Siemens helps Windhoff automate train car lifting

  • June 08, 2016
  • Siemens
  • Case Study

June 8, 2016 -  Hoisting a railway carriage for maintenance work means dealing with a tremendous weight. A standard carriage can weigh as much as 32 tons, while a double decker can clock up an enormous 50 tons on the scale. Because the safety of railway employees carrying out repairs and maintenance is paramount, lifting systems supplied by Windhoff Bahn- und Anlagentechnik GmbH from Rheine are in great demand. These are capable of hoisting entire trains complete with carriages weighing several hundred tons in total. To enable all the work steps to be ideally integrated during plant engineering, the company uses the TIA portal from Siemens. Train maintenance is pivotal to the safety of passengers. The company Windhoff Bahn-und Anlagentechnik has developed a solution for lifting trains which involves the use of lifting systems recessed in pits in the hall floor. These underfloor lifting systems are individually assembled using modules to customer order, and allow the complete trains to be safely raised to the required working height.The system centers around one or two lifting stands, each using four jacks, gear motors and spindles. The challenge here is to raise the train evenly without creating a potentially hazardous tilt.

The lifting equipment experts rely on Totally Integrated Automation from Siemens here, and are delighted with the results. Important factors for the engineering team include integrated engineering with the TIA Portal, seamless communication based on Profinet and integrated safety components. In just the same way as the system’s mechanical structure, the architecture of the automation system is also modular. Functioning as a central control system is a failsafe Simatic S7 1517F PN/DP in the operator panel. Using the managed Industrial Ethernet Switch Scalance X208, distributed type Simatic ET200SP I/O stations and a TP1500 Simatic Comfort Panel are connected over Profinet. Control cabinets fitted with compact Sinamics G120C-PN converters and Profinet connection are installed in the pits. Clear, simple overview is the key The professionals at Windhoff are impressed by the benefits of the TIA Portal, such as the clearly arranged design of the software and graphic networking using drag&drop. Programming using the automatic tracking of variables across all components and editors for PLC, HMI and drives is not only convenient but also minimizes data entry errors . Seen overall, the new automation and communication standard has allowed the company to optimize its processes and create more flexible and efficient solutions. Andreas Hellweg, Head of Electrical Engineering and responsible for product innovations, is delighted: “Using the Simatic S7-1200 in the TIA-Portal, it will be possible to further enhance efficiency in future for simpler applications too. This will bring us closer to our goal of performing the whole range of tasks under the umbrella of a single software tool, while minimizing the number of hardware components.”

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