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Features 20-05-2021

4 min read

Sandvik Materials Technology upgrades to MicroSCADA X for full control over its power network

Sandvik’s MicroSCADA X, one of the largest SCADA systems in Sweden, monitors over 100,000 signals at the company’s plant.

Sandvik Materials Technology, the iconic Swedish brand, is one of the world’s leading producers of advanced stainless steel and special alloy industrial products. And keeping the world supplied with essential products starts at the company’s Sandviken facility, the second-largest contiguous industrial site in Sweden, covering 3 million square meters.

Like many companies of its size and complexity, from manufacturers to data centers, Sandvik has evolved to operate its own power grid. Running a power network nearly four times as large as a small Swedish city, Sandvik’s factory SCADA system is one of the largest in the country. For more than 20 years, the company has relied on Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ industry-leading MicroSCADA power automation solution to monitor and control the plant’s grid. Over this period, the system has been expanded and upgraded from originally controlling a small section of the facility to support a large part of the plant.

Pursuing greater efficiencies in the management and control of its power distribution network, Sandvik decided to upgrade its SCADA system to MicroSCADA X, the latest version of the digitally advanced power automation solution, featuring state-of-the-art cybersecurity safeguards. The system provides Sandvik with a future-proof and scalable platform that offers higher operational efficiency, low lifecycle costs and a new easy-to-use, web-enabled interface that can be accessed even on mobile devices.

“Hitachi ABB Power Grids has succeeded in enhancing the user-friendliness and the connection between the operator and system. The modern interface and graphics facilitate decision-making. The clear information provided, including on our mobile devices, gives us the ability to monitor and control the system even when we’re not at the plant,” said Lars Skoglund, electrical safety manager for Sandvik. “In addition, cybersecurity including work environment security and plant security, has been significantly enhanced in MicroSCADA X,” he added.

Used in daily operations and to monitor over 100,000 signal points, the system collects information about current, power quality, temperature, and other key parameters. The goal is to have control over electricity distribution, receive warning of any faults in a timely manner and be able to prevent production interruption. The system's engine collects the data and presents the information graphically, enabling better decision-making.

“We can get statistics, analyze what has gone wrong with interruption reports and find weak points in the network where we can focus on preventive maintenance and also get alarms for emergency maintenance,“ said Skoglund  “One of the biggest strengths of MicroSCADA X is how it handles time resolution, as it is very important that we get times when different events have occurred in order to be able to deduce any errors.”

Another advantage of MicroSCADA X is its ability to integrate and extract information from older products deployed at the plant as well as expand to cover more end points, as per the future need.

“As power systems continue to grow in complexity, companies are increasingly turning to digital solutions to help keep their power distribution grids optimized,” said Claus Vetter, head of the Automation and Communication Global Product Group at Hitachi ABB Power Grids. “The ability to leverage the best-in-class features of MicroSCADA X helps Sandvik manage this complexity and positions the company as an innovator and pioneering technology adopter in the industry,” he added.

Having worked with Hitachi ABB Power Grids and the easy-to-operate MicroSCADA platform for over two decades, a small team of six at Sandvik, now handles everything from maintenance, development and electricity billing to electrical safety and preparedness of the entire grid.

“We started with the implementation and gradually built up the new system while the previous MicroSCADA version was still in place,” said Sofia Elvelind, a project engineer and designer in electric power at Sandvik, who was responsible for the implementation of MicroSCADA X. “Our strong collaboration with Hitachi ABB Power Grids and its experts over the years has helped us move forward with this project and put the system into operation very quickly.” She added.