Multi-National Steel Manufacturer Vessel Upgrade


Multi-National Steel Manufacturer


Inspec Solutions were engaged by UK Steel, a multi-national steel manufacturer, to update the control system of three steel making converters.  The converter provides the facility to reduce the impurities within the steel by injecting oxygen into the process.

The converters were controlled by a number of control systems from various manufacturers, with the earliest and most embedded being installed in the early 1980’s. For the converters to operate correctly, they relied upon each of the different control systems to communicate with each another via differening media, which required specialist knowledge of each manufacturer’s equipment to be able to maintain.  Inspec Solutions reverse engineered the applications on each manufacturer’s controllers and ported all the application code onto a single solution.

The SCADA platform being used by the operators was installed on old, obsolete hardware and operating systems which were no longer supported highlighting an operational risk to the production process.

Inspec Solutions worked with the client to develop an architecture that would cover their current and future requirements for each converter and this was implemented.

The solution comprised of

  • A dual redundant Rockwell PLC solution with 20 remote racks and over 1000 plant instrumented points
  • A separate Safety controller to bring the SIL requirements up to the current standard, operating on a segregated network to safeguard availability
  • A Process shutdown system designed to SIL2 requirements
  • Dual redundant Rockwell FactoryTalk FTView SCADA servers operating a distributed network application with modern greyscale 3D graphical displays, with numerous client PCs in various locations around the site.

Working collaboratively with the Customers engineering team, we also assisted in the design of the network infrastructure between each of the three converters control systems, to deliver the following requirements

  • A common network with segregation of each converter control equipment and separate segregation for the safety equipment.
  • Domain controllers with FactoryTalk Directory services and Rockwell Asset centre
  • Virtualised servers enabling cross replication

The successful delivery of the project enabled the Customer to reduce downtime due to the system being easier to maintain resulting in increased production. Other benefits include:

  • A modern SCADA system providing increased operator visibility to the production process
  • Increased safety requirements aligned with current standards
  • Separate shutdown system to stop production when unforeseen actions occur eliminating potential costly fault scenarios
  • Consolidation of equipment thereby reducing spares holding and associated costs
  • Updated equipment, eliminating obsolescence, enabling support from the manufacturer, and extending the life of the system