Smelting Control System Replacement
A customer needed to replace an aging control system at a smelter in Indiana because their parent company was gradually standardizing all plants onto a single architecture and environment, and the existing 15 year old control system outdated and the hardware was beginning to fail at an unacceptable rate. The traditional replacement option of distributed PLC equipment was estimated to cost around $12M-15M. Based on the current economic situation, this expense was determined to be cost prohibitive.
Telepro was contracted to work with the plant and its parent company’s engineering division to find alternative options. In the end, TelePro was able to adapt an existing HMI (Human Machine Interface) that was in use at other plants by adding analog and digital I/O to it and then interface it to the existing isolation devices and field wiring. This allowed the plant to reuse all the existing field wiring by simply connecting to an existing 50 pin connector. Once the underlying network infrastructure was in place, the conversion time for each of the nearly 700 individual reduction cells was only 15 minutes per cell.
In addition to the fast conversion, by reusing an existing hardware design that was already owned by the parent company, and by doing a custom integration for that hardware with the existing cabling, the entire project cost was only $6M, which saved the plant between $6M and $9M (based on original budgetary estimates).