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BlueScope upgrade drives energy efficiency

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Rockwell Automation Australia has started installation and commissioning work for an induced draft (ID) fan upgrade at the BlueScope Steel Port Kembla steelworks.

Installed in December, the first of three 3000kW, 6600V PowerFlex 7000 variable speed drives (VSD) is already operational with the rest due for completion in June.

Rockwell product manager, medium voltage, Scott Southby says the upgrade means lower motor idle speeds, energy savings and better system reliability and maintainability.

“Prior to the upgrade, speed control for the basic oxygen steel making (BOS) ID fans was provided via a slip energy recovery [SER] drive system,” Southby says.

“In terms of energy usage and maintainability, the PowerFlex 7000 is a much better option.”

As the steelworks process is dependant on each fan providing induced draft for one of the three separate BOS vessels, the SER drives are being replaced, one at a time over a period of six months, during scheduled plant shutdowns.

While every drive of its type requires an isolation transformer, Rockwell says the main benefit of the PowerFlex 7000 is the transformer can be located remotely.

This has allowed Rockwell to position the new drives in the existing footprints the SER drives occupied.

“Having the transformers away from the drives also means that they’re not contributing to heating the switch room; there’s another saving, right there, in cooling costs,” Southby says.

He says Rockwell was chosen for the job because it provides a full turnkey solution and also for the low-component count and no-fuss maintenance.

“We now have two factory-trained start-up engineers for the PowerFlex 7000 drives.”

For more info: (03) 9896 0300

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