Headquartered in UK, Anglo American is a global and diversified mining company supplying raw materials essential for economic development and modern life.
It operates in mining, expansion projects and operating and marketing activities in South Africa, South America, Australia, North America, Asia and Europe.
Due to the size, number of cities involved and the large number of environmental licenses required for project implementation, the Minas-Rio project took several years to complete which increased the mining company's challenges.
The project includes an iron ore mine and an enrichment unit located in Conceição do Mato Dentro and Alvorada de Minas in the state of Minas Gerais; A 529-kilometer pipeline that runs through 33 municipalities in the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro; and the iron ore terminal of Puerto de Açu, in which Anglo American has established a partnership with Prumo Logística, which has a 50% stake, and is located in São João da Barra (RJ).
Different suppliers participated in the project in the different areas of the process.
From the beginning, Anglo American's engineering area was concerned with ensuring standardization in the way it operates and in control between areas.
Other important challenges were the large distances involved between the different areas of the Minas-Rio System and the need for an integration between them.
The implementation time of the system brought a series of additional challenges, such as the same technological advance, which could make the process control system out of date, even before starting to operate.
From the beginning of the project, Rockwell Automation and Anglo American worked together to overcome all the challenges.
The mining company created a very competent engineering team to discuss and validate the entire system provided by Rockwell Automation.
Due to the size of the project, Rockwell Automation decided to invite IHM Engenharia, a company of the Stefanini Group, and one of its main integrating partners that has a great amount of experience in the mining industry, to be part of its system development team of process control.
Anglo American decided to divide the control system into four parts: the mine and the enrichment plant, the pipeline, the filtration plant and the port.
Each area has its own servers, controllers and operating room. This decision provided a great flexibility to the system and allowed several work fronts to be opened in parallel during the commissioning of the system.
In addition to the normal operating stations, the project has operating stations via the web, which allows monitoring of the system remotely.
Because the system is divided and there’s a large number of suppliers in the different areas of the process, Anglo American and Rockwell Automation expressly worried about maintaining standardization in the control system, both in the structuring of the software and in the mode of operation.
In total, the distributed control system has more than 20 thousand instruments and is connected with 800 motors. Among them, more than 1,500 intelligent instruments are connected to the system via Profibus PA or HART.
Motor control centers (MCCs) are also intelligent, they are connected to the control system via the DeviceNet network.
The asset management system, implemented in all parts of the distributed control system, facilitates the parameterization of intelligent instruments.
At the port, due to the large number of mobile machinery - such as conveyors, forklifts, reclaimers and shippers - Anglo American made the decision to use the integrated safety system with process controllers, reducing the risks of personnel and the equipment.
In the pipeline, due to its extension, 21 controllers were used, including some smaller ones.
In order to ensure that the correct information is available to the right person at the right time, the control system is integrated with the Process Information Management System (PIMS) and the Manufacturing Execution System (MES).
Information, in the form of graphs and reports, help managers in decision making.
Prior to commissioning the system, Anglo American's team, in conjunction with Rockwell Automation, conducted all simulations of the tests in controlled environments to ensure that the system worked correctly, thus reducing the risks of laying in progress of the plant.
In this way, the PlantPAx distributed control system reduced the commissioning time of each of the process areas.
Before the system began to operate definitively, Anglo American decided to make some product updates, so that the distributed control system was fully updated despite the implementation time.
According to the operators, the fact that the system had multiple monitors made its operation simpler and more flexible.
For them, the system has a good response time in relation to commands. In addition, the number of screens and the amount of information of each one of them has been dimensioned correctly.
Operators also emphasized that the alarm system allows them to identify problems and act quickly to solve them.
At the same time, the maintenance team emphasizes that the use of a modular and standardized solution facilitates maintenance work, as well as allowing new instruments and motors to be easily added to the system.
The asset management system facilitates maintenance and backup of the application software, as well as allowing the equipment to remotely configure and parameterize intelligent instruments.
For managers, the integration of the distributed control system with the PIMS and the MES was useful in decision making.
Several reports, including the management of water consumption, production versus energy consumption, management of motor use, among others, allow for optimization of the use of resources.
At the end of the project, Anglo American made its first shipment of ore ahead of schedule and at a lower cost than budget with the Rockwell Automation distributed control system contributing to its success.
In order to ensure that the correct information is available to the right person at the right time, the control system is integrated with the Process Information Management System (PIMS) and the Manufacturing Execution System (MES). Information, in the form of graphs and reports, help managers in decision-making.