Exit Line Automation and Controls Upgrade

An American industrial company specializing in aluminum products contacted E Tech Group to upgrade their exit line automation and controls. The line had previously been running on vintage reliance analog drives from the ’60s.

The Project: Bring Facility Automation Capabilities into the 21st Century

The project was divided into two phases: hardware design (including design work for a new Portable Control Room) and a phase to build, install and, commission.

Documentation and drawings presented a challenge in this project. With a 50-year-old system and an inconsistent approach to drawing updates and documentation, E Tech Group used biweekly conference meetings to keep the team informed on status and request additional drawings and information from operators and maintenance personnel as needed.

The Solution: Replace Analog Drives with Siemens System Integrators

E Tech designed and commissioned a new PCR, Siemens drives, encoders, process automation controllers, and IO panels. PanelView terminals were installed for operator interface and display. The elongation control system was replaced with modernized controls.

To enable seamless integration of the new technology with the line’s older equipment, E Tech Group’s automation engineers interfaced the new controls with existing legacy analog drives and hardwired relays to confirm that the new system operated in lockstep with the legacy control system prior to commissioning.

E Tech Group’s engineers wrote the drive interface to be transparent to operators and maintenance personnel with a focus on long-term maintainability and improved troubleshooting capabilities.

The Results: Exceeding Client Expectations, but Not Budget or Timeline

Startup and commissioning were completed ahead of schedule. As such, the project came in under the installation and commissioning budget originally quoted. Because of the transparency to the operators, the integration was seamless.

Moving forward, this new integrated control system will save the client money via increased production capacity, as well as reduced malfunctions and subsequent downtime. Even better, E Tech Group engineers designed this control system in a way that will lessen the client’s need to contract outside IT troubleshooting and system maintenance.

Enabling our clients to perform at their best both now and in the future as they grow is at the forefront of our mind in every control system build, upgrade or retrofit. E Tech Group provides disruptive automation strategies with the best automation products in the industry to create robust, integrated control systems that help you reach your goals.