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How preventing faults in automated processes is helping major operators

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World Cement,

Where most operators in the minerals and aggregates industry use standard automation products for components like variable speed drives and soft-starts, there is a motor management control unit available that automatically detects errors before they become faults.

Simocode is a flexible and modular motor control system for low-voltage motors. An increasingly essential tool in preventative maintenance at plants, it functions independently of the controller and provides scaleable, flexible solutions for all system configurations. One of Simocode Pro’s functions is to detect stop and start operations; it can therefore identify when a motor may be on when it should not be, and by monitoring current, voltage and power usage, it can in turn help reduce energy use.

Simocode is a great example of Siemens technology in practice, bringing a truly integrated solution with seamless communication to the control and automation process. It also reflects the increasing digitisation of condition monitoring and how safety, energy efficiency and environmental considerations are being brought to the front of operations for leading companies like Aggregate Industries.

As Dave Brown, Regional Electrical Engineer for Aggregate Industries, explained: “We decided to use Simocode on a screening plant at one of our sites, and found we could install and programme it very quickly. We spent much less time coding, and our lead engineer was delighted with the results. The way the information is presented has been greatly enhanced, improving the reliability of communications and making remote diagnostics management much easier."

Reducing engineering time and getting more useful, useable data out of the system are key elements to selecting Simocode Pro, which helps improve the productivity, efficiency and reliability of industrial production. Richard Marsh is Aggregate Industries‘ Lead Control System Engineer and he recently carried out a second installation using Simocode: “I have found Simocode‘s advanced diagnostics capability very useful and also its ease of programming for future applications."

Lee Richardson is Siemens‘ business development manager for low voltage and safety products: “Plant downtime is costly and almost entirely avoidable if you have the right information. By being able to analyse the whole plant and external devices, including activation of emergency stop circuits as well as motors, Simocode can evaluate the whole operating system. Maintenance scheduling reports can be generated which in turn reduce unnecessary labour hours, preventative maintenance alarms can be activated before equipment fails, and full diagnostics of the plant including energy usage can be monitored at all times."

As the Simocode device is a standalone system it controls the plant without the need for additional PLC I/O and therefore reduces costs and panel wiring. It can also be retrofitted into an existing system. Simocode is maintenance friendly, and has an external memory module that is interchangeable should the unit fail. Safety I/O can also be added to achieve the highest category SIL3/Ple and can be configured in an easy-to-use software package allowing the user to zone different area processors without the need for additional wiring and complication.

Simocode has been successfully used in the water/waste and oil/gas industries for years and has been continuously refined by Siemens so that it helps provide a fully integrated solution, such as at Aggregate Industries’ Torr Works, where it is monitoring currents and power consumption to help reduce energy use. It is a unique and innovative product for many industry requirements.

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

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