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process control system for an electrical steel strip finishing


In Bochum the ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel GmbH operates an automatically electrical steel strip finishing, further referenced to as EBZ. Electrical steel is used in the production of energy efficient generators, transformers and electric drives. Furthermore it is also used in the production of chokes, ignition coils and electric meters.


Since 1996 the plant is managed by a reliable process control system. However, aged software structures as well as lack of specialists makes maintaining and upgrading the system tough. Because of this the plant was renewed by celano GmbH with the use of the celCAP-Architecture.

The material for the EBZ is delivered as coils and gets cut into electro band rings of different size, depending on costumer orders. The resulting cutting arm are fed into the EBZ. There the material passes through different automation areas. At first the rings are planned into costumer specific packets, released from the cutting arm and commissioned into new transport units. Each transport unit contains material of a specific material class for one customer. They can either be stored or transported to the palletising.

Material can be transported from the high-bay warehouse towards inspection lines for repair. Furthermore retrievals to narrow strip exit and palletising are possible. Finally the packets get wrapped and recieve a costumer specific label. The material gets weighed at all exits. When they leave the EBZ the rings are wrapped in costumer-specific packages.




The user interface was created with java and provides observation of the system. To react towards further costumer requests the user interface is flexible and easy to expand. A clear presentation and easy usability ease the manual intervention into different areas of the plant.

The backend was realized with C++ and consists of several processes which run on a virtualized Linux-Server. A PLC-simulation was also developed for internal developement and testing.

The commissioning of the new system was only possible during weekends since adjustment towards production planing was important. That is why a quick and uncomplicated changeover between the applications had to be possible.


For each automation area an own process was realized which takes over the specific tasks, for example control of every device in the responsible area as well as material tracking and the processing of instructions from the user interface. In addition to that general processes exists that take over tasks like feeding material in the plant or plan the packages.

Processes of the automation areas communicate with their responsible PLC. States of devices and plants as well as disturbance are reported by the PLC. In return the PLC receives orders for the devices, e.g. moving orders. Inter-process communication is used to enable communication between different processes and is needed for transports beyond one automation area.

An additional interface was implemented towards the superordinate shopfloor-system. The control system receive all the order- and material data. Conversely, important changes like transfers to a different customer order or packet completion are reported to shopfloor.

Die ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel GmbH betreibt in Bochum eine vollautomatische Elektrobandzurichtung (EBZ). Elektroband wird u.a. zur Produktion von energieeffizienten Generatoren, Transformatoren und elektrischen Antrieben verwendet. Weiterhin dient es der Herstellung von Drosselspulen, Zündspulen und Stromzählern.