Industry 4.0-capable thanks to DICU3

Absolutely nothing works in an ABP thyristor melting plant without the „Digital Inverter Control Unit“. If that’s not working, neither is the plant. A new version of the inverter control electronics, called DICU for short at ABP Induction, is now available. DICU2 becomes DICU3.

DICU2 has a long history: Developed in the early 90s, DICU2 was a real leap forward in terms of innovation: It replaced old analog controls from the 70s and 80s from 1991 onwards. The customer‘s systems were converted gradually step by step – to the first digital control system for systems of this type. At that time, this meant a significant simplification of work, both during commissioning and actual operation by the customer, as well as during servicing and maintenance.

From 1991 to the present day is a very long time. ABP components are known to be particularly reliable and durable, but the availability of spare parts has started to become an issue: The controller contains components that are no longer available on the market today. Consequently, ABP can only guarantee the usual full service by repairing or replacing the DICU2 and its components until the end of March 2020. Beyond this period, ABP can no longer offer the supply of spare parts or repairs. Service cases are then to be considered depending on hardware availability. Settings and parameter changes are still possible by ABP engineers, but when it comes to hardware, we are at the end of the DICU2‘s life cycle.

For this reason, ABP started early with the development of the DICU3. Since 2016, engineers have been working on the all-new development, since 2017 the DICU3 has been installed in new plants, and since 2018 it has also been available for modernization. ABP highly recommends that customers plan to modernize the plant, just to ensure plant availability. In addition, the DICU3 naturally also offers significant advantages over its predecessor model, which is getting on in years. Some of the things ABP mentions are the technological leap the new processor technology is making and the potential that the new remote maintenance system offers: The DICU3 is M2M-ready, so that error analysis via Remote Service is possible. This makes the customer‘s systems Industry 4.0-capable.

The DICU3 offers high operational reliability. Thanks to fast and improved controls, customers will be encountering fewer downtimes of the melting plant. Construction-related differences in replacement transformers would be compensated electronically, critical situations in the converter would be corrected more quickly and semiconductors protected from damage. Basically, the customers have three options: they could ignore the announced discontinuation of the DICU2 – which would however lead to a complete system failure should the control unit be damaged again. Of course, they could now also procure a replacement DICU2 and set it aside in the event of damage – but they must also be aware of the fact that this is only a temporary solution.

ABP therefore recommends only the third way – budgeting the acquisition of a new DICU3. Depending on the number of thyristor melting plants, a step-by-step conversion is of course also an option: Spreading this process over several years ensures continuous operation and is easy on the budget. ABP points out that the delivery time is about 12 weeks if one system fails.

Speaking of downtimes: Downtimes are reduced to a minimum even during the conversion phase. „The conversion time is short – and of course it can be scheduled so that it does not take place during regular operation. ABP generally schedules the long weekends for such cases – with the actual rebuild on the weekend and production monitoring by ABP experts on Monday. Why is this so fast? Thanks to a conversion kit that ABP developed with a gateway solution, the DICU3 is Plug&Play-capable for modernization – independent of the PLC of the plant control system.

With the DICU3, ABP wants to ensure that customers can use their melting plant economically and reliably for as long as possible: And to ensure production stability, ABP recommends that customers consider upgrading to the new DICU3 now.

For more informatiom:
Johann Konjer, ABP Induction Systems GmbH

Service Sales Engineer Modernization
Phone: +49 231 997 2739
Cell:     +49 171 7548129

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