IWLAN infrastructure by Siemens secures communication in Vietnamese hot rolling mill

Press Releases | By Siemens | 14 July 2017
The hot rolling mill south of Hanoi/ Vietnam processes metals such as pig iron. To ensure seamless material tracking, all material movements from production through to dispatch have to be logged. The hot rolling mill south of Hanoi/ Vietnam processes metals such as pig iron. To ensure seamless material tracking, all material movements from production through to dispatch have to be logged. Photo: Siemens

A Vietnamese steel concern is constructing an integrated steel mill south of Hanoi – currently the biggest new building project throughout the steel industry. The hardware and software required for warehousing management and material tracking are being supplied by Siemens. The ultra-modern industrial Wireless LAN infrastructure will ensure trouble-free communication between the material tracking systems and the higher-level automation.

22 million tons of steel: This is the planned production volume of the finished new integrated steel mill currently under construction 340 kilometers south of the Vietnamese capital Hanoi. The complex includes furnaces, a steel mill for slabs, blooms and billets, a hot rolling mill for flat products known as coils, and a variety of rolling mills for the production of long products such as wires and steel bars. The company LogoTek GmbH from Marktheidenfeld was commissioned to implement the components. To ensure reliable communication between the control system and both material tracking and warehousing management, LogoTek GmbH opted to use products from the Scalance and Simatic portfolio from Siemens.

Reliable communication

LogoTek has specialized in solutions for the automation of industrial processes, and in particular in logistics management in the steel industry. Here, seamless material tracking which logs all material movements from production through to delivery is essential. To achieve this, a crane tracking system monitors all crane movements. If a crane deposits material in any location, it transmits the current storage position of the material to the warehousing management control center. This is networked with the process control system, so that production planners are informed about the location of material to be processed. For this procedure to work flawlessly, a stable and reliable communication infrastructure is required.

Scalance W774-1 compact IWLAN (Industrial Wireless LAN) access points are ideally suited to this application, as they are insensitive to dirt, shocks and vibrations. They transmit signals over switches and glass fiber cables to the redundant servers located in the computing rooms of the individual production areas. The warehousing management system running on these servers determines the position of the individual steel parts and transmits this information to the crane client, providing the crane driver with the precise location of the required material.

Rapid position recognition

Decentralized automation takes place using the Simatic ET 200S I/O system, which has been upgraded by connecting the IM 151-8 interface module with integrated Central Processing Unit (CPU), transforming it into a programmable logic controller (PLC) analogous to a Simatic S7. The distributed I/O enables data processing directly at the cranes, currently numbering 17 but due to be increased to 35 in the final configuration. This enables a rapid response in situations where time is crucial, and has been achieved by mounting between three and four access points per switch along the crane tracks. The remote mounted omnidirectional antennas of the access points have an antenna gain of 7dBi. With a data rate of up to 300 megabits (Mbits) per second, they ensure reliable radio coverage.

The high transmission rate is sufficient to allow remote maintenance using a PC or tablet. Laser distance measuring modules are mounted on the cranes to enable automatic position recognition. These are used to transmit the X and Y coordinates of the crane bridge and trolley to the PLC in the 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) frequency band. The PLC is fitted with a variety of sensors for monitoring contact with the lifting clamp, as well as weight control and steel part verification. LogoTek opted to use the IM151-8 interface module as the controller, which is not only compatible with the S7-300 but also offers facility for I/O expansion. An industrial PC in the crane cabin is used for visualization.

Total satisfaction

Looking back at the project, LogoTek CEO Matthias Knoke’s assessment is highly positive: “Since the founding of our company in 2002, we have been using Siemens products for industrial automation, and have been very satisfied with them.” The local wireless network with 54 IWLAN Access Points and 35 Simatic controllers installed in the warehouses of the steel mill functions exceptionally well without any problems. Even in harsh industrial environments and under extreme climatic conditions, the systems run highly reliable. “Here, one can clearly sense the added value of the Siemens devices.”

Last modified on Friday, 14 July 2017 11:10
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