Youngstown, OH, November 3, 2021 — Advances in technology were both the challenge and the solution for Taylor-Winfield Technologies and a steel mill customer during the height of the COVID-19 Delta variant in India.
Bokaro Steel, an integrated steel mill located in Bokaro, India had a problem. Their 1993 vintage Taylor-Winfield combination flash butt welder’s control system and programmable logic controller (PLC) were becoming technologically obsolete. Their goal of welding new high strength steel grades was in jeopardy. Bokaro Steel knew an upgrade wasn’t just an option, it was essential to extend the usable life of their machine.
“After nearly three decades of reliable service, Bokaro Steel needed infinitely tighter control of the machine and welding sequence to join their new grades of steel,” said Blake Rhein, Vice President of Sales at Taylor-Winfield. “Instead of supplying them a new coil joining machine, we provided numerous upgrades to their existing machine to help Bokaro achieve their production goals.”
The upgrades primarily focused on overhauling the entire control system of the welder, including the ability to communicate with Bokaro’s Level 2 ERP system. Taylor-Winfield added internet connectivity for live interfacing with the machine and installed IWS software, a proprietary flash welding control program that allows for real-time data acquisition and machine monitoring. Several mechanical upgrades were also completed to minimize operator involvement and restore the functionality of the machine to nearly new condition.
A Taylor-Winfield Test & Service Engineer traveled to India in early to support the upgrade installation and commissioning of the welder. Within two weeks of his arrival, India began emergency quarantining due to a rapid outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant. This forced him to leave India on short notice before the project was complete. He managed to depart on one of the last flights out of the country through help of the American Embassy.
“Utilizing the machine’s new live connectivity capability and virtual meetings to communicate real time with site personnel, our Test & Service Engineer and the Bokaro team were able to ensure the signaling interface and machine sequencing were operating properly, validate new weld schedules, and monitor the machine’s performance to ensure stable operation during cold and hot runs of the machine – all of which was done virtually. This was truly a great team effort between Bokaro’s site personnel and our people in support,” said Rhein.
The virtual commissioning was not without its own set of challenges. One of the biggest hurdles was the 11-hour time difference, which forced Taylor-Winfield’s Test & Service Engineer to become nocturnal and work throughout the night. But in the end, it was worth the sacrifice to see Bokaro Steel’s newly upgraded welder up and running.
“I could not be prouder of the work we did for Bokaro Steel,” said Donnie Wells, President of Taylor-Winfield. “The lengths our team went through to see this project to a successful completion demonstrates our commitment to our customers and dedication to meeting their needs, even in the most challenging of circumstances.”