Simulating a Whole Steel Plant

By Markus Erlmann

Dr. Thomas Strigl from iSILOG talked about Virtual Commissioning of complex automation technology. This sounds a bit abstract. In this case the complex automation technology is a whole steel plant, which in a lot of cases is more than 1 km long.


But why would you like to simulate a whole steel plant? Well, because a steel plant costs up to 2 billion Euros and you can lose a huge amount of money when the start of such a plant is delayed or it is not working right. In this case simulation can help to reduce the risk. iSILOG uses Tecnomatix Plant Simulation.

Here the focus is on the automation equipment. The simulation ensures that the automation programs in combination with the sensors and actors run smoothly right from the beginning. Just an impression: one steel plant consists of 19,000 input and output signals which are controlled by PLCs and other automation equipment.

The whole automation equipment is build up in a test center to program and simulate the complete automation system like controllers and the HMI (Human Machine Interface).


As well it is used to train the operators and maintenance people. The simulation and training takes between three to six months. iSILOG supported the build of seven steel plants in the last two years and gained a detailed understanding of the required tasks.

The benefits iSILOG were able to achieve together with their customer are:

  • High software quality right from the beginning (these are for example the PLC programs)

  • Reduction of time during the critical start-up phase

  • Short commissioning time and fast ramp-up

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at