System Integration & Control Systems Design


Rockwell Automation upgrades control at Mozal Aluminium

February 2019 System Integration & Control Systems Design

Rockwell Automation has migrated the control systems at Mozal Aluminium’s furnace assembly and ladle cleaning shop to its modern DCS based on the PlantPAx design standard. An information-rich control architecture based on the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix platform helps to ensure improved long-term plant and process performance and reliability, while also bringing all the latest diagnostic and fault-finding capabilities to these operational areas.

The migration included the rewriting of a new, optimised control philosophy. The result is a streamlined, consistent and coherent I/O architecture visualised through the latest HMIs and FactoryTalk Studio ME software, which delivers intuitive, actionable machine data and intelligence. Service teams now have far greater insight into plant processes, allowing faster, more efficient response to any point of failure through added diagnostic features.

Additionally, both plant areas were upgraded to Device Level Ring EtherNet/IP network architectures. This upgrade helped to ensure no single, localised point of failure in the network which can lead to more widespread, unnecessary downtime. The migration, for which Rockwell Automation was responsible for the engineering, product supply, integration, and commissioning, was completed in twelve months.

Ladle shop

The ladle shop comprises three systems – pre-heating, tube cleaning and ladle cleaning equipment – which deliver rapid and efficient automated cleaning and heating of the ladles, and the distribution tubes that fill them. These systems help to ensure that no bath material and aluminium products can collect in the ladles, which would reduce the integrity of the molten aluminium, and thus the quality of the final cast ingots.

The three upgraded ControlLogix controllers supplied for these systems deliver a rewritten I/O structure built on standards and simplified control functionality. Detailed, real-time visualisation and diagnostics of the operation floor is provided by 16 PanelView Plus 7 graphic terminals with FactoryTalk ME V8.02 software.

The drive system on the tube cleaning equipment was migrated to the Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 755 AC Drive. In addition to optimising energy efficiency, the PowerFlex 755 delivers a holistic level of actionable data that simplifies fault finding and optimises maintenance on the drive system.

“Upgrading the control systems on the ladle shop floor was also an opportunity to provide a complete inspection of the instrumentation layer,” explains Devin Whitfield, lead engineer, Rockwell Automation Sub-Saharan Africa. “Working with Mozal, defective or unreliable equipment was flagged, and related ad hoc items of code added or removed.”

In an effort to ensure minimal disruption on plant operations, each system was completed within a planned three-day commissioning period.

Furnace assembly

The casting process consists of 10 furnaces across five casting lines, which maintain the aluminium at a temperature of approximately 1000°C before feeding it into a launder for casting.

Maintaining the optimum level of aluminium in the launder during casting is critical: filling it too quickly risks molten aluminium being ejected from the launder – a significant safety hazard – while an inadequate flow results in under-cast ingots of inferior weight, size and quality.

Controlling the tilt demand, internal temperature and casting temperature of the furnaces is now achieved via PID control through the ControlLogix platform. The approximately 200 I/O control system automates both the position and speed of the furnace tilt, and integrates with existing third-party furnace sub-systems including the burner management systems, tightness control and hardwired safety systems.

In order to execute the migration without affecting production, Rockwell Automation installed the control system within the casting and maintenance schedule of each furnace. “With production demand in the cast house requiring four of the five casting lines active at any one time, and only one of two furnaces casting for each line, we installed and commissioned the control of each furnace in a narrow, time-critical window,” explains Coenraad Maree, project engineer, Rockwell Automation Sub-Saharan Africa.

This required not only a high degree of efficiency and accuracy to help ensure each system migration did not extend beyond scheduled windows, but also a flexible approach in accommodating any changes to the respective schedules.

The biggest installation challenge, however, was that of working in the intense heat of the cast house environment. With ambient temperatures of over 40°C, safety of the commissioning teams was a critical consideration.

A preferred automation supplier

In addition to the migration of the casting furnaces and the ladle shop to the improved software standard, Rockwell Automation simultaneously executed a plant-wide technology migration of Mozal Aluminium’s drive network to the PowerFlex 755 platform. This project numbers over 350 drives in total, which will be complete in November 2020.

This modern, Connected Enterprise-ready distributed control system helps secure the long-term reliability of the production plant, and amplifies the level of plant and system-wide intelligence available to onsite operation and maintenance teams to improve efficiency and reduce unplanned downtime.

For more information contact Devin Whitfield, Rockwell Automation, +27 11 654 9700, dwhitfield@ra.rockwell.com, www.rockwellautomation.co.za


Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Rockwell Automation expands power range
February 2019, Rockwell Automation , Electrical Power & Protection
Rockwell Automation has expanded the power ranges and capabilities of TotalForce technology for its Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 755T AC drives. The drives now offer an expanded power range, helping engineers ...

Read more...
EtherCAT measurement modules extended
February 2019, Beckhoff Automation , System Integration & Control Systems Design
System-integrated precision measurement technology for efficient machines and test benches.

Read more...
Graphic terminals provide enhanced software integration
February 2019, Rockwell Automation , Operator Interfaces, Switches & Relays
End users and OEMs are seeking HMI solutions that simplify and streamline visualisation, especially in larger applications. With the new Allen-Bradley PanelView 5510 family of graphic terminals, companies ...

Read more...
KVM Tech focuses on product excellence and superior support
January 2019 , System Integration & Control Systems Design
The intellectual property of KVM Tech was acquired by Alwyn Rautenbach in 2010 and a short while later current MD, Reghardt Rautenbach, joined the company. The intervening years have seen the company ...

Read more...
Integrated control solution for car heater manufacturing
January 2019, Beckhoff Automation , System Integration & Control Systems Design
TwinCAT CNC automates dispensing system used in the automotive industry.

Read more...
Black Rock Mine Operations
January 2019, IS³ - Industry Software, Solutions & Support , System Integration & Control Systems Design
Performance excellence through enhanced decision making and real-time management in a ­centralised control environment.

Read more...
Rockwell Automation drives digital transformation
January 2019, Rockwell Automation , IT in Manufacturing
New FactoryTalk InnovationSuite, powered by PTC, accelerates digital transformation strategies.

Read more...
Kia Slovakia reduces safety ­downtime
January 2019, Rockwell Automation , IS & Ex
Allen-Bradley GuardLogix maximises efficiency in body shop.

Read more...
Ultrasonic sensors for the OEM business
January 2019, Turck Banner , System Integration & Control Systems Design
Turck has expanded its ultrasonic sensor family with the introduction of the RU50 Eco series for price-sensitive OEM projects. The company was able to develop an ultrasonic sensor based on the latest ...

Read more...
Pre-assembled panel systems for pumping applications
January 2019, ElectroMechanica , System Integration & Control Systems Design
A complete range of robust pre-assembled irrigation and solar pump panel systems are available from ElectroMechanica (EM) for a wide range of pumping applications. “These solutions are designed not only ...

Read more...