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It just works - Siemens automation in a concrete plant makes easy work of integrating third-party systems


Canada – WEBWIRE
Siemens automation and weighing technology is used in a Canadian concrete plant and allows smooth integration of third-party systems.
Siemens automation and weighing technology is used in a Canadian concrete plant and allows smooth integration of third-party systems.

The Canadian group of companies J. McCoy Equipment and Oshawa Bearing have together designed and built a concrete plant for one of the largest manufacturers of concrete products in North America. J. McCoy builds concrete batching and ready-mixed concrete plants and Oshawa Bearing is a system integrator. Both companies rely on solutions for Siemens for the automation, particularly the weighing technology. The Siemens technology can be easily integrated into the existing infrastructure. A microwave sensor analyzes the moisture content of the materials and sends this information to the weighing electronics. This adjusts the weighing process, taking the relative water content into consideration, so that the exact formulation is maintained at the end of the process. Simple project engineering, high measuring accuracy, and reduced processing times due to the lack of mechanical calibration processes complete the automation solution. In addition to this, the system displays the entire weighing process digitally which provides a high degree of transparency and traceability, simplifies quality assurance, and significantly increases plant efficiency. The customer also benefits from easy integration of modules from a range of suppliers within a single software tool.

When storing the individual raw materials used to make concrete, the materials can sometime absorb water from the atmosphere or, alternatively, dry out. This consideration has a significant influence on the weight. This means that, when weighing out the raw materials, the water content of the materials must be known and this information must be passed on to the weighing electronics which can then adjust the process accordingly. Microwave sensors are used to measure the moisture in a new concrete manufacturing plant in Canada together with Siemens Siwarex WP231 weighing modules. In addition to the weighing module, a Simatic S7-1200 PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) controls the amount of water added to the material when mixing the raw materials depending on the water content as well as the entire automation process.

Everything works its that simple

Apart from the Siwarex and Simatic components, the Siemens solution also includes the TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal engineering framework for easy project engineering in the plant. The benefit of the Siemens solution includes the fact that components from third-party suppliers, such as the complete instrumentation in this instance, can be integrated into a system without any problems. In addition to this, the system displays the entire weighing process digitally which provides a high degree of transparency and traceability, making quality assurance easier and significantly increasing plant efficiency. Any information required from anywhere in the entire weighing process is available to employees in the control room or on local HMIs (Human Machine Interfaces) via Siwarex, as are diagnostic or error messages which can be quickly identified and dealt with. Manual calibrations are also a thing of the past, making handling easier and increasing accuracy. Last but not least, Siwarex can accommodate both analog and digital inputs and outputs for a range of different tasks.


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