ASRS System Upgrade

ASRS System Upgrade

Customer: Aluminum Customer

Project Type: Control system software and hardware replacement

Project Scope: The existing mill had an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) that utilized an overhead bridge crane (CR 618) and Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) equipment for material handling of cold and hot rolled coils.

Significant hardware components and control systems of this ASRS system were obsolete. The system was considered to be a high risk for failure and unplanned downtime. As this system is critical to production, failure and downtime of this system would cripple the facility.

The purpose of this project was to replace the obsolete components of the ASRS system utilizing current technology. The obsolete ASRS system consisted of a Level 2 DEC MicroVAX running OpenVMS as the supervisory control, a GE Series 6 PLC and 90/70 PLC with Genius I/O running the crane and interlocks, VT terminals for operator interface, as well as interfaces to the existing MicroVAX systems.

The new ASRS system consisted of an iFIX SCADA with thin clients to replace the VT terminals, an Oracle database, C# programs for running the supervisory programs, Oracle MessageQ to communicate with the legacy VAX systems, new bridge, trolley, and hoist drives, and a Rockwell Automation ControlLogix PLC for crane control.

The system was started up in two stages utilizing plant outages with no unplanned downtime. The first outage was used to upgrade the crane PLC controls with temporary coding to work with the obsolete VAX supervisory system. Prior to the second outage, the new supervisory level components were installed in parallel with shadow code and unit tested using short maintenance shifts. Once all communications were proven, the system was put online during the second outage.

Technology Solution: Matrix Technologies provided electrical controls design, PLC programming, HMI programming, supervisory C# programming, and Oracle database programming.

Project Outcome: The newly designed system improved reliability of the controls and increased the performance of the system overall.