Automated Handling of Steel Rolls

  • July 06, 2011
  • Case Study

PROFINET, with wireless-based safety, has been used to create a fully-automated warehousing facility for the storage and handling of steels rolls in Sweden. An old manual high-shelf warehouse was converted using AVG driverless trucks and overhead cranes, with PROFIsafe wireless failsafe communications and PROFINET. The warehouse (15,000 square meters divided in three halls) stores steel rolls in readiness for painting or coating. An automated cross transporter moves rolls between storage places. Navigation is done with rotating lasers placed on top of each AGV in contact with mirrors around the warehouse. A ground system network is used for Ethernet, PROFINET, PROFIsafe and TCP/IP communication. The warehouse system talks via the wireless system to the trucks and cranes. Emergency stop signals are sent via this radio link too. In total 5 cranes are utilized, each fitted with a failsafe PLC and only a power cable connected to it. Communications with the warehouse control center and security systems is via PROFINET in the ground network. PROFINET makes it possible to mix standard communication with safety-related communications in the same system. Also, real time and TCP/IP communications can be combined in the same network. The old warehouse was emptied and rebuilt one hall at the time without stopping the rest of the plant. The new facility is not only safer but also more efficient and smaller, with 6000 storage places being cut down to 3000.  

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