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ABB helps Spanish steel mill forge a path towards automation

Posted on 02 Dec 2021 and read 992 times
ABB helps Spanish steel mill forge a path towards automationGlobal technology company ABB is providing a package of metals industry specific digital-ready solutions, including drives, controller and converter infrastructure, to enable Global Steel Wire (GSW), part of CELSA Group, to modernise operations at its Santander steel mill in Spain.

GSW manufactures and supplies a range of steel products, including wire rod, cables and ropes. Its high-quality steel cables are used extensively in the automotive industry as well as in mattress springs. The steelmaker had been exploring the use of digital technologies to optimise its rolling wire production and will now benefit from the expertise and metals industry knowledge of ABB.

As part of the contract, ABB will provide its medium-voltage drives for high-power applications, MEGADRIVE-LCI, together with AC 800PEC controllers which are an advanced type of converter that enables variable speed control and soft starting of large synchronous machines for many industrial applications.

The technology will deliver reliability using a fuseless drive design and robust thyristor components, which enable fast and successful start-up. The demand-based medium-voltage drives will result in optimised power consumption and higher process efficiency.

Teams from the two companies had the chance to incorporate the use of augmented reality (AR) during the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT), with representatives at the LCI factory in Switzerland collaborating with others in Spain. It encompassed audio, video, document-sharing and live annotations. This allowed progress to continue despite the Covid-19 travel limitations.

Iago López García, Global Steel Wire rolling mill electrical maintenance manager, said: “The modernisation and upgrades project at our Santander mill is well underway and ABB shares our vision for smart, efficient operations — this approach was demonstrated once again in the flexibility around the remote FAT, which we can describe as 100% successful. We look forward to the completion of this phase of activity and ongoing mill operations.”

Enric Giner, local division manager (process automation) at ABB, said: “We have a long-established relationship with GSW and CELSA Group and won this order after an in-depth study that was carried out last year.

“GSW selected ABB for this upgrade because of our deep knowledge of the metals industry, our approach to digital-ready solutions, and our excellent customer service, bolstered by our regional and global footprint. ABB is also providing technical support to GSW after the start-up, expanding on the existing contract.”

Iván Vicente, service operations manager (process automation) at ABB, said: “The pioneering project with GSW demonstrates the importance of the data travelling instead of the person, an invaluable commodity during the pandemic. However, we should also note that what differentiates our company is bringing people and technology closer together to produce great results.”

The use of proven ABB technology will allow GSW to save energy and reduce its carbon emissions through increased efficiencies. The drives voltage scalability minimizes harmonic influence on the supply system and a converter efficiency of more than 99% will ensure that the system works for many years. Additionally, the AC 800PEC controller for regulation management is one of the fastest on the market.

The LCI technology is digital-ready and allows all types of connection and remote optimization: software updates, readjustments when there are changes in the process, visualisation and analysis of the system.