Optima Deliver Control Solution For Bridon International


Bridon International Ltd. is a world-leading manufacturer supplying specialist metal rope and wire solutions for a number of heavy industries. Their products are widely used in demanding environments such as oil and gas installations, mining and structural projects. With such diverse, complex and safety critical applications, Bridon’s products must meet the highest quality standards.

Bridon’s Doncaster plant in the UK manufactures a very wide range of wire products in order to meet the full spectrum of customer requirements. They, therefore, need flexibility from their production plant.

Optima Control Solutions, an independent automation expert, designed and supplied a new control system for the Doncaster based hot dip galvanizing line. Performance, flexibility and safety were at the heart of their design considerations.

Arron Woodiwiss, Bridon Doncaster’s electrical project engineer comments: “Cost was only one of the factors in favour of choosing Optima. We have worked with them in the past and they have demonstrated the experience and the specialist expertise that we were looking for.”

Optima’s task was to supply the controls for 8 new Vertical Take Up units. Arron told us: “Production requirements for increased piece weights demanded increased performance and capacity. Bridon designed and managed the manufacture of 8 new VTU units to replace existing equipment. Operational benefits associated with larger weights would include less handling, longer run times and therefore improved Plant OEE. Obsolescence of the existing control equipment did play a smaller, though important part of the justification”.

Optima’s solution employed a total of 16 Leroy Somer AC motors (8 capstan motors and 8 turntable gear motors). In order to control the speed and torque of these motors accurately during the galvanising process, Emerson’s “Control techniques” AC drives were used. Any variation in the speed of the wire in the galvanising tanks would have resulted in non-uniformed coating of the wire. This in turn would have resulted in unsellable product being produced.

Working closely with the production personnel, Optima supplied an ergonomically designed operator control interface using Siemens S7-300 PLC and Siemens TP177 Micro HMI.

A complex emergency stop system was also designed to provide safe machine access with minimum production disruption. Optima’s final task having engineered the advanced PLC, drive and safety control system was to commission the whole project.

The control system installation and commissioning was completed in a very short time period over the Plants summer Shutdown period minimising additional production disruption, always a critical element for manufacturers.

The project realised a number of improvements for Bridon International; these included reduced product changeover times, better production performance, higher availability and increased product quality. Arron Woodiwiss explained “The upgrade extended the production line performance rates, consequently we now enjoy better competitiveness. Through improved process control we were able to expand the product range, as well. Overall, Optima delivered a control solution on time, on budget and our production performance increased as expected”.

Optima Control Solutions Boosts Production Performance for Tensar

Tensar International was founded in the1980s and ever since its name has become synonymous with high quality mechanical ground stabilisation and soil reinforcement products. The company is a world leader thanks to its innovative solutions and technology-driven vision. Tensar invented and patented the first polymer geogrids – their Biaxal geogrids are widely used around the globe. Optima Control Solutions, an independent automation expert, was approached by Tensar and charged with the task of completely upgrading one of their Biax production line control systems.

The problem:

After years in production, Tensar’s specialist Biax line located at their plant in Blackburn became progressively obsolete and inefficient. It required not only a complete mechanical upgrade but also a total control system upgrade and a complete machine rewire. Tensar needed an expert control system company flexible enough to complete the whole upgrade in a very tight time window – a total of 4 weeks. Moreover, Tensar needed work to be carried out during what is the longest holiday period for most companies – Christmas. Optima Control Solutions, headquartered just a few miles away from Tensar’s plant, accepted the challenge and teamed up with Tensar’s mechanical engineers to complete the task competently, on time and within budget.

The solution:

Optima designed the new control system in accordance with Tensar’s process requirements. Optima’s solution included some smart design features that gave greater machine reliability characteristics. PLC remote I/O units were fitted in the control cubicles, control desks and junction boxes located on the Biax machine. The majority of the existing control cables could be removed which gave improved reliability and would simplify future maintenance on the machine. A redundant Siemens WinCC Scada package was installed for controlling the machine and allowed production data to be easily collected and analysed. Optima’s team utilised Siemens Scada both on the input and output control desks. This control design allowed the machine to be controlled by either Scada if one of them failed.

Finally, because Christmas is the time for presents, Optima decided to include their InfoServe365 Data Acquisition product free of charge to the offering. InfoServe365 was connected directly to the new PLC controlling the Biax line. It automatically gathers the data necessary to deliver reports and allows in-depth analysis of production operations, plant condition and energy consumption.

The benefits:

Joe Crane, plant engineering manager at Tensar in Blackburn, had nothing but praises for the job Optima had completed. “First of all, I am very pleased that they agreed to work over the Christmas period – it would have been impossible to complete the project at different times as we had to change the mechanics in parallel with the control system.” He stated that Optima’s upgrade contributed to an improved Biax line efficiency of at least 20%. “We now have better control and accuracy in production – speed and tension loops are great. Also, Optima managed to raise the machine safety levels to a higher standard.” Regarding the InfoServe365 package employed into the upgraded Biax line, Mr. Crane said it was a great diagnostic and data management tool that made predictive maintenance part of the plant’s production strategy. “At present, we make decisions quicker and establish changes faster. We are now able to make informed decisions and optimize production based on data we have confidence in.”

Imperial Tobacco’s Re-Branded Packaging Judged a Winner

When Imperial Tobacco decided their Lambert and Butler product was to be rebranded, Alcan Packaging and API Foils had a two-part challenge.

The first part being the product’s design and security demands. These meant that highly accurate register control was essential because tolerances of +/-0.15mm in 70mm were required in the final product. The second part of the challenge was that three discrete production processes were needed to manufacture the product on three different sites by two different companies and with each process the material structure altered.

API Foils at Poynton had previously worked closely with Optima on a number of projects and, being aware of our experience and expertise, API contacted Optima to explore possible solutions. Continue reading

Control System Expertise and Sound Project Management

Process Line Ltd. are an engineering design company that provide lithographic plate manufacturers and the wider metal finishing industry with specialist services including the bespoke design, project management and construction of litho plate production lines, metal web finishing lines and specialist consultancy services in these fields.

From its UK head office, at Yeadon nr. Leeds, the Process Line team engineer projects ranging from upgrades of individual line sections through to the construction of complete plate production lines, Process Line provides these services to clients around the globe. Continue reading

Upgrade Our Printing Presses and Improve Our Manufacturing Efficiency

With money in short supply an option to improve the presses manufacturing efficiency at a fraction of the price of a new machine was immediately attractive to the management team at Polestar Purnell in Somerset.

When presented with poor print and fold quality, coupled with sleep depriving reliability for three ageing gravure printing presses, Optima Control Solutions Ltd. provided a remarkably successful answer for the Polestar Group. Continue reading

Optima Apply Siemens Technology in Photographic Finish

Optima Control Solutions Ltd. applied Siemens Automation and Drives equipment for the complete upgrading of a high speed lithoplate cut-to-length facility. The operators of such plants face a bewildering choice of options that can involve large variations in cost and reliability. The huge capacity of a single line means that a solution needs to be successful as any shortcomings have a high impact on output. Despite the short access times available, industrial controls and systems specialist Optima, completed a high quality Jagenberg Sheeter refurbishment for Kodak (Formerly Kodak Polychrome Graphics). Continue reading