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Heavy Industry

Heavy Industry: Steel Mill Coke Pusher

Data-Linc Provides Robust Wireless Communication between Central Control and Steel Mill Coke Pushers

Steel Industry Coke Pusher
Coke pushers present data communication challenges— mobile equipment in dust, vibration, corrosive air and high temperature environments.
A large steel mill in southwestern China required revamping its communication system for both of its coke pushers. Because the pushers move during the production process, real time control and monitoring required for production and dispatching proved challenging.

In the existing system, Pusher No. 1 was connected to a Mitsubishi A3ACPU PLC with GPP Control Software. The PLC communicated with an industrial PC running configuration software that allowed active control and storage of archival information. Pusher No. 2, controlled through a relay, could not be monitored with a dynamic display.

The steel mill wanted an updated system that could collect the data and signal from the coke pushers and communicate that information to the central control room. This data collection from both pushers needed to occur simultaneously and the curves of the change displayed. And the data equipment needed to operate in a high temperature environment in the presence of dust, vibration and corrosive air. Additionally, the new system had to be economical to install and operate, support the original investment in the legacy system and allow for future expansion.

Steel Industry Installation with only omni directional antennas
The Data-Linc wireless Ethernet modems needed only omni directional antennas.
Data-Linc modems were selected to provide the connecting link between the coke pushers and Central Control because they interface seamlessly with both the installed Mitsubishi PLC and the proposed GE Fanuc PLC and could withstand the challenging environment. They are also cost-effective (no licensing fees nor lines or cables to wear out/replace), are factory preconfigured for easy installation and offer extreme flexibility for future system expansion – one Master can accommodate virtually any number of Remotes without interfering with each other. In addition, the modems could operate in extreme temperatures of –40° to 75°C (–40° to 167°F) and required only omni directional antennas, the coaxial cable needed to connect the antennas to the modems and a power connection.

On Coke Pusher No 1, the steel mill used the existing Mitsubishi PLC connected via the Ethernet port to Data-Linc’s 2.4 GHz wireless Ethernet modem configured as a Remote. This PLC collected the data and signal using the OPC function and transferred the information to the Central Control PC via the Ethernet port of the Master wireless Ethernet modem. They equipped Coke Pusher No. 2 with a GE Fanuc Versa Max PLC that also communicated with the Central Control PC via its Ethernet port connected to a second Data-Linc wireless Ethernet Remote.

Using GE Fanuc’s IC646TDV300 Cimplicity Server Software on the Master Control PC, engineers programmed the PC to provide data collection, protocol conversion and program transferring. The PC could then provide data monitoring, screen display, alarm functions, real-time trend display and data archiving.

The objective —to design a cost-effective system that utilized the original investment in existing equipment, provided simultaneous real-time control, a dynamic display, storage of archival information and the capacity for future system expansion— had been achieved.

Diagram of Wireless Communication between Central Control and Steel Mill Coke Pushers

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