Upgrade delivers spare parts

Golden Triangle Energy Cooperative (GTEC) in Craig, MO processes 20,000 bushels of corn into approximately 55,000 gallons of ethanol daily. Operations began in 2001 and, shortly after construction was complete and plant operations were stable, GTEC proactively sought to maximize the efficiency and uptime of its processes.

05/01/2008


Golden Triangle Energy Cooperative (GTEC) in Craig, MO processes 20,000 bushels of corn into approximately 55,000 gallons of ethanol daily. Operations began in 2001 and, shortly after construction was complete and plant operations were stable, GTEC proactively sought to maximize the efficiency and uptime of its processes.

GTEC was enjoying steady uptime and consistently out-producing its 14 MMgy (million gallons per year) nameplate by 5 MMgy to 6 MMgy. But the installed control system hardware had been deemed obsolete by the manufacturer, and replacement parts were becoming difficult to find. Some parts could only be sent in for refurbishment or repair, which required a two- or three-week turnaround. In desperation, GTEC even began to search online auction sites to ensure sufficient backups for the most critical components.

With the control system risk mounting and thoughts of a plant expansion in the works, GTEC contracted with Bachelor Controls Inc. (BCI) in 2006 to retrofit and upgrade the obsolete control system. To avoid the problems that plagued the original system, the new system requirements included ensuring that parts and technical support — including training — were readily available, and that a pool of skilled talent existed to maintain and support the system.

After weighing upgrade options, BCI chose to integrate Rockwell Automation’s Process Automation System (PAS). Utilizing the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) and I/O system — along with Rockwell Software’s RSView Supervisory Edition graphical interface — this system features an open architecture with maximum flexibility for future expansions, plus offered abundant training and maintenance support resources.

GTEC general manager Roger Hill said, “We knew the magnitude of this project would be like a heart transplant for our facility, and we relied on Bachelor Controls to guide us in making the most effective decisions for our control system needs. The complexity of the project required a great deal of planning and project management to ensure a final, successful project.”

Selecting established product lines from Rockwell Automation ensured that all installed parts were readily available from reliable distributors located near GTEC, and that both hardware and software technical support were available long into the future.

Project planning saves the day(s)

To contain installation costs and minimize plant disruption, BCI designed the system to retain all field wiring and field devices. Waldinger Corp., a mechanical, electrical and sheet metal contractor operating primarily in the U.S. Midwest and Southeast, was contracted to perform the electrical work and would become an indispensable member of the project team.

BCI Project Manager Adam Hinton said that BCI follows a structured project methodology that stresses communication, documentation, and an on-site factory acceptance test. “This drives consistent, quality performance, and also ensured that we would maintain the project’s aggressive implementation schedule,” said Hinton.

Shutting the plant down to complete the work was unavoidable; however, BCI minimized the costs and impact to the plant with a two-phased implementation plan with each phase taking place during an already-scheduled plant shutdown.

GTEC Plant Manager Charlie Martin recalled, “Bachelor Controls clearly understood the tremendous amount of detail that was going be required.... When it came time to execute, they were poised and ready to go.”

Conversion two-step

The first phase installed the new control system infrastructure and implemented the new control schema on a small portion of the plant. This “pilot phase” validated the implementation plan and tested device-control software modules under load. It was completed inside the normal three- to four-day outage window. According to GTEC Operations Manager Shaun O’Riley, The pilot phase “allowed us to adapt to the changes and get comfortable with the new system before converting the rest of the plant.”

The second phase, the major implementation phase, was done during the next major cleaning outage. BCI specialists and their Waldinger counterparts showed up prepared for the task well aware of the enormous risk: The existing control system consisted of a local DCS controller with associated I/O and six remote I/O enclosures. More than 800 I/O points were spread over four buildings containing dust and gaseous classified explosive areas. The logic consisted of sequencing, batching, reporting, and standard interlocking of devices.

Because this was a retrofit project, the logic was developed based on a text extraction from the existing control system, coupled with the project team’s general working knowledge of the operation of an alcohol plant. The reverse engineering process was complicated by an unfamiliarity with components of the obsolete control system, incomplete documentation, and meager technical support resources.

The team took a mere four days to complete the major implementation phase. When the fifth day arrived, normal restart procedures were implemented by existing staff using the new control system, and the plant was back in full production before the end of the day.

With the improved efficiency, GTEC can now focus on production and processing issues. Hill said, “We take great comfort in knowing our control system is designed to meet our specific needs, with replacement parts available locally.”


Author Information
Marvin Coker is a senior project engineer for Bachelor Controls Inc., a Control Engineering System Integrator of the Year, based in Sabetha, KS. Mr. Coker has more than 20 years’ experience, including providing architecture design and support for food and fuel-grade alcohol production systems, batching and continuous process systems, and data collection and management solutions. Reach Coker at mcoker@bachelorcontrols.com or call (785) 284-3482.




The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me