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Compact Product Suite for Tubosider pipe-rolling mill in UK

Rolling mill process control upgrade boosts capacity, improves product precision, reduces scrap and provides better diagnostics

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John Merriman & Sons helped Tubosider U.K. improve its pipe-rolling by designing an automation solution with all the major system components coming from the same source: ABB

A successful manufacturer of corrugated pipe

Tubosider U.K. is a prominent manufacturer of corrugated pipe from 300 to 3600 mm in diameter in a variety of stock materials. These pipes are used in civil works for many purposes such as surface water culverts, as storm water and harvesting tanks, and as tunnels and underpasses
under roads and railways.

The machine, representing a major production asset to Tubosider, has been producing helicoil pipes since its installation in 1969. Mechanically it is still in very good condition but the electrics had, quite obviously, become old and difficult to maintain, so the need to upgrade that part had been felt for some time.
Mark Fegan, Engineering Manager at Tubosider
“The new equipment has boosted the capacity of the machine, improved the precision of rolling varying diameters and lengths, and reduced the amount of scrap metal offcuts generated.”

Main facts

Industry Metals
Customer Tubosider U.K.
Country United Kingdom
Solutions From Compact Product Suite portfolio:
  • AC 800M controllers
  • S800 Remote I/O stations
  • Compact HMI
  • Compact Control Builder Engineering stations
  • Panel 800
And also, DCS800 DC drives
System integrator
John Merriman & Sons (JMS)

A very challenging technical job for technophiles

Technical people at Tubosider were quite familiar with the firm John Merriman & Sons (JMS), a well renowned electrical engineering, panel-building and contracting company situated in Birkenhead, Merseyside, U.K., and had made use of that firm’s services before, so it became natural for our pipemaker’s engineers to discuss the matter with JMS’ people when a suitable opportunity presented itself.

It did not take long for JMS’ engineers to discover that the potential for improvements was even greater than what first met the eye, in terms of ease, precision and efficiency of operation, thanks to the capabilities of modern computerized controls and the accuracy of today’s variable speed drives. So, Tubosider commissioned JMS to do the upgrade.

"Due to the complexity of Tubosider’s rolling process, this job was very challenging technically and therefore very interesting and rewarding to us technophiles at JMS to be involved in" said Mike Boston, Manager at JMS.
True, we were as certain as anyone can reasonably be before the event that we would succeed, but that didn’t stop us from feeling weak-kneed when Tubosider and we did our first trial runs. Imagine our relief when we found out early that everything worked – almost – as it should, that only a few additional tweaks were required to make it perfect!

And imagine our satisfaction when those tweaks worked as we thought they would!
But of course, the only confirmation of success that counts is your customer’s word for it!
The potential for improvements was even greater than what first met the eye, in terms of ease, precision and efficiency of operation, thanks to the capabilities of modern computerized controls and the accuracy of today’s variable speed drives

Superior results with the new installation

The new control solution was based on Compact ​Product Suite equipment, installed and commissioned by the beginning of year 2009. It consists of one AC 800M controller, one set of S800 I/O modules, two variable speed DC drives DCS 800, one Panel 800 operator panel, Compact HMI 800 software and various switchgear.

“The controller does the set-up and supervises the run, in return for a limited set of inputs which can be taken straight from the production order: inputs that many more staff members now can make,” says Tubosider’s Engineering Manager Mark Fegan. “The new installation offers far better fault diagnostics so now, if a problem develops, the control system is usually able to tell us where it lies. In that process, the greatly improved technical system documentation adds further to the far better up-time we now get from our machine.

And finally, he says: “Our top management is happier too because they get red hot production figures straight out of the system HMI, specifying what we have been making, how much of it, and when.”
Mark Fegan, Engineering Manager at Tubosider
“The new installation offers far better fault diagnostics than the old equipment did. So now, if a problem develops, the control system is usually able to tell us where it lies. ”
Mike Boston, Manager at JMS
“I think another big advantage of the system we have put in is the fact that all the major system components come from the same source: ABB!”

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