The MPG Mendener Präzisionsrohr foundry has been producing and processing metals for over 100 years and is one of the market leaders in copper alloy heat exchanger tubes in Europe. 150 employees produce up to 250 km of tubes every month, which are then used, for example, in power station and systems manufacturing, in refineries or in shipbuilding.
At MPG, the metals to be melted are transported to the furnaces by charging trolleys. Wireless solutions from Phoenix Contact ensure error-free communication in this harsh environment.
The heat exchanger tubes not only have to meet stringent requirements but also work without fail for up to 40 years. The semi-finished products in the foundry are therefore optimized for the respective application beyond the standard quality. A forklift truck takes them to the rail-guided, electric charging trolleys from Cyrus Schwingtechnik, which then transport them to the furnaces.
Bregar Systemtechnik is responsible for the control technology in the charging trolleys. The company specializes in motion sequence automation solutions as well as complete systems with cabling and control cabinets. Previously the signals such as trolley location, fault messages, start/stop or emergency stop were transmitted between the central controller and the machine controller via cable drums. However, the wired concept proved to be expensive, prone to faults, and high-maintenance.
Thomas Vos, responsible for control technology at Bregar, reports, “When searching for an alternative communication solution I discovered wireless technology from Phoenix Contact.” In place of cables, Bregar now uses wireless multiplexers, based on Bluetooth technology.
“With Wireless-MUX the signals are sent wirelessly from the charging trolleys to the central machine controller”, explains Vos. “This means that data can be forwarded easily and economically, even in this harsh environment.”
The Wireless-MUX forwards 16 digital and two analog signals bidirectionally, thereby replacing a 40-wire signal cable. Bluetooth according to IEEE 802.15 is used as the wireless technology, which works in the cost- and license-free 2.4 GHz frequency band. Thanks to the integrated, fast adaptive frequency hopping method, the communication is robust and reliable.
Based on its positive experience with wireless systems from Phoenix Contact, Bregar is now using these in several applications for various different communication requirements. The wireless path set up at MPG has been working without interruption for over six years.
“By using wireless solutions from Phoenix Contact we have solved countless challenges and saved a lot of money”, says Thomas Vos, seconded by the responsible employees from Cyrus and MPG. Wireless is clearly a popular alternative that is likely to be used again and again in future projects.