. Bogies are loaded with raw products on two production tracks and then pass through a drying process. After drying, the raw products are fired in the tunnel kiln with a duration of approx. 1 ½ days in continuous operation. The temperatures in the individual kiln segments are regulated via the control system on the basis of a firing program which can be selected individually for each product. Packaging of the end products after cooling takes place on one of the unloading tracks.

Two interconnected SIMATIC S7-300 stations form the basis for controlling the entire plant. The Wizcon program package from emation is used as the user interface for visualization. Data is exchanged between the controllers and Wizcon via TCP/IP. The user interface allows the user to easily monitor the process and quickly make changes to controller parameters or setpoints. In addition to the possibility of flexible configuration of the reporting system, the application offers a complete history for monitoring and tracing kiln cars and batches as well as data exchange with a mySQL database via the existing API interface of the visualization system. The product-specific production parameters (firing programs) are managed in the PC-based database. With the help of a web front end specially developed for the application, the user can access the contents of the database.

The project in compact

Tunnel kiln

  •     23 kiln positions
  •     2 production tracks
  •     4 supply tracks
  •     1 unloading track

Automation technology

  •     S7-300 PLC for furnace control
  •     S7-300 PLC for the conveyor system
  •     Wizcon Supervisor for visualization and as control system
  •     connection to Eurotherm S 2500 for temperature recording
  •     connection to mySQL database for administration of firing programs