Foundry Corporate News TOP - Process technology Topic IT-Solutions Topic Green Sand

FerroTrade - Innovative conceptual solution for the migration of SPS controls

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Many machines and systems require replacement investments, especially for the control part, for example. SPS controls. License-free open source software for automated production and control modules has long been used successfully in this field and a growing number of globally acting company groups are rebuilding their system landscapes based on such systems to reduce investment and running costs.

Between 2013 and 2015, Siemens is definitely going to phase out the support for all SIMATIC 55-systems. By that point in time, the maintenance will become more expensive and production downtimes are looming.

Our company offers the upgrade of industrial controls and systems based on a completely innovative conceptual design. In the process, the control units of your machines and systems will be replaced with a software solution on a server. The implementation approach is completely different from anything in the past; the SPS controls and switch cabinets in your control station as well as any cable trees leading to the control station will no longer be required.

Our "assemblies" are hanging on the Ethernet or USB and end in a control station server used to control the systems by means of software modules. The individual machine interfaces are equipped with adapters used to convert the electrical sensor impulses and to transmit them to the server via Ethernet or USB or they are received by the server and are returned to the machine as control impulse in the control circuit.

The main advantage of this solution is that the entire current hardware is reduced to a minimum. In terms of hardware, the new concept essentially contains the control station server, Ethernet or USB connections to the adapters/converters at the machine interfaces.

Our system components are developed based on license-free elements, thus guaranteeing technological and manufacturer independence and offering better performance and stability with unchanged mechanical or plant engineering. Depending on the needs, the few hardware components can be designed redundant and as a result failure resistant.

This significantly minimizes the maintenance and reacquisition expenses of your systems. Accordingly, our migration approach is mainly defined by the software and a few hardware components such as computer, LAN connections and adapter.

This also allows a slow migration to a new device control generation for older machines and systems, where no new cabling is required; the systems are ready for use again much quicker and at significantly lower costs.

The software visualization of the processes and the maintenance friendliness are therefore no longer secured by the hardware (SPS controls). The data visualization is "live" and it can be displayed anywhere thanks to web technology; if necessary, if can be transported to any type of terminal equipment including cell phones. As well, this data is available for other systems and programs (data base interface/ODBC, webservice).

This innovative concept can be used for any controlled machines and systems in the foundry, ranging from the core shooter, sand plant to the molding plant and all associated procedures along the value chain.

Preliminary projects have already been realized in a gray-iron foundry in Vienna. A control circuit with visualization between the coke-free cupola furnace, forehearth, charge and the laboratory/spectral analysis was realized which features a web-based process control, monitoring and visualization. Another project is currently under way designed to replace the control of a core shooter to reduce the maintenance costs and to manage core-specific machine data in different varieties and coupled with our PPS/ERP software FoundPlan. The project to replace the entire SPSP control for the green sand plant is currently in preparation. The purpose of this solution is the significant reduction of maintenance and repair costs as well as the visualization of the process to the various terminal devices to be able to notify decision makers timely about any abnormal findings and to reduce labor costs.

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