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When turbines are being serviced on the testing station at the Italian firm, they are powered up to an astonishing 70,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). It is almost frightening to think of what would happen if the rpm count accidentally exceeded the maximum threshold during the test run. “What happens figuratively is that the whole thing would fly off the station and straight at the person doing the testing. Of course, this is purely theoretical because for safety reasons nobody is allowed to be in the test cell while the turbine is running,” says Günter Tiefensee, CEO of CONTEC GmbH in Germany.
The company automated the first testing station for the Italian partner as far back as 1988 and selected Rockwell Automation as its supplier of control technology. CONTEC was able to make sure the worst-case scenario described above never happened by adding a further safety shutdown component, which was easily integrated into the Rockwell Automation control system.