Drives and Controls Magazine

Local experts keep an eye on a steel plant

01 June, 2001

Local experts keep an eye on a steel plant

Since last December, electronic experts have been keeping an eye on a hot-galvanising plant at the ThyssenKrupp steel works in Duisburg, Germany. They take the form of modules that have been programmed to perform tasks ranging from simply collecting diagnostic data, to raising an alarm if they sense that a fault is likely to occur.

The modules, called "reflexive diagnostic units" (RDUs), have been developed by Siemens as an alternative to remote monitoring systems that require stable telecomms links to a plant for lengthy periods. The RDUs are programmed in the Java language to operate independently and to decide when they need to send messages by email or the SMS phone messaging system.

If necessary, the RDUs can be re-programmed to take on different tasks. The modules installed at the ThyssenKrupp plant are monitoring aspects of the local control system such as hard disk capacity, run-time behaviour and how the processes are using memory.