Thinking outside the boxWe once again pushed back the boundaries of automation with the integration of electrical and process automation systems at a cement plant in Rajasthan, India. And we did it, even as the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to travel to the customer site. It was all made possible with our latest ECS/ControlCenter v8 process control platform and very competent team.
Intelligent overload relays offer lots of data, but automation systems often fail to convert that data into usable information. This is a challenge, since it’s only when data is made accessible, with analysis, to plant operation and maintenance teams, that advances in technology can be truly utilized and the investment justified.
Getting the most out of your data
This was the motivation behind the project, where we successfully implemented our process automation software, alongside intelligent relays in intelligent motor control centres (iMCC) spread across 5 kilometers. This innovative step forward offers the opportunity to significantly improve plant reliability.
The benefits of ECS/ControlCenter v8
The ECS/ControlCenter v8 software provides a platform for cement plant automation, ensuring equipment runs consistently at optimal conditions and reducing the chance of operator error. By doing so, it keeps throughput high, while boosting process efficiency and overall output.
“Thanks to standardized software blocks, which can easily be installed into iMCC relay hardware and make information available in the central control room, we have the capability and solutions to combine our ECS/ControlCenter v8 automation solution with a plant’s electrical systems,” continued Rizwan.
“We are also well known to design efficient and clear process displays that provide key information to the operator in an easily accessible form. This supports the operator to keep the process running smoothly. The ECS/ControlCenter v8 platform is different to many other control systems. For example, the interlocks root cause analysis, advanced trending and reporting features allow much easier fault tracing, with precise time stamped alarms, as well as more stable operation, because operators can easily understand the cause of tripping of any equipment.”
Further improving ease of operation, the ECS/ControlCenter v8 displays at this plant are laid out with new equipment symbols based on existing customer standards. And if there is ever need for support, we can access the system remotely, in full compliance with the cyber security protocols of the customer, both during commissioning and thereafter, as needed.
Implementation despite the COVID-19 restrictions
A key stage in implementation of a new control system is testing the complete process interlocking at the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT).
“At the FAT, which is usually attended by the customer, it’s important to test the complete process interlocking to make sure equipment will continue to operate safely, even in the event of a process failure. We can do this with ECS/ControlCenter v8’s built-in device simulation function,” said K. Senthil Raj, Global Engineering Manager, at FLSmidth.
Although the customer wasn’t able to travel to FLSmidth Chennai to witness the test, this was not a deterrent to the project team, with the customer’s operators and engineers participating via virtual sessions.
That wasn’t the only challenge, however. The customer also asked us to conduct the FAT for other equipment, such as the variable frequency drives (VFDs) and iMCCs, through remote sessions.
“Fortunately, we have the capability and technology to establish a remote PLC connection that allows programming along with well intact cyber security features,” continued explained K. Senthil Raj. “This enabled us to complete the FAT to the satisfaction of the customer and the project requirements. It was also the main reason there were no surprises during commissioning. As a result, we commissioned the project on time.”
Enabling better decisions
“ECS/ControlCenter v8 with iMCC allows a faster response to electrical issues, such as loose connections at power cables, phase loss, current imbalances, and earth faults, and well as to process disruptions, such as material jamming, stalling, and zero motion,” concluded Rizwan.
“It therefore helps to prevent motor damage, due to advance warning signals, and prevent plant downtime by providing more useful information, warnings and alarms to the central control room operator, empowering better decision making.”