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MediaService Digital Industries Newsroom

111 hot days – Blast furnace refurbishment completed in no time using Siemens simulation software 

Using Siemens simulation software and virtual commissioning, it was possible for the Linz steel works to refurbish the largest blast furnace in Austria despite a tight time window.

Using Siemens simulation software and virtual commissioning, it was possible for the Linz steel works to refurbish the largest blast furnace in Austria despite a tight time window.

The Linz steel works produces approximately five million tonnes of pig iron in its Steel Division a year – the large blast furnace A alone supplies approximately three million tonnes. To increase energy and resource efficiency, the furnace was relined in 2018. All the peripheral systems, the measurement and automation technology, as well as the control system were renewed in addition to the refractory material – all within 111 days. The Küttner Group, an industrial plant construction specialist headquartered in Essen, and Elin GmbH & Co KG from Linz, which was responsible for the measurement technology and assembly, were commissioned with the implementation. It quickly became clear to the professionals that a successful project would depend to a large extent on a precise simulation of the entire system. They therefore opted for Siemens Simit simulation software. 
Both the Simit simulation software and the latest V9 version of the proven Simatic PCS 7 process control system is used in the steel works.

Both the Simit simulation software and the latest V9 version of the proven Simatic PCS 7 process control system is used in the steel works.

Complex plant architecture precisely simulated

As far as the control technology was concerned, the previous Simatic PCS 7 V 6 was replaced with the latest V9 version of the system which can easily cope with the complex task of controlling the actual blast furnace and all the 19 automation systems and many processes connected to the system. “The automation ranges from machine control and safety functions, to process power plants,” explains Olaf Schneider, Co-Director at Küttner GmbH & Co. “Our engineers produced all the control programs and then simulated everything – every signal, every device, together with approximately 250,000 inputs and outputs,” continues Friedhelm Bösche, Vice President at Küttner Automation GmbH. The powerful Simit simulation platform served as the central software. The engineers first used Simit to produce the plant simulation to test the automation software including the emulated hardware. 
“Simit formed the basis of the virtual commissioning which allowed our automation software to achieve a quality class which was close to the zero error rate. At the same time, it was even possible to test the interaction of the future control system with the higher-level Manufacturing Execution System – the expert system that maps business processes. Simit also provided the training platform for the operators: Even before the relining began, the simulation enabled them to familiarize themselves thoroughly with the new version of Simatic PCS 7,” says Bösche. 

Making long-term use of the benefits of digitalization

The Simit simulation platform mapped not only the signal and device level, but also the simulation of the thermodynamic processes and the physical model of the plant using Simit Basis and the Flownet library. The comprehensive simulation paid off as “the ramp-up phase could be reduced to a minimum,” Bösche was pleased to say. In view of this great success, the steel works will continue to rely on the benefits of digitalization in the future. The simulation model provides a wide range of training options for employees and all the rebuild plans, extensions, or process optimizations on the largest blast furnace can initially be simulated virtually, making actual operation safer and more efficient.
MediaService application reports may be based on previously published Siemens technical articles.

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