Thanks to a modern control system, the same performance and availability can be achieved with a 20-year-old production plant as with a new plant. At Shiloh in Olofström, Sweden, they were aware of this – the company contracted AP&T in 2019 to replace the control system of one of its existing press lines.
Headquartered in the USA, the globally active company Shiloh Industries focuses on the development and production of lightweight solutions for the automotive industry. In Olofström, in southwestern Sweden, Shiloh manufactures steel parts and components for cars and trucks, ranging from small consoles to high-performance bumpers.
For forming the largest components, the company uses a transfer line installed by AP&T in the late 1990s. This includes a powerful hydraulic press with a pressing force of 10,000 kilonewtons and two SpeedFeeders for blank feeding and output. After 20 years of operation, it was time in 2019 to make the plant fit for the future with a new control system.
“To ensure continued high availability, operator safety and performance, we decided to replace the control system and sent out a request for quotation,” says Joakim Lennartsson, Shiloh’s plant manager in Olofström.
A complete solution
In a tough competition with several other suppliers, AP&T was finally awarded the project. “AP&T presented the best solution. Another reason for our decision was the certainty that we could entrust the upgrade to the same supplier that designed, manufactured and integrated the equipment,” says Lennartsson.
The new control system is identical to the one installed by AP&T in its newly manufactured machines. It was introduced in 2019, when AP&T started using Siemens’ new software platform (TIA Portal). All operator functions are controlled from the same control panel using a user-friendly Logos interface.
Time critical order
The plan was to complete the entire installation in a very short window of time between Christmas 2019 and New Year’s Day, during which production was at a standstill. “We maximize the use of our machines, and to minimize downtime, it was important that we stuck to the plan,” Lennartsson explains. This required careful planning and efficient field operations.
“It is always a challenge to rebuild and upgrade an existing plant in a short time. But we kept to the schedule. When we resumed production after the turn of the year, we had already replaced all the electrical and electronic components and installed the new control system with new light barriers, a new control panel and other auxiliary equipment. Basically, all we had to do was flip the switch to restart production,” says Anders Rundén, the project manager responsible for the project at AP&T.
The agreement included service and maintenance for 24 months, and after two years of trouble-free operation, Shiloh is very satisfied. “Everything is exactly in line with our expectations, we couldn’t be more satisfied,” concludes Lennartsson.