Replacement of the complete control system of a hot-dip coating facility
Sheet steel plays a major role as a semi-finished product in industrial production, and not only in automotive engineering. A proven method of protecting sheet from rust is to apply a zinc coating in the so-called hot-dip galvanizing process. Hot-dip galvanizing line 2 is one of currently eight units of this type at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe. It is around 300 meters long, runs around the clock apart from regular maintenance and has an annual capacity of around 440,000 tons of galvanized sheet steel.
Since the control system is of decisive importance for plant availability, special attention is paid to this area: Without an overview from the control room, such a highly engineered plant cannot be operated efficiently. Because the existing visualization solution could not be technically expanded, thyssen-krupp decided on a fundamental modernization and partly new solution. As a control system, focus relies on the SIMATIC WinCC V7 SCADA system, whose scalability also allows future functional expansions of the hot-dip coating line. With a consistently redundant system design, a remote engineering station and comprehensive virtualization, focus ensured that control system availability was maximized and that the SCADA system was integrated into the existing IT infrastructure. Virtualization thereby increases independence from operating system lifecycles. Using Modbus Plus communication cards in robust SIMATIC IPC547E rack PCs, the existing automation components were connected to the new control system via Profinet. Access is via 27 operator stations and the intranet. The WebNavigator option is used here, with which access rights can be configured on a user-specific basis. This means that each operator only sees the warning or error messages on the monitor that affect him and his production area.
Finally, the plant is now also connected directly to thyssenkrupp's Enterprise Resource Planning system via a serial link, so that the plant data is available throughout the company. Thanks to data availability in the central long-term data archive Process Historian and the link to the ERP system, detailed long-term evaluations are now possible, which have already led to optimizations at the plant and increased productivity.