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Case Studies

IO-Link proves itself very much in retrofitting a gypsum fine mill




High availability is a key factor when considering cost efficiency of machines and plants, also in the production of gypsum. Therefore, the machinery of the Saint-Gobain Formula gypsum plant in Kutzhütte (Germany) undergoes a regular retrofitting. The company is specialized to produce and deliver worldwide high quality gypsum of different specification to various industries. Recently, a gypsum rock fine grinding mill (from 1989) was to be retrofitted to the latest technology level with special attention to availability, data consistency, easy handling, and – of course – efficiency. Consequently, the company decided to completely renew the electrical engineering of the mill and here to focus on the proven TIA concept (Siemens).    


Solution (here focused on IO-Link)
With consistency as key requirement in mind, the grinding mill retrofit project was implemented by using a communication system of PROFINET, PROFIsafe and IO-Link. Here, IO-Link particularly was used to optimize the operation of motor starters: More than a dozen of compact IO-Link enabled Sirius 3AR6 motor starters have been installed in the field. In order to make use of their special features as intelligent devices just at and from the control level, IO-Link technology was selected as communication solution. This bus technology has been developed as point-to-point connection to enable a seamless and fast communication between the control level and sensors and actuators in the field which today are capable to provide a wide range of diagnostic information. In the present case, the motor starters act as IO-Link Slaves in the field, which are connected to three IO-Link- Master installed at the control level. Therebythe IO-Link-Master receive, in addition to the cyclic operating data, diagnostic information from the field such as switch status or short circuit etc. Cabling was very easy and cost effective, because one (Sirius) IO-Link-Master can in total control up to 16 slaves.    


The retrofit project of a gypsum grinding mill demonstrates quite impressive the benefits which arise from a consistent system solution. Communication (data) consistency from the field to the control level, combination of standard and fail-safe operation and the use of most advanced communication technologies not only simplify engineering work but also make operation much more comfortable. The availability of diagnostic information from the field devices directly on the operator panel is just one but a very important advantage of the new system solution, commentsthe responsible operation manager.  



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