Invensys upgrades automation system at Teck Cominco’s Trail operations

Teck Cominco Metals selected Invensys Process Systems to implement a new mesh network-based Foxboro I/A Series ( 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 some 290,000 t/y of zinc and 120,000 t/y of lead. The complex makes 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 1,200 I/O points in the electrolytic and melting processes will be controlled and monitored by the new system.

Using Foxboro’s proven migration capabilities, the implementation replaces legacy control equipment. The approach uses ‘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 method typically saves 40-50% of the cost of a complete system replacement, Invensys reports.

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 uses 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.           

Invensys says that “using capabilities from the wide family of Foxboro controls migration hardware and software products, the new implementation allows Teck Cominco to leverage its 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.