Despite the efficiency and ease-of-use of modern HMI, sometimes there will be situations where they are not going to be fit for purpose, such as within extremely dusty and hot manufacturing and processing environments. This was the problem encountered when a decision was made to install a control system for a Walking Beam Furnace by a local manufacturer.
Building the Solution
The system required easy mobility of the equipment allowing the operator to raise and lower the beam furnace, move it forward and backward, and open and close the door to the furnace. As the staff had to wear heavy protective clothing due to the excessive temperatures, including thick gloves, this made the use of HMI touch screens impossible. The Siemens SIRIUS ACT product range appeared to be the perfect solution.
The renowned SIRIUS ACT commanding and signalling devices in combination with PROFINET not only reduces installation costs, but also allows direct connection of the commanding and signalling devices to the machine control via PROFINET , providing a high level of flexibility and expandability.
Martin Brown, Product Manager for Siemens in Manchester, said: ‘Our SIRIUS ACT with PROFINET was the ideal solution in this circumstance. It is a robust and durable product that has the highest IP rating, and is ideal for a heavy manufacturing environment. It is also extremely easy to control, even when the operator is wearing gloves.‘
The application required that the pushbutton station be located a set distance from the programmable logic controller (PLC), and also avoid the need for civil works, such as placing cables underground. The pushbutton station in the existing application featured 14 buttons including a failsafe E-Stop. A couple of the devices had additional inputs and outputs and two of the digital inputs for limit switches on doors that, without the IO, would need to be wired back to the panel. A potentiometer was also used as a speed control for some of the pumps in the system.
A Range of Benefits
The benefits of SIRIUS ACT with PROFINET were obvious, there is just one cable, dramatically reducing the amount of cabling required compared to other solutions. That single cable runs from the PLC to the PROFINET gateway then the pushbuttons are wired from the gateway, simple, cost effective, and time saving.
This solution provided potential for up to 21 signalling devices as well as the pushbuttons and E-Stops that could be connected to Siemens’ Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) Portal. The TIA Portal provides instant feed-back on cable faults with accurate diagnosis. The system also includes a multifunctional and modular Siemens ET200 failsafe central CPU, so, in the event of a connection loss, the failsafe will automatically trigger.
Easy to Assemble
Significant savings on cost and set-up were reported thanks to the simplicity of the system and its installation. The assembly time of the controller took just 2.5 hours, including cutting holes for the pushbuttons and wiring using flat ribbon cable between devices, allowing their engineer to focus on other aspects of the installation.
The simplicity of the SIRIUS ACT with PROFINET system was clearly demonstrated by this project, for the same amount of pushbuttons, but using a different set up, the installation would have required a minimum of: a 35-core multi core cable, a screened cable for the potentiometer, terminals, cables, ferrules, wire numbers, additional digital 16-way IO, and an analogue card. The use of SIRIUES ACT products helped provide an overall installation cost saving of around 50% and with the added advantages of simpler servicing, maintenance and repair schedules, you can’t go wrong.
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