MediaService Industries Blog
Ursula Lang 24/03/2017
Ontario, Canada. A Canadian chocolate manufacturer whose plant in Ontario specializes in the production of confectioner coatings suffered repeated problems with level measurement in the sugar silo due to the use of outdated measuring technology. To obtain more reliable and precise measurements of the content in the 86,000-kg capacity silo, the company is now relying on instrumentation from the Siemens Sitrans portfolio. In addition to accurate measurements, the devices also offer a persuasive combination of easy installation, ruggedness and minimal maintenance requirements.
Along with cocoa, milk and other ingredients, chocolate consists to a large extent of sugar. Therefore, if sugar runs out during the chocolate manufacturing process, the entire production line comes to a stop. That was exactly what happened to a chocolate factory in the Canadian city of Ontario. The Canadian chocolate manufacturer, which requires a lot of sugar to produce its coatings, had been using obsolete technology to measure levels in the sugar silo. This resulted in occasional shutdowns of the whole production system. To avoid such breakdowns in the future, the company is now relying on level transmitters from Siemens' Sitrans portfolio.
Either too much or too little sugar
Fifteen meters in height, the sugar silo in the Canadian factory can hold 86,000 kilograms of sugar. Prior to introducing the new technology, the sugar level was determined by point level switches – four vibrating forks connected to the control room. However, point level switches do not reliably indicate the quantity of material currently in the silo since material can adhere to the vibrating forks. Consequently, there was sometimes less sugar in the silo than the units indicated. At other times, there was a larger amount of sugar in the silo than reported to the control room. This increased the risk of the silo overflowing, with the filters at the top of the silo clogging up and requiring extensive cleaning, and also incurred the costs of additional delivery time for trucks that could not be emptied completely.
Perfect for use in silos
Siemens supplied the solution for more precise and reliable level measurement. For cost reasons, and in light of the operating conditions, factory managers opted for the Sitrans LR560 non-contact radar measuring unit. With a four-degree beam angle, the unit fits perfectly into the narrow silo, while its slim sonic lobe allows the conical silo floor, like the silo as a whole, to be scanned at a measuring accuracy of one percent. Its rugged stainless steel design and plug-and-play capability make the compact Sitrans LR560 suitable for bulk material applications, even in the presence of extreme dust and at high temperatures of up to +200 degrees Celsius. The innovative sealed lens antenna design prevents measurement distortion from the sticky sugar. Mounted flush on an existing flange, the transmitter does not project into the silo. Other advantages of this well-rounded device include easy attachment of the 4-20 mA (milliampere) connection to the control system, real-time data access and reduced maintenance requirements. The head of electrical engineering at the factory draws a very positive conclusion: “The accuracy that we are achieving is even better than required.” This success has not escaped the attention of other divisions within the company, and there is now interest in introducing the Siemens level solution at additional locations.
The rugged stainless steel design, the option to mount on an existing flange and the four-degree beam angle make the Sitrans LR560 the ideal level measuring device for bulk material applications.
As the antennae are fitted with a sealed lens, measurement results will not be distorted by sticky sugar.
Its compact size makes the Sitrans LR560 easy to transport and install.
Integration of the Sitrans LR560 into the central control room means that level readings are available to anyone in the plant in real time.
Ursula Lang 22/03/2017
The March issue of the MediaService offers another interesting selection of product and application news from the world of drives and automation. We start with a look at a totally new fermenter monitoring solution for the pharmaceutical industry which measures the oxygen consumption of living cell cultures. We then take to the skies with 3D-printing technology: Siemens supports the production of exterior and interior aircraft components using additive manufacturing. Also featured in this issue: “green refueling” is enabled by a Siemens automation solution harmonizing different system components in Europe’s first multi-energy hydrogen-based filling station. We also hear how a modern drive solution helps save the energy used to fire a furnace in the casting industry. The modernization of two wind blowers for a cupola furnace simplifies the engineering process required for the manufacture of cylinder crank cases, cylinder heads and crankshafts for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Finally, we read how Siemens PLM software improves productivity in the development and production of high-grade components and systems for efficient drive and control technology.
Find out more at:
Ursula Lang 20/03/2017
Flakk, Rørvik/Norway. There are around 180 ferries operating around Norway’s coast. Siemens is developing and supplying a complete solution of the electric propulsion power and control technology including batteries to be used in two new vessels for the ferry operator Fosen Namsos Sjø AS, which will be traversing the route between Flakk and Rørvik. By using ferries with pure electric or hybrid propulsion, Norway is taking a major step towards achieving the Norwegian government’s declared goal of reducing the country’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 40 percent.
Norway is considered the world over as a leader in the generation and use of renewable energy. The country generates 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind power. Therefore, it is not surprising that Norway also increasingly relies on electric propulsion for its ferries. Siemens was the supplier of the electric propulsion technology for the world’s first fully electric car ferry, the MF Ampere. In a follow-up order, Siemens will equip four car ferries with hybrid drive. Two of them will be delivered to Fosen Namsos Sjø AS and will work the 7.2-kilometer route between Flakk and Rørvik on Norway’s west coast. The two car ferries each have loading capacity for 130 cars, and space for 390 passengers. They are due to go into service in 2019.
For both the new ferries, Siemens will be deploying its proven BlueDrive PlusC technology. The electric power and propulsion solution includes the remote connection and monitoring support system EcoMain, remote control system, energy management system, as well as the electric motor, switchgear and generators. The integrated control and automation system is for ferries and the shore based charging stations, where the ferries and shore are to be monitored and controlled with a WiFi solution. Use of the ship management system EcoMain allows ship operations to be optimized, also using remote access. The EcoMain gathers data relating to the ship’s technical systems through different interfaces on board, processes it in a standard format and makes it available on a common data platform. Energy consumption, emissions, bunkering fluids, service schedules, documentation and information management are just some of the processes that can be analyzed and used to optimize fuel efficiency, environmental compatibility and maintenance cycles. The BlueDrive PlusC technology used was developed in Trondheim in Norway, and is based on solutions developed for use in offshore vessels and specialized commercial vessels. This means that the systems have been successfully tested and proven under the harshest of conditions. At the heart of the BlueDrive PlusC electric propulsion system is the power electronic technology which allows the ferries to operate on pure battery operation or together with diesel- or gas engines at fixed speed or variable speed. This allows the diesel motors to supply their maximum power at any load-dependent number of revolutions per minute. The BlueDrive PlusC propulsion system also uses an Integrated Drive System (IDS) in which the motors and frequency converters are coordinated to ensure more economical and efficient ship operation.
Up to 100 percent “clean”
The new ferries may claim impressive green credentials for two reasons:
Firstly, emissions, vibrations and noise are completely eliminated during the pure electrical mode, which means that the drive saves the environment. Furthermore, the electricity they use is climate-neutral due to the fact that Norway generates 100 percent of its electric power from renewable energy sources. This means that no greenhouse gases are created in the generation of electrical energy. With this positive eco balance, the new ferries are making a significant contribution towards achieving the Norwegian Government’s pledge to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) by 40 percent.
There are around 180 ferries operating around Norway’s coastline. From 2019, a further four hybrid electric ferries equipped with Siemens technology will be added to the fleet, taking Norway a good step further towards achieving its government’s pledge to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent.
Ursula Lang 17/03/2017
Lützelflüh/Switzerland. In the small town of Lützelflüh in the Emmental district of Switzerland, “green” electricity is generated in the Gohlhaus small hydropower plant. The system, which features one of the largest permanent magnet generators in Switzerland, is automated with Siemens technology and is set to supply around 600 households with sustainably produced electricity if everything goes to plan. In addition, the small hydropower plant also makes a valuable contribution to the local ecosystem, as the fish ladder on the power plant building now enables fish to migrate upstream and downstream.
In the tranquil and picturesque district of Emmental in Switzerland – which is also the original home of the medium-hard cheese Emmentaler – a natural barrier in the river Emme offers ideal conditions for using a hydropower plant to generate electricity. So, last year the Gohlhaus small hydropower plant was connected to the grid downriver of the Gohlhaus bridge in Lützelflüh, where it supplies a planned annual output of 2,200 megawatt hours (MWh), which is enough to provide nearly 600 households with electricity generated from a renewable energy source. One of the largest permanent magnet generators in Switzerland is used to ensure that it runs efficiently, and this in turn is controlled via Siemens automation components.
Reliable control, easy to program
The most distinctive feature of the small hydropower plant is its two large weir flaps, which are used together with the bottom outlet and the flushing gate to dam the river Emme in the Emmental district of Switzerland. The almost 4-meter difference in water level achieved in this way is used by the small hydropower unit to generate electricity. In the process, the inlet structure directs up to 16 cubic meters of water per second to the turbine. Bars arranged horizontally with a spacing of 20 millimeters form a trash rake, which prevents flotsam like branches and leaves from getting into the turbine. Control for the overall system is provided via a Siemens Simatic S7-1511 system with ET 200MP distributed I/O modules. “We use the same components to control the four hydraulic power units, all flaps and the ventilation of these components,” says Patric Bertschy. He is a technician at Kobel Elektrotechnik AG, a company that has been developing open and closed-loop control systems for small power stations for 40 years. The components are engineered and programmed in the Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) portal. Data can be remotely accessed via a Smart Server. “We can read all of the values from anywhere in real time and, in some cases, also confirm them. However, we prefer to implement changes on site. This allows us to have a proper look at the situation and actually listen to what the turbine and generator sound like,” explains Bertschy.
Sustainable, long-term impact
In addition to the sustainable production of electricity, the power plant offers another important advantage for the region. Thanks to the fish ladder on the power plant building, fish can now also migrate upstream along the river Emme. Peter Kast, Managing Director of KW-Gohlhaus AG, is delighted: “The power plant combines two small barriers into one. The larger of the two was an impassable obstacle for fish. Now, the fish are able to migrate upstream and downstream again, allowing them to spawn and feed freely.”
Fish migrate upstream to spawn and then back downstream to feed. Sometimes they also need to move back upstream if they have been displaced, for example by high water after heavy rain.
The Gohlhaus small hydropower plant is operated with one of the largest permanent magnet generators in Switzerland. It is automated with the aid of a Simatic S7-1511 system from Siemens.
The two weir flaps are the most distinctive features of the Gohlhaus hydropower plant, which – if everything goes to plan – will supply around 600 households with sustainably generated electricity.
Ursula Lang 15/03/2017
Siemens Press Conference ahead of the Hannover Messe 2017 – “Discover the value of the Digital Enterprise”
Karlsruhe, Germany. The Hannover Messe will be opening its doors to trade visitors from around the world once again in April. At the traditional Siemens Press Conference ahead of the Hannover Messe, the Digital Factory, Process Industries and Drives as well as the Energy Management Divisions provided an insight into their business and technological orientation. CEOs Dr. Jan Mrosik (Digital Factory), Dr. Jürgen Brandes (Process Industries and Drives) and Dr. Beatrix Natter (Business Unit Transformers) spoke about the latest product innovations which visitors may look forward to at this year’s Hannover Messe.
All the press material relating to the Press Conference – press releases, pictures, presentations and a live recording – have been collated in a Press Feature and are available on our websites.
Ursula Lang 13/03/2017
Customised maintenance - Automobile manufacturer counts on performance-based maintenance with Siemens
Pantnagar, Uttrakhand/India. Tata Motors, Indias market leader in the commercial vehicle segment, counts on Siemens Know-how regarding its KPI (Key Performance Indicator)-based maintenance for electrical systems, automation, mechanical systems, and drives at the Pantnagar automotive plant. The company benefits from performance-based maintenance in the production areas body shop, welding, paint shop and central power supply.
Tata Motors, India’s largest automobile manufacturer and the market leader in the commercial vehicle segment, relies on Siemens at its Pantnagar production facility in the Indian State of Uttrakhand. Siemens was involved in the plant’s construction, for example, by supplying switchgear. When it came to maintenance, Tata Motors once again chose to partner with Siemens.
Tata Motors needed qualified specialists for the maintenance and repair of the state-of-the-art equipment and machinery installed during the construction project. The car manufacturer wanted to optimize its maintenance cost, reach defined key performance indicators (KPIs), and ensure a required level of plant availability for certain production areas – all this without hiring additional maintenance staff.
The plant maintenance agreement with Siemens is based on jointly agreed KPIs, including defined plant availability of more than 98 percent for the body shop/welding shop and paint shop as well as the power supply and distribution. To meet the contractually agreed KPIs, Siemens’ maintenance experts implemented a wide range of improvement measures for plant reliability, including a root cause failure analysis (RCFA). A newly installed energy management system delivers daily reports on the actual energy and fuel consumption, power outages, downtime, and maintenance work. Other key figures such as spare part consumption and the ratio of planned to executed maintenance work are reported monthly. Condition-based maintenance, spare part analyses, and proposals for improving plant reliability optimize the cost of maintenance and spare parts.
“For the past eight years, Siemens has been a reliable partner for the improvement of our productivity,” says a very pleased N. B. Tilak, who was responsible for plant maintenance at Tata Motors. Additional activities for the next two years are already being planned, including various audits and training courses. Furthermore Tata has awarded the maintenance in three additional plants to Siemens. Thanks to Siemens, Tata Motors is benefiting from significant energy savings, for example, in the welding process in its body shop. The company also receives support in identifying critical areas. Many proposed technical improvements were implemented in the paint shop and the body shop. Plant availability and adherence to maintenance schedules even exceed the target figures.
Thanks to Siemens’ maintenance experts, Tata Motors’ employees can focus all their attention on their core work of manufacturing passenger cars.
Employees during the “Safety Week” festivities – safety is one of Tata Motors’ defined performance indicators.
Ursula Lang 10/03/2017
Nuremberg, Germany. The new Sitop PSE200U selectivity modules have been classified in compliance with the US National Electricity Code (NEC) Class 2 standard for electrical equipment. The use of NEC Class 2 certified products enables to minimize the required effort for wiring and installation work, and simplifies the acceptance of machines or plants for the US American market.
The new modules certified to NEC Class 2 for the electronic monitoring of 24-volt control circuits limit the power per output to 100 volt amperes. Four control circuits with an adjustable output current range of 0.5 to 3 amperes can be implemented per selectivity module. Indeed, 24-volt infeed is possible using any 1, 2 or 3-phase Sitop power supply. One Sitop PSE200U selectivity module monitors up to four 24-volt load circuits for overload and short circuits. Irrespective of the cable lengths and cross-sections, the modules are also able to detect minimal overloads and “creeping” short circuits, and to isolate any output with a faulty path. This allows all other load circuits unaffected by the fault to continue being safely supplied with power. Variants with a common signaling contact and with single-channel signaling are available for remote diagnostics.
Benefits for customers
The NEC classification offers a whole range of benefits for customers. On the one hand, the wiring complexity and the costs for the acceptance are reduced by a control circuit according to NEC Class 2. On the other hand,in conjunction with the NEC Class 2 certified selectivity modules, one high-performance 24-volt power supply can now replace a large number of small NEC Class 2 power supply units. This cuts down on the space required and minimizes the amount of work involved in installation. The continuous status signal from the load circuit also ensures the rapid detection of faults should a problem occur. Using only a single digital input, the status information delivered by the selectivity modules with single channel signaling can be simply integrated into the existing Simatic S7. Evaluation takes place using free-of-charge function block for Simatic S7-1500/1200/300/400 for Step 7 and the TIA Portal Engineering Framework. Consequently, this allows asimple integration into S7 diagnostics and into higher-level control as well as operating and monitoring systems.
Sitop devices now in compliance with US standard NEC Class 2
Ursula Lang 08/03/2017
Invest with clear value - Specialist engineering consultancy uses software Femap for structural analysis
Southampton/United Kingdom. Longitude Engineering is a LOC (London Offshore Consultants) Group member and a specialist engineering consultancy dedicated to providing marine design and analysis services to the marine, offshore, renewable energy, defense, and other fields. To guarantee consistent standards of engineering Longitude Engineering uses the software Femap from Product Lifecycle Management specialist Siemens PLM Software. By using the software solution across the group, the company minimizes the cost of new software and maximizes the global collaboration and improved its engineering expertise, efficiency and speed.
LOC (London Offshore Consultants) Group is a recognized leader in the area of risk reduction within the shipping and offshore energy industries, focusing on transportation and construction in the marine environment and advising on technical matters when accidents and disputes arise. The ability to predict performance in a range of circumstances is critical, particularly with regard to the structural design and analysis of offshore structures. This is the specialist area of LOC Group company, Longitude Engineering, which as a part of its core services assesses strength, fatigue and vibration in fixed and floating structures. Much of the engineering input required for a marine project is unique or modified for a specific project need. Core tools that analyze performance and strength are therefore critical and Longitude Engineering relies on Femap software from Siemens PLM Software. “We use Femap because it is proven software with a reliable front end in which we have trust,” explains David Bignold, Director of Longitude Engineering.
Global team efficiency
With 35 offices worldwide, LOC has access to many potential markets, yet the specialized capability underpinned by Femap was initially limited to just one of Longitude Engineering’s sites. “There was clearly a huge opportunity to strengthen our engineering capacity,” says Bignold. “It seemed to me that extending and encouraging the use of Femap was key, yet it was difficult to build a business case for this on the traditional model of named user licenses for specific locations. Siemens PLM Software and our partner TEAM Engineering came up with the perfect solution.” With licenses available across a wide area network in five different time zones, consultants across the globe can now standardize on Femap because of LOC’s connectivity across all servers and the use of Femap on the engineers’ computers. This allows ‘follow the sun’ efficiency for LOC’s global workforce. As there is no fixed overhead for using Femap, there is every incentive to access a license for any analysis need. “It is a very cost-effective solution,” says Bignold.
Easy to use yet powerful
For Bignold, one of the outstanding benefits of Femap is ease of use. The structural analysis undertaken at Longitude Engineering typically involves the assessment of stresses, deflection, vibration and fatigue in structures; from analysis of a simple structure using manual calculations to full global analyses using frequency and time domain methods. Calculation of a local model, for example, a single item on a vessel, might take anywhere between a minute and half an hour. To run a global model to assess a whole ship only takes two or three hours. Even a complex non-linear analysis can be completed within 12 hours. Longitude Engineering has a range of industry standard design software and because the structures it designs are relatively simple, the company’s engineers work in 2D, producing drawings for suppliers who build the structures. As Femap is engaged to analyze comprehensively in 3D, users can model up from 2D to 3D within Femap or import complete 3D models.
Focusing on the fine detail
The use of Femap is helping to achieve engineering consistency across the group and to provide better information. “Clients do expect us to know worst case scenarios, particularly when they do not have their own in-house engineering expertise,” he says. “We have the capability to do a very powerful analysis like a non-linear calculation to estimate the structural response and size of a dent that would be created in the event of a boat impact against a fixed or floating structure.”
Speeding up development capability with FEA fuels future growth
With the ability to quickly identify areas of high stress using Femap, LOC is able to improve its overall speed of development due to the ease with which Femap models can be manipulated. In terms of business growth, the advantage for LOC is that it is now a one-stop shop offering design and assessment of structures using finite element analysis. Within three months of the Femap implementation, a major achievement was marked when LOC’s Australia office was awarded a large contract for a range of structural and naval architectural tasks. Bignold concludes: “LOC will not invest without clear value. By making Femap licenses available across the group, we have made clear gains and in the future, we expect to implement more licenses.”
LOC Group member, Longitude Engineering, uses Siemens PLM Software technology to optimize efficient global collaboration for business growth.
With Femap Longitude Engineering strengthens its ability to predict performance particularly with regard to the structural design and analysis of offshore structures.
“We use Femap because it is proven software with a reliable front end in which we have trust,” explains David Bignold, Director of Longitude Engineering.
As there is no fixed overhead for using Femap, there is every incentive to access a license for any analysis need.
Ursula Lang 06/03/2017
Carbon dioxide recycling - Research pilot plant for the manufacture of “green construction materials” from CO2
Newcastle/Australia. The Australian start-up Mineral Carbonation International (MCi) is researching into a technology for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) by means of mineral carbonation. Working with other companies as part of a joint venture, MCi is analyzing the entire processing chain. Its aim is to make use of waste CO2 as a raw material for the production of “green” construction products, with a view to reducing global CO2 emissions. The world’s first pilot plant to investigate this technology has been constructed at the University of Newcastle (UON). To guarantee the high level of automation and process reliability required for the plant, MCi relies on the Simatic PCS 7 process control system from Siemens for the Distributed Control System (DCS).
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is generally accepted as one of the most important contributory factors responsible for the greenhouse effect and global warming. The Australian start-up Mineral Carbonation International (MCi) has teamed up with the GreenMag Group, Orica – the world’s biggest supplier of commercial explosives, and leading in mineral processing chemicals such as Fertilizer and services. – and the University of Newcastle, Australia (UON) to form a joint venture which aims to prove the technical feasibility and economic viability of mineral carbonation as a sustainable industrial solution for the capture, storage and utilization of CO2. The world’s first pilot plant for mineral carbonation has been up and running since 2013 in the UON. Technology from the Simatic PCS 7 portfolio and Sinamics G120 frequency converters from Siemens are used for plant automation.
Tried and tested automation
In support of the project, the joint venture has received generous research funding from the governments as well as from Orica. This has allowed MCi to gather and license the necessary expertise to allow captured CO2 to be used as a raw material for the green production of construction materials such as cement and plasterboard. By creating value, the costs of the transformation are covered, meaning that the technology offers potential from both the economic and the ecological perspective to close the carbon loop without creating hazardous waste. In the pilot plant, CO2 captured from the production of ammonium nitrate, a component of both fertilizers and commercial explosives, can be used to manufacture solid carbonate and amorphous, i.e. non-crystalline, silica. Alongside research into the scalability of mineral carbonation processes for industrial use, the pilot project is also looking at the development of new technologies for storing CO2 which are economically viable and can be used on a large scale. For this, the pilot plant is equipped with a high-end DCS (Distributed Control System), which ensures compliance with the plant’s stringent automation and process reliability requirements: the Simatic PCS 7 from Siemens with its scalable architecture and high-performance engineering tools. These ensure that MCi is able to retain a high degree of flexibility, also with a view to upscaling the current basic technology. The DCS hardware is composed of two Simatic PCS 7 Box PCs with PCS 7 V8.1 SP1 OS Runtime and eleven Sinamics G120 frequency converters for control of the various tank agitators and the high-performance grinding mill. “The Simatic PCS 7 system enables us to keep a close eye on every step of our implementation, and also offers us scope to record all the process data required for detailed analysis of the energy requirements and the overall process output,” explains MCi Program Manager Jan-Dirk Prigge.
For a clean future
The results to date indicate that with further process optimization, mineral carbonation may certainly be expected to become an economically viable method of “CO2 recycling”, which will ultimately help to reduce industrial carbon emissions and global warming, paving the way for a cleaner energy future.
An Australian joint venture is researching into the manufacture of “green” construction materials such as cement or plasterboard made of captured CO2
In the world’s first pilot plant for the mineral carbonation of CO2, captured carbon dioxide derived from the production of ammonium nitrate is used to manufacture solid carbonate and amorphous silica.
The process control system Simatic PCS 7 from Siemens ensures that the stringent demands made on automation and process reliability are fulfilled.