Major steelmaker easily deploys additional reliable networks to improve process, safety, and environmental benefits throughout fully integrated hot strip mill
AUSTIN, TEXAS (October 15, 2009) — Severstal Wheeling, the U.S.’s fourth largest integrated steel producer, has expanded its use of Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology to improve process, fire safety, and environmental monitoring at its fully integrated, 80-inch hot strip mill in Mingo Junction, Ohio.
Emerson’s Smart Wireless solutions, initially employed by Severstal Wheeling to monitor production, prevented roll failures valued at $300,000 and improved mill efficiency. This gave the company the confidence to deploy three additional cost-effective Emerson wireless networks to further fine-tune process control and to monitor its fire safety system and oil storage tanks.
“The success we saw in the first installations gave us the confidence to go forward,” said Gary Borham, Severstal Wheeling engineering manager. “Now that we’ve used this technology, it’s like anything is at our finger tips if we want it.”
One of the additional applications uses Rosemount® wireless temperature transmitters to check bearing lubricant on backup rolls in the plant’s finishing mill, reducing maintenance costs and downtime.
“Since we installed the wireless network, we’ve not needed to replace backup rolls because of overheating bearings and damaged rolls,” said Borham. “It takes four hours to change a roll and costs could reach $200,000. We can now see when bearing temperatures rise and can shut down to perform maintenance, which only takes an hour.”
A second application uses Rosemount® wireless pressure transmitters to monitor the water pressure of the fire safety system protecting the plant’s oil cellar. The network has detected two water leaks, enabling quick repairs that returned water pressure to a safe level. Severstal Wheeling was also able to discontinue clipboard rounds once made to check the system, which extends 1,500 feet through a series of tunnels.
The company had to upgrade its fire safety system to comply with insurance requirements but estimated it would cost $60,000 to $100,000 to install a hard-wired monitoring network.
“The hard-wired installation cost estimate was outrageous and with the economy the way it is there was no way we could do it,” Borham said. “The cost of installing the wireless network was 60 percent less than a hard-wired solution.”
In the third Smart Wireless application, the company installed Rosemount® wireless transmitters on 11 oil storage tanks located inside and outside its facility. The devices are connected to and convert the 4-20 milliamp signals from existing hard-wired pressure transmitters that measure tank levels. Environmental managers are alerted if oil levels are high or if a spill occurs
“If there is a spill, we know exactly which tank and what time it occurred,” Borham said. “We can immediately work to contain it. We can also use the level data to monitor when to order more oil.”
Two Smart Wireless gateways receive data sent continuously from these robust, self-organizing networks and relay it to the plant’s Pi historian. Some transmitters are located as far as 600 feet away from a gateway.
The devices have transmitted data reliably despite harsh conditions, particularly in the processing areas, and even though the transmitters are installed in areas where they are separated by walls and equipment.
“We’ve lost no data and had no problems with any of our wireless networks,” Borham said. “It’s so simple to expand networks to get new points and any kind of process data we want.”
Installation and commissioning were easy and fast for all applications. Some took only hours to get up and running. Severstal Wheeling’s technicians and automation engineers performed the work with assistance from Emerson.
In addition to the Smart Wireless solutions already installed at Severstal Wheeling, Emerson offers a wide range of wireless field instrumentation and plant operations equipment, including Fisher® position monitors, Rosemount analytical and Machinery Health™ Management devices, and native wireless interfaces to AMS® Suite predictive maintenance software, DeltaV™ and Ovation® digital automation systems, and SmartStart™ Services.