Process Automation, Visualisation and Power Supply for the Cut-to-Length Line 5 at the Steel Service Center (voestalpine)


Automation and low voltage distribution

The voestalpine Stahl Service Center GmbH in Linz is the competence center for high-quality strip, sheets and cut shapes in the thin sheet sector. More than 600,000 tons of steel strip are annually processed on slitting and cut-to-length lines.

The voestalpine Stahl Service Center GmbH errected a new cut-to-length line at their premises.

With this new line, cut plates with lengths varying from 300 - 6,000 mm can be produced out of steel coils of different quality classes weighing up to 34 tons each.

Therefore, the steel coils are uncoiled and the steel strip is flattened in a levelling machine. After this process, a slitting shear cuts the strip into a maximum of four strips. Then the cut plates are produced by a cross-cut swivel shear depending on the required lengths (rectangular or specific cutting).

Afterwards, the customer-specific packets with up to 6 tons each are fully-automated assembled and weighed at highest accuracy.


The voestalpine Stahl Service Center GmbH (cut-to-length line 5)
Control board of the cut-to-length line 5
Low voltage and control room

Automation and low voltage distribution

Sprecher Automation was assigned to deliver the complete electrical equipment for the plant. The essential process know-how and the various project references acted as the main reason in favour of the automation expert from Linz. The scope of delivery covered control cabinets, control consoles, UPS units, IT systems and cable installation.

Beside power supply and control systems, Sprecher Automation also installed a fire alarm and an air conditioning system in the low voltage room.


Level 1 - control systems (PLC)

At level 1, a SIMATIC® S7-400 was applied for automatic control. The PLC is connected to all drive controllers and field devices via Profibus-DP.

The highly sophisticated safety systems which consist of rotation
scanners, light-beam curtains and access control units was realised
with a separate control unit.


Level 2 - process control

Level 2, which was realised as a SPRECON-V process visualisation system acts as the actual core of the plant. The system is based on PVSS II.

The process control level consists of a server, a cold stand-by server and of 7 clients on the whole. All clients are installed at the line and are connected to the AS/400 server of the level 3 (manufacturing automation) and to the level 1 via TCP/IP.

At level 2, where order data is transferred to from level 3, all relevant production data is generated for level 1. Furthermore, the following functions were integrated:

  • Process visualisation
  • Material tracking
  • Generation of shift, daily, weekly and monthly logs
  • Acknowledging indications to level 3 on finished products

Sprecher Automation also integrated a time recording system for operational equipment, which provides information on elapsed time per machining step as well as on occuring problems. In order to optimise the production process, all produced data is statistically evaluated and clearly displayed for the operator.

The cut-to-length line 5 of the voestalpine Stahl Service Center GmbH was fully put into operation in March 2006.

Configuration of the cut-to-length line 5