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ABB’s process automation and control technologies drive productivity jump at SIJ Acroni

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Modernization project helps future-proof production for Slovenia-based steelmaker’s sendzimir mill

Customer:  SIJ Acroni, Slovenia
Customer requirements:  Remove operational bottleneck by replacing obsolete drives & 3rd party control system with latest technologies
Scope:  ABB DCS880 drives for mill stand, coilers & pay-off reel, ABB AbilityTM System 800xA control system including AC800PEC controller with XF801 fast I/O, main control & operator stations, laser speed measurement, motor encoders, interface to existing flatness system, Collaborative Production Management for metals (L- 2)
Application:  Sendzimir mill
Customer benefits:
  • Productivity improved by at least 15%
  • Reduced strip breaks
  • Less thickness deviation
  • Increased mill availability
Commissioning:  2020

Slovenian steel company SIJ Acroni, part of the SIJ Group, faced a major bottleneck in their production chain at one of its critical cold rolling mills due to obsolete DC drives and control systems, resulting in unsatisfactory productivity levels and unavailability of the mill.

The steelmaker, a leading manufacturer of stainless-steel quarto plates, wear-resistant, high tensile, tool and other special steel quarto plates, as well as non-oriented electrical steel and special grade hot and cold rolled coils for European and global markets, sought ABB’s expertise to upgrade its mill, which is located in Jesenice, Slovenia, with state-of-the-art digital technologies.

ABB’s Metals team replaced the customer‘s existing third-party systems with its fully integrated, all-in-one automation platform, with the same type of drives, controllers and I/O boards, including programming tools and SW, both for high technology functions and for mill, auxiliaries and drives control.

“ABB’s 800xA control system and proven DCS880 system drives enables SIJ Acroni to develop new, high-quality steel products with greater efficiency for years to come,” said Andreas Vollmer, Head of R&D, ABB Metals, Europe.

Boosting efficiency and quality

 ABB replaced the customer’s aging DC drives with its DCS880 drives for the mill stand, coilers and pay-off reel, including motor encoders. The ABB AbilityTM System 800xA automation system (AC800PEC with XF801 fast I/O), S800 I/O, main control desk and operator desks were also introduced at the Slovenian mill.

The heart of the ABB solution is the technological package for mill control. This package includes high dynamic control loops for roll gap and roll bending with strip thickness control supported by a contactless speed measurement system. The strip thickness, rolling speed and tension is controlled by a modern multivariable control concept. Additionally, ABB‘s Metals team also interfaced the customer’s existing flatness system as part of the project, which was completed in 2020.

“Mill productivity has risen by at least 15 percent with respect to production before commissioning. We also experience less strip breaks than before and mill availability has increased.” said Roman Robic, Director, Strategic Development at SIJ Acroni. Thickness tolerances reached on rolled coils after modernization fulfilled SIJ Acroni's, and even more importantly, buyers’ expectations.

Using ABB’s advanced rolling mill control technology, the mill has been able to increase the quality of their steel products in terms of thickness tolerances. “With superior thickness deviation, our customer will be able to attract new markets for its steel products,” added Tomislav Grivec, who managed this modernization project for ABB.

"Mill productivity has risen by at least 15 percent with respect to production before commissioning. We also experience less strip breaks than before and mill availability has increased.” said Roman Robic, Director, Strategic Development at SIJ Acroni.

ABB technologies foster modernization

The project was completed in under two weeks thanks to the collaborative efforts of the SIJ Acroni team and ABB’s skilled engineers.

“This project is just one in a string of upgrades and revamps that ABB has been involved in during the past few years. With the right mix of automation technologies, deep domain expertise and experienced engineers, ABB is an enabler of modernization for metals companies in the region and worldwide,” said Erich Eberle, Head of Sales, ABB Metals Europe.

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