Emerson installs wireless technology at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel | Automation.com

Emerson installs wireless technology at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel

AUSTIN, TEXAS - October 3, 2007 - Emerson Process Management announced several successful applications of its Smart Wireless solution at the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation, headquartered in Wheeling, West Virginia. Wireless transmitters are delivering previously unattainable data on conditions in the 80-inch hot strip mill in Mingo Junction, Ohio, enabling operating personnel to improve product quality and increase productivity.

Emerson's Smart Wireless network is operating reliably in both the roughing and finishing sections of the hot strip mill. This innovative self-organizing network automatically adapts as device points are added or removed, so installing more transmitters has become common since the initial installation proved to be so effective. The transmitted signals are received through a single gateway and delivered directly to the Pi data historian for trending and alarming. The operators therefore have continuous access to the data which they are using to improve operations and maintenance.

According to Gary Borham, operations manager at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel, "We are building an infrastructure that opens up opportunities for more and more applications. Wireless transmitters are being installed farther and farther away from the gateway without a loss of signal quality. The result is better information from difficult-to-reach areas of the mill, and this is helping our personnel prevent unscheduled downtime, meet customers' quality requirements, and optimize productivity."

Borham said the initial wireless installation included four Rosemount wireless dP flow meters with Annubars and one 1420 gateway that were communicating in "less than 24 hours." The resulting data enabled the operators to get firm control of the volume of water being sprayed onto the hot steel surfaces on the run-out-table in order to achieve specified coiling temperatures. This wireless system has delivered high returns, supplying flow data to optimize and improve strip cooling and nearly eliminate coiling temperature rejects.

"We previously had no way of knowing how much water was being sprayed over the surface of any given piece of steel traveling down the run-out table," Borham said. "The volume of water applied was determined by look and feel with the adjustment of a manual valve. Now, the actual water flow is known, making it possible to always attain the optimum coiling temperature. The guesswork has been taken out of the cooling process and replaced with science."

In another finishing mill application, two Rosemount wireless pressure transmitters are monitoring the run-out-table greasing system, providing an alarm in case of a system failure threatening to starve bearings of lubricant and cause a roller lock-up that could damage steel on the table.

This wireless early warning system makes it possible for maintenance personnel to prevent unscheduled downtime by making system repairs before a bearing seizure can occur. Plans now call for wireless pressure transmitters on all roller greasing systems.

A third wireless application involves the use of two wireless pressure transmitters to monitor the pressure of cooling water supplied to work rolls in the roughing mill. If the water pressure should drop suddenly, an alarm is raised so action can be taken to prevent roll overheating. After only one of the wireless pressure transmitters was installed, operators were surprised to see two pressure devices show up on the control system. The second device was sitting on the floor of the maintenance shop two buildings away, communicating through concrete walls. Now, eight more wireless transmitters are on order for this purpose.

Installing conduit and wiring for any of these applications would have been very time-consuming, Borham said. Clearly, an easy-to-install technology was needed that could handle the steel mill environment while providing information critical to improving operations. For example, the operators learned very quickly that the actual flow rates of spray water to the run-out-table were far different than assumed. As soon as the necessary adjustments were made to the water supply, coil rejections disappeared.

Emerson's Smart Wireless Solution is an extension of its PlantWeb digital plant architecture, combining highly reliable, smart monitoring devices with wireless transmitters and a Time Synchronized Mesh Protocol (TSMP) communications technology, which has been extensively tested in real-world environments.

According to Gary Borham, "This is a fantastic solution for us, easy to install, and very easy to expand, if necessary. In fact, our process engineers are using data provided by the wireless flow meters in modeling future control schemes which will enable us make coiling temperature for heavier gauge products that may be introduced in the future. Having that information available in advance and being able to control the water spray accordingly will enable us to quickly meet specifications without rejects."

About Emerson Process Management
Emerson Process Management, an Emerson business, is a leader in helping businesses automate their production, processing and distribution in the chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp & paper, power, water and wastewater treatment, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and other industries. The company combines superior products and technology with industry-specific engineering, consulting, and project management, and maintenance services to help customers achieve the potential of their operations. Emerson brands include PlantWeb, Rosemount, Fisher, Micro Motion, Daniel, DeltaV, Ovation, and AMS Suite.

About Emerson
Emerson (NYSE:EMR), based in St. Louis, is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions to customers through its network power, process management, industrial automation, climate technologies, and appliance and tools businesses. Sales in fiscal 2006 were $20.1 billion.
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