Teck Cominco to Implement New Automation System

Teck Cominco Metals Ltd. selected Invensys Process Systems to implement a new mesh network-based Foxboro I/A Series (www.foxboro.com) automation system for the electrolytic and melting plant processes at Teck Cominco’s metallurgical operations at Trail, in southeast British Columbia, Canada.

The Trail complex is one of the world’s largest fully-integrated zinc and lead smelting and refining complexes. Total production capacity is approximately 290,000 tonnes per year (TPY) of zinc and 120,000 TPY of lead. The complex manufactures a wide variety of zinc and lead alloys to meet customer specifications worldwide, and also produces twenty additional metal and chemical products.

Invensys implemented the latest I/A Series Version 8.X hardware and software, including a mesh control network, the FCP270 family of field-mounted control processors in fault tolerant configurations, and Foxboro migration integrator modules. Using Foxboro’s latest field device system integrator (FDSI) modules, the new control system will also interface with existing Modicon PLC systems. Approximately 1200 I/O points in the electrolytic and melting processes will be controlled and monitored by the new system.

Utilizing Foxboro’s proven migration capabilities, the implementation replaces legacy control equipment. The approach utilizes “tune-up” modules that migrate the control, human machine interface and data acquisition functionalities to the I/A Series system, while retaining the existing field wiring, I/O terminations and system cabinets. This innovative and efficient method typically saves from 40 to 50 percent off the cost of a complete system replacement.

I/A Series DCS migration modules are exact physical replacements for the existing input/output (I/O) modules and plug right into the existing system enclosures with no I/O mapping issues. This migration approach, with careful upfront planning, reduces associated process downtime from weeks or even months, to a day or less. This can dramatically minimize lost production.

The new control network will employ the award-winning Foxboro mesh network process control system backbone, which utilizes advanced commercial communications technologies in robust industrial configurations. Providing high-availability, self-healing network performance, the mesh architecture can connect thousands of stations at data speeds up to one gigabit between network switches.

Using capabilities from the wide family of Foxboro controls migration hardware and software products, the new implementation allows Teck Cominco to leverage their investment in existing field equipment, while efficiently upgrading to current digital control technology. In addition, the system is designed to accommodate future expansion as needed.

To support the new implementation, Invensys Systems Canada provided a range of services, including engineering services, system staging and factory acceptance testing, training services, and field services for the I/A Series system at Teck Cominco.

The Invensys Process Systems electrolytic and melting process control migration contract follows two earlier successful Foxboro control system upgrade projects at the Trail complex. Using the same migration concepts, controls in the zinc roasters, the acid plants and the sulphur recovery plant were migrated to Foxboro from Honeywell, while retaining existing field equipment. In the pressure leach plant, Foxboro controls replaced an existing ABB installation. Future phases including a Fisher Provox control system migration program are planned for the cadmium plant and sulphide leaching plant. When these are completed, the entire zinc operation will be under I/A Series control.

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