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Boulting multi-disciplined approach wins Tata Steel contract

10th September

Tata Steel's Orb Works, South Wales

Boulting, the multi-disciplined engineering solutions provider, has recently completed two projects on the AP1 Line at Tata Steel's Orb Works, South Wales.

The first project completed the upgrade of the AP1 Process Section PLC & Drives by December 2011. The second project completed the refurbishment and installation of a turret head edge trimmer, scrap chopper and all associated equipment in AP1 Entry Section in August 2012.

Tata's AP1 Line manufactures high specification grain orientated electrical steel coils for use in transformers and motor core/stator laminations. The side trimmers remove rough edges from the steel, producing a high-precision finish, without the need for prior processing through a dedicated side trimming line.

The upgrading of the Process Section PLC & Drives has replaced "old" equipment and FIP Fieldbus communication with latest PLC & Drive hardware and Profibus architecture. This allowed future upgrades such as the Trimmer project PLC & Drive requirements to be integrated successfully.

By installing the side trimmers - coils can be pickled and annealed ready for the next operation in one complete process. Benefits include reduced production costs, increased production throughput and improved strip edge quality, which in turn yields a product which is more competitive in world-wide markets.

AP1 Process Upgrade Project Details

tata steel

Awarded in early November 2011, the implementation programme required installation and commissioning in January 2012, a very short timescale requested by Tata Steel. Boulting worked with the main suppliers, Siemens and ABB for the hardware to be provided within six weeks enabling panel build to commence on time.

A prompt design phase was required to allow manufacture of the new equipment ready for installation during a brief stoppage planned to be concurrent with other work being carried out in the plant early this year.

The microprocessor based line control system and associated drives packages were in need of replacement because of their obsolescence and lack of reliability.

In addition to upgrading the Process section the following Entry Drives with FIP interface were replaced, Drive 2 Roll 1 & Roll 2. Existing Entry AC & DC Motors and cabling re-used.

An ABB ACS800 Multidrive solution was setup for the Process section drives providing an incomer, DC Link & ISU section to feed 10QTY INU Drives. Boulting stripped out the existing Process Drive panel and installed new backplates built and tested at Boulting's Penketh site in Warrington.

TheEntry DC Drive upgrade allowed for ABB DCS800 drives. ABB Central programming facility was provided for the ABB drives enabling Tata engineers to access all drives from one central point in each control room. The Process PLC solution was based on a Siemens S7-319F CPU & I/O with ET200S Remote I/O in six locations. Profibus communication was supplied.

Red Lion communicators were provided to enable communication between the Process S7-319P PLC and the Entry & Exit GEM80 PLC's. The Line SCADA was upgraded from Fix32 to iFIX with the GE Fanuc Licenses upgraded.

Overall the new PLC and communication architecture offers a good base for future expansion of Drives & PLC I/O as provided for the subsequent Trimmer project.

AP1 Trimmer Project Details

tata steel

Awarded in March 2012, the implementation programme spanned a total of 12 weeks, as specified by Tata Steel and this was considered a tight, but achievable, timescale. Boulting provided a complete project service from design and build to installation and commissioning for all drives, PLC, SCADA and plant cabling.

Again new ABB drives and Siemens PLC hardware was engineered at Boulting's dedicated Electrical Switchgear and Intelligent MCC manufacturing facility at Warrington, and retrofitted into existing control panels by the onsite team.

The trimmer control software was fully integrated with the existing Siemens S7-319F Process Section PLC and to maximize autonomy of the production line, Boulting provided Automatic sequence for trimmer turrets width positioning. Trimmer Width measurements are established using a multi-turn Absolute Encoder interface to the Process PLC via Profibus DP. A revised iFIX SCADA provides a comprehensible operator interface.

This equipment was cold commissioned during the late spring, entering production after the summer maintenance period.

David Davies, Tata Steel's Project Engineer at Orb Works, said, "When we identified that the based line control system and associated drives packages needed replacing, an enquiry was sent out and Boulting, out of the prospective suppliers, had the most robust proposal.

"The project was successfully completed and later in the year, when it was required to fit a new side trimmer to this line, Boulting again provided another robust proposal which would easily integrate into the new line configuration."

Clive Russell, Boulting Senior Project Manager, commented, "These were great projects to be involved with. We have helped one of our key customers realise new efficiencies and cost reductions by streamlining their operations and, at the same time, had an opportunity to demonstrate our ability to successfully deliver a complete, multi-disciplined project service."

Boulting History - Projects at Tata Sites

Boulting has worked with Tata Steel over a number of years and has established a strong working relationship with the company. This includes sites throughout North and South Wales, at Tata Port Talbot, Llanwern, Orb, Shotton and Corby sites, providing Drive & PLC control solutions. These included a complete project service from design and build to installation and commissioning for Drives (AC/DC), PLC, SCADA and plant cabling.

Tata Port Talbot

  • Pickle Line - Turbulent Pickling, Welder Control
  • Rewind Line 4 - Slitter control with improved Safety access

Tata Orb Works

  • M3 Line Entry/Process Drive /Plc Upgrade
  • AP1 Line Process/Trimmer Upgrade

Tata Llanwern

  • Pickle Line Welder Control

Tata Corby

  • Cold Form 2 - Complete Line Drive & PLC upgrade (2 Years duration)

Tata Shotton

Colorcoat 2 Line - Entry Drive Upgrade, Entry Safety Gate Accessm


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