News/Event

Safe and flexible control at 300-year-old steel company

Fr. left: Robin Pussinen, Lars Jansson - Ovako Sweden AB in Hofors
Fr. left: Robin Pussinen, Lars Jansson - Ovako Sweden AB in Hofors

Ovako rests on a 300-year-old foundation of solid Nordic expertise in steel production. By the 17th century, the early traditions of iron forges had been formed in Hofors, followed by Boxholm and Hällefors in the 18th century and Smedjebacken in 1856. Over the centuries, the forges grew into large industries and eventually became some of the companies that later developed into today’s Ovako.

Ovako is now a leading European manufacturer of component steel for customers in the ball bearing, transport and manufacturing industries. Production is based on recycled scrap and includes bars, tubes and pre-components. Ovako is represented in more than 30 countries and has sales offices in Europe, North America and Asia. The entire Ovako Group employs around 3,000 people, of which about 1,000 are in Hofors.


Preferred supplier


In 1958, Åkerströms became a preferred supplier to heavy industry, including Ovako in Hofors. Åkerströms has for many years had the honour of supplying remote control of traverses, cranes and various controls for boom gates and machinery to Ovako in Hofors, and since last year also for doors.


80 industrial doors, controlled by Sesam


Just over 20 years ago, the first Sesam systems were installed at Ovako in Hofors. The systems were used to control train barriers and various machinery. When the Sesam 800 system was introduced, the older units were eventually replaced. All Ovako’s doors used another brand of remote control until last year when work began to replace all the controls with the Sesam 800. Today, about 80 industrial doors in the facility are controlled by the Sesam 800 system, consisting of the Large 99 transmitter and wall-mounted receivers.


Many usage areas


The Sesam system has since been expanded to opening and closing furnace doors and to controlling a so-called scrap carousel where cut-up scrap is placed in different bins, which are then picked up by a loader. For flexible and secure control of this large-scale installation and all users, Ovako has limited the application areas and organised its transmitters in groups, called group IDs*. The aim is to easily assign access to one or more users so they can only control selected doors and machinery in a specified area.  

One day in early May we visit Robin Pussinen, who has been working as maintenance developer for a few months at Ovako in Hofors, and Lars Jansson, head of process control since 2017. Robin has a 10-year history as an electrical engineer at Ovako and Lars started his career as head electrician at the rolling mill in 1988.


Exciting feeling of an action movie


We get a guided tour of the impressive large facility, starting in a completely new science centre intended for meetings and visits by customers, suppliers and the public. We get a modern presentation of Ovako, its manufacturing and products through film and VR technology.

We then step into reality through the steel and rolling mill, where we are greeted by heat from molten scrap that is being processed into steel of the highest quality. The muffled sound and darkness are lit up by fire and sparks and the heavy process gives us an exciting feeling of stepping into the American science fiction/action film The Terminator.

High up in the ceiling sit massive traverses and cranes that lift heavy, hot vessels and incipient steel structures, but the operator simply and easily lifts the heavy objects using our remote control from the floor via a waist transmitter or from a high-placed control booth. Impressive!

Åkerströms, a safe supplier


We then go out and Robin demonstrates how opening and closing one of the doors is handled smoothly by our Sesam 800 system. Naturally, we are curious about what made Ovako in Hofors chose Åkerströms as its door-control supplier.

“We see the Sesam 800 as a rugged, user-friendly, safe and secure remote-control system for our doors and other applications in our process,” says Robin. “Choosing Åkerströms as the supplier for door control was obvious to us, since we have had a good relationship with Åkerströms for several years regarding remote control of our traverses. As we work with maintenance, aftermarket is very important. Åkerströms provides us with security, which in turn provides security to our operators. We hope our partnership continues for many more years.”


Group-ID
*All Sesam 800 transmitters have a factory pre-programmed unique identity (ID). This is a number between 1000000 and 16777214.
In addition to the pre-programmed unique ID, the Sesam L99 has support for Group ID. A group ID consists of a six digit number that the user can configure on the transmitter. Transmitters with the same Group ID is considered identical by the controlled receivers. This means that transmitters can be organized in groups. This increases the flexibility and simplifies the maintenance on large installations. Each receiver is capable of learning/storing up to 500 Group IDs, one for each position on the memory card.