Siemens Strengthens Russia Presence, Sets Strategy for Changing Global Investment Climate
Siemens AG, the large German equipment and services supplier, has been doing business in Russia for almost 160 years. And, having survived wars, revolutions, and other social and economic upheavals, it appears that Siemens’ business presence there is on solid footing to carry on for many more years.
Dr. Dietrich Möller, president of Siemens Russian/Central Asia and vice president of Siemens AG, speaking to a gathering of business journalists in Moscow in mid-May, noted that Siemens established itself in Russia by supplying 75 telegraphs for a Moscow-St. Petersburg communications link in 1851, and opened its first office in St. Petersburg two years later. Over the following century-and-a-half, Siemens established electrical equipment plants, played major roles in construction of numerous large hydropower plants, and more recently, introduced automated systems for some of the country’s largest steel rolling mills. Möller said Siemens’ regional company employs more than 3,000 people scattered throughout 30 cities across Russia’s eleven time zones. “When our colleagues in Vladivostok finish working, our Moscow office is just starting its business day,” he explained.
In 2008, Siemens’ Russian operations generated more than €2.2 billion in orders, with a turnover of €1.2 billion. Most of the revenue in that figure, of course, pre-dated the global economic slump, but Möller said Siemens is optimistic about its near-term and future business outlook, having recently signed agreements for conducting energy efficiency studies in the Urals region, building an electronics equipment plant in Novovoronesh, and participating in a joint venture with the Russian state corporation Rosatom to develop and build new nuclear power plants and upgrade existing nuclear plants.
Nevertheless, Siemens is depending heavily on its expertise in electronics and automation to navigate through some immediate rough industry waters: Andreas Lemp, managing director of Siemens VAI Metals Technologies Russia, explained that Russian steel output dropped significantly starting in 2008, when it fell by 5% to 68.7 million tons; and further in early 2009 when it was curtailed by almost 30% more, representing a drop of 4.3 million tons year-over-year. Prices for some steel products fell by 50% to 75% and in October 2008, 29% of the nation’s iron and steel production was temporarily shut down. Steel output in 2009 is expected to 30% less than 2008’s level.
On a global basis, Siemens considers the Russian steel industry quite competitive: it offers high profitability (24% in 2007), worker salaries more than three times lower than those in developed nations, has access to plentiful domestic raw materials, and has very low metal conversion costs. To cope with the economic slump, the Russian government issued a list naming 32 metals companies that would be granted “official support.” In return, the government expects these companies to cut costs and increase profitability by optimizing their raw materials stock, carefully reviewing planned investments, reducing receivables and centralizing procurement. Over the longer term, these companies also will be expected to liquidate excess or outdated facilities, slow foreign expansion plans and review their development strategies for the domestic market.
Against this backdrop, Siemens VAI Russia’s focus will be on iron and steel plant upgrades and automation solutions, and increased activity in its service businesses. Siemens expects its Russian company to generate and participate in related projects totaling as much as 500 million rubles.
Bernd Zehentbauer, head of administration for Siemens VAI Metals Technologies’ mining technology business, told the assembled journalists the Russian mining industry is showing strong symptoms of the same economic flu that has weakened the global mining sector—lack of access to capital, postponement and cancellation of projects, a heightened awareness of high material and energy costs and closer focus on operating expenses and more attention to environmental sustainability. Zehentbauer said Siemens sees an estimated $200-billion shortfall in mining investment in the coming years.
To cope with this downturn, Siemens’ strategy will be to continue to develop its role as a “process solutions provider” rather than just an electrical systems integrator. This, said Zehentbauer, can be accomplished by implementation of the company’s drive and automation technology and energy-supply know-how with its process technology expertise to offer customers standardized solutions packages designed for cost-effective capital utilization and lower operational costs.
He used an example of Siemens’ role in installing a 13.5-km-long, 6.000-mt/h belt conveyor system for German coal producer Vattenfall Europe Mining AG to illustrate how the company can exploit certain synergies as a general contractor, including the convenience and efficiencies provided by having one major technology partner, a smaller number of project management interfaces, a consistently integrated technological solution, possibly reduced spare parts inventories and more efficient training implementation.
Specific recent examples of Siemens’ technological accomplishments in mining and processing, said Zehentbauer, include the continued development and acceptance of its hybrid flotation cell technology, with the pending installation of a second 16-m3 hybrid cell at the Minera Los Pelambres copper operation in northern Chile, where an initial cell installation helped the mine increase its molybdenum recovery rate by about 2%; and the integration of Siemens’ new AC drive system in Komatsu’s new 860E-1K haul truck.
Automation and Drive Technology
The Hannover Messe, or industrial fair, held earlier this year in Germany and attracting about 210,000 visitors, was a major showcase for technology suppliers. In conjunction with the show Siemens announced a wide variety of product updates.
Siemens Drive Technologies has added an IP65 decentralized frequency converter to its range of drives. The Sinamics G110D has been specifically developed for simple industrial materials handling applications that require a drive with a distributed communications capability.
The new Sinamics Intelligent Operator Panel provides simplified operation and plain text displays to speed up commissioning and shorten downtime. It is designed for use with the Sinamics G120, G120D and G110D standard drives and the Simatic ET200 frequency converter. The G120 inverter series has been supplemented by a new Control Unit specifically designed for pumps, fans and compressors.
Industry Automation Division (IAD)
The Milltronics MSI and MMI belt scales are now available with flow rates of up to 12,000 mt/h, an increase of 7,000 mt/h. When combined with a Milltronics BW500 Integrator the MSI and MMI now have OIML (International Organization of Legal Metrology) and MID (EC Measuring Instruments Directive) approvals.
The Sitrans LVS100 has been added to the IAD line of vibrating point level switches for high, low, or demand levels of dry bulk solids in bins, silos or hoppers. The new device detects the presence of material with bulk densities starting at 60 g/liter (3.8 lb/ft3) in mining and other applications. Also new is the Sitrans WS100, a robust speed sensor for conveyor belts used in mineral processing and other applications where temperatures range from -40 to +110° C (-40 to 164° F) and running at belt speeds up to 2m/sec (392 ft/min).
New to the portfolio of distributed motor starters is the M200D AS-i Basic (with an AS interface) that starts and protects motors up to 5.5 kW; for instance, those used in conveyors and other materials handling operations.
The Sinema Server network management software is a new extension for the Sinema (Simatic Network Manager) software tools. Sinema Server monitors programmable controllers connected to the network, and infrastructure components such as Industrial Ethernet switches and Industrial Wireless LAN access points, detecting their network-relevant parameters. The software then derives and can display the network topology and statistics from this information. Users can access Sinema Server Web sites from any computer in the network; access is protected by an HTTPS protocol and can be made even more secure by password authentication. Sinema Server can be integrated into HMI (Human Machine Interface) and visualization systems such as Simatic WinCC. This enables the user to monitor communications in an automation system.
The new Simatic IPC547C 19-in. industrial rack PC offers high computing, system and graphic performance, while a new embedded industrial Simatic IPC427C compact Microbox PC and HMI IPC477C Panel PC for rough industrial environments have been equipped with the Intel Core 2 Duo processor. The division has also added a new 19-in. Simatic HMI SCD1900 monitor to its range of industry-standard LCD products. Featuring a 16:10 wide-screen touch display with a resolution of 1440 x 800 pixels, this monitor offers more space for the visualization of automation tasks, Siemens says.
Two new communications processors have been introduced for connecting PCs and S7-300 controllers to Profibus and Industrial Ethernet systems. Simatic Net CP 5711 is an external adaptor that will link commercially available PCs to Profibus using an on-board USB 2.0 port; Simatic Net CP 343-1 ERPC is an expansion module for connecting Simatic-S7-300 controllers with databases via the Industrial Ethernet. Also new are four additions to the extra-flat Scalance XF-200 line of industrial Ethernet switches.
Offering much closer matching to a specific application than previous versions, the new electronic Sitop PSE200U can monitor up to four 24-volt load feeders for overloads and short circuits. There are two versions, with output current ranges of 0.5 to 3 and 3 to 10 amps. respectively.
The new Sentron PAC4200 power monitoring device collects and records voltage, current, energy consumption and other data, permitting the analysis of network quality. The device can be integrated into higher-level control and energy management systems to create the transparency necessary to increase plant efficiency, optimize energy consumption and help reduce costs.
Exhibition Report: Preparing for Recovery
This year’s Intermat exhibition has gone, having been more successful than some anticipated; meanwhile, the bauma 2010 team is gearing up for another mammoth event.
The organizers of Intermat 2009, held at Paris-Nord Villepinte from April 20–25, 2009, said the event maintained its significance as an international exhibition, despite the obvious impact of the economic climate. A total of 1,470 exhibitors—67% of them from outside France—attracted 184,518 attendees of whom a third were foreign visitors. Most of the visitors were decision makers, professionals with mid- or long-term projects, people looking for particular advice or for innovations that could help them prepare for a future economic recovery. The show also attracted diplomatic representatives from about 20 countries, a special conference focused on Turkey, and there were official national delegations from 14 countries. According to Intermat Exhibition Manager Maryvonne Lanoë, “The industry professionals who took part in the event are confirming that their investment paid off.”
Although there were notable absentees from major Western-based construction, quarry and mining equipment manufacturers, attendees remarked on the counter trend among manufacturers from the People’s Republic of China who were present in considerable force—some 106 companies signed up to exhibit. The PRC was also one of the nations sending an official delegation to the exhibition. It is clear that Chinese firms intend to compete in international construction and mining markets as well as meeting still-growing demand in China itself.
For visitors working with earthmoving, mines and quarries, South Africa’s Bell Equipment had a significant new model on show. Still the only supplier to offer an articulated dump truck with a 50-ton (45-mt) rated payload, Bell unveiled a 45-ton-capacity machine to fill the gap between its B50D and B40D models. Bell says the B45D is completely new and unique in its category. It has a 350-kW Mercedes-Benz engine, slightly smaller than the B50’s 390-kW diesel. Its dump body is as wide, but slightly less high, giving it a lower center of gravity. The differential and drop box ratios are the same as for the B50D.
Bell Equipment Product Marketing Manager for ADTs, Stephen Jones said that the rationale behind the B45D is to fill a gap that exists in the market for an ADT that has a larger payload than a 40-ton unit, thereby providing more option to meet site and customer specific needs.
“Some of our competitors decided to fill this need in the market by marginally increasing the payload of their existing 40-ton truck. However, we opted to introduce a completely new machine because our customer poll showed that they consider our B40D to be an optimized package in terms of efficiency, reliability and a match for production tools. In practice the B45 will take an additional scoop from a loading excavator as opposed to a mere specification upgrade.
“The B45D is based on the B50D and, as such, its shares the same proven components that have been used in the 50-tonner since 2002. It is fitted with the 16-litre Mercedes Benz OM502LA engine but has an output of 350 kW as opposed to the 390-kW rating of our flagship.
“The differential ratio and final drive ratio are the same as the B50D. Likewise, the rod and barrel of the tip cylinders are also the same size as the larger truck, but with a shorter length to aid the tipping geometry. The width and low centre of gravity creates exceptional stability and the B45D is able to run on 29,5R25 tires at full speed and with a load.”
Other key features include wet disk braking on all six wheels and standard active front suspension with comfort ride walking beams as an option on the rear.
bauma 2010 event organizer Messe München reports that exhibitor interest has accounted for the entire exhibition space reserved for the show—540,000 m2 of exhibition halls and open-air space at the New Munich Trade Fair Center. In particular, said Exhibition Director Georg Moller: “Inquiries from first-time and regular exhibitors from Asia are more numerous than ever before”. This suggests that the proportion of international exhibitors will be greater than the 54% (1,643 of 3,002) recorded in 2007.
The organizers also expect the normally high level of innovative new products on display to be maintained. The VDMA, as conceptual sponsor of the event, will launch an international innovations prize. Covering five categories, the competition is open to all exhibitors at bauma 2010 and the deadline for entries is September 15, 2009 (www.bauma-innovation-award.com).
Within the underground mining segment of the exhibition visitors will be given an overview of recently developed continuous mining techniques for ore extraction and haulage. As well as eliminating the need to stop production for blasting this technology will increase face output rates while allowing selective mining without dilution.