The following case studies will demonstrate our achievement in starting and finishing multiple project of different complexity and diversified engineering solutions.
Metallurgical Industry, Steel – Case Studies
To completely design, program, install, and commission a 10MW plazma lance for a gas-fired steel melted furnace.
Achievement: we programmed and commissioned Allen-Bradley PLC 2/15 and managed to place it into a small enclosure 20″x20″ with all electrical components, operator controls and temperature digital readout measuring up to 6,000 deg C inside the furnace.
Complexity: a natural gas was mixed with lime powder along with plazma ignition of a custom design and programmed with PID loop controls.
Solution: in addition to creating a plazma controller we deployed a semi-automatic motion controller to operate a plazma gun inside the furnace. Several other custom installations have been done in the other steel companies in Canada and US.
Renewable Energy Production
There were 6 wind farms in 5 different states in the USA. We were programming wind turbine performance using Schneider Electric Quantum PLC with a WEB server. By using a standard Internet browser, we programmed a stand-alone PC as an HMI. The programmed PID loops included several control options, such as constant current, voltage, reactive power, phase angle and a combination of them.
Achievement: A combined power of hundreds of wind turbines was controlled from a single place in the substation of the farm by maintaining preset values and power quality. An immunity to voltage sagging and lightning has been obtained on all 6 wind farms across US.
- Complexity: To create PID loops to control different electric power components, electric current in KA, voltage in KV, and power factor from 0.5 to 1.0. Other components of electric power include settings of cosign pi from 75 to 90 deg., phase angle from 0 to 25 deg., leading reactive power from 0 to -33%, and lagging reactive power from 0 to +33% of the produced power. The challenge was to make it smoothly switchable from one operating mode to another without any spikes of voltage or current. An “Zero-Bounce Control” has been developed, programmed, and implemented.
- Solutions: Several control modes of operation have been designed, programmed, and successfully tested on all wind farms in five states with electric power ranging from 9.0 MW to 180 MW per farm. Several addition solutions have been discovered and implemented. They were the “Bumpless Transfer Control” and “Zero Reactive Power Mode” of operation, which allows generating only active electric power. Using this approach any wind farm can make a maximum profit on electricity they produce.
- Find the information on Zero Reactive Power in this article.
- Downtime reduction: for the first time in the industry the operator and maintenance manuals have been developed using Schneider’s Web server and the Internet browser on the HMI PC.
Wastewater Treatment Plants
Several projects in US, such as: Lansing MI, Chicago IL, San Bernardino CA, and several custom projects for municipal water works in Australia and New Zealand have been successfully implemented. They included complete design, programming, commissioning, and startup of ultra-violet water disinfection system based on Allen-Bradley SLC 5/04 with a touch screen HMI by Wonderware InTouch (presently Schneider Electric).
- Achievement: It was the very first fully automatic ultra-violet disinfection system in the North America.
- Complexity: To implement multi-PLC design and establish communication and synchronous control of all immersing UV banks as well as making recovery from any emergency situation in case of power failure, lightning, and human error.
- Solution: A multiplexing of PLC logic design with one main controller, as a concentrator, having a time stamp of all I/O and internal coils at any given time for immediate recovery from major system faults.
- Downtime reduction: multi-state and multi-color I/O indicators have been displayed on supervisory terminal for a quick troubleshooting. The operators should be able to identify root-fault problems. Visual analysis has been later replaced with the fault location algorithm.
Copper and Nickel Abatement Project
A $600M abatement project of 11 metallurgical plants at Inco Ltd in Sudbury, ON Canada. PLC, HMI and SCADA portion of the project was accounted for over $50M. The project included complete electrical and instrumentation design, programming, and start up. There were 11 metallurgical plants that required upgrade in copper and nickel production.
- Achievement: All PLC-3 hardware controllers have been replaced with A-B PLC-5 and Westburn DCS. Data highway DH-1 was deployed alone with a supervisory PC. This computer was communicating with all 25 PLCs using newly developed multiplexing remote HMI screens. It allowed.to monitor and control over 2,500 motors and over 7,500 valves.
- Complexity: Implementation of a large quantity of monitored components using PLC power was not possible with the existing PLC or HMI. Another challenge was to create a training approach to teach over 100 electricians and PLC technicians of a new design, process control logic, and documentation.
- Solution: We deployed and implemented several solutions during the designing stage (12 months) and commissioning (18 months).
- Some of these solutions have been later included into the core of the Downtime Reduction Methodology. It included rapid troubleshooting, crash courses, and training of maintenance crews.
- Downtime reduction: faults and alarms handling as well as the maintenance electricians training on Gate Logic was successfully accepted.
- Training period on the newly installed control systems was reduced from 2 to 3 days to two hours.
Cheese Plant of the 21st Century
An original owner and producer of Craft Foods was building a cheese plant for the 21st century. It is presently in operation and is located between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Our part was to write a set of specifications for all participating vendors to have their automation systems using the same PLC/HMI devices throughout the plant. We, in turn, advised all vendors a selection of Intellusion HMI and Allen-Bradley Studio 5000.
- Achievement: Our task was to write specification for each part of the PLC and HMI design. In addition, those specs included graphics, programming formats, communication protocols, color codes, alarm handling, and data collection.
- Complexity: Our tasks were briefly described by the leading engineering consulting company. In fact, we had to follow industry standard engineering specification (Standard 16,000 by Professional Engineering Association of California). By properly selected the latest PLC hardware and software, we created the final cheese plant design specifications.
- Solution: A total project included all automation system controls specs. Those specs covered programming, interfacing, communication, and data handling. We successfully accomplished that project within 3 months.
- Downtime reduction: several programming examples for PLC control and HMI fault handling have been offered to all 17 vendors. They, in turn, should implement them into their final automation equipment. We also produced a template for HMI controls to be identical throughout the cheese plant. A fully documented crash course on Unified Logic for the training of the future maintenance crews have been written and presented to all vendors.