ABB keeps a flow of automation news through my inbox that I can’t keep up with. There are only a few companies maintaining this much publicity. A few of the larger industrial automation (and software) companies have almost completely closed the valve. I have six interesting items from ABB of a variety of process automation use cases.

  • process upgrade to a cement plant
  • high payload hoists in mining
  • Flow Control Mold electromagnetic stirring and braking technology for steel production
  • production control and process solutions for lithium plant
  • electromagnetic stirring for steel arc furnace project
  • digital transformation in a large sawmill

ABB upgrades process control systems and cement grinding units in UAE

ABB upgrades process control systems and cement grinding units in UAE for increased uptime and uniformity across multiple sites

•   ABB installs state-of-the-art distributed control system (DCS) automation platform at Star Super Cement cement grinding plants in UAE

•   Upgrade to central processing units brings uniformity across Star Cement clinkerization plant as well as Star Cement grinding plants in the Middle East to lower maintenance downtime

•   ABB has also installed the latest generation automation controllers for high availability of control applications at the Ultratech Cement subsidiaries

ABB has installed ABB Ability System 800xA to upgrade three grinding units at Star Super Cement in Dubai, UAE, and ensure optimized operations with the Star Cement clinkerization plant in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE.

The scope of work undertaken by ABB included the upgrade of all previously installed central processing units (CPUs) and controllers to the latest version of ABB Ability System 800xA. The project also involved the complete erection and installation for the new panels while keeping the field wiring intact. Minerals libraries were introduced to the system. Project panels were manufactured and delivered locally.

high payload hoists ensure safety and efficiency at major Australian mine

OZ Minerals will install a production hoist (winder) which can carry nearly 40,000kg of ore to the surface

•    The hoist system will have the highest available levels of safety through ABB Ability Safety Plus for hoists, the first fully SIL 3 certified suite of solutions for hoists

•    Contract is part of a $400 million shaft expansion at the mining company’s Prominent Hill mine in South Australia

ABB has won a large order for its highest payload Koepe production hoist, associated infrastructure, and safety systems from Australian mining company OZ Minerals. The contract will help to ensure efficient processing performance and a long service life as part of an ongoing $400 million expansion at the Prominent Hill mine in South Australia.

The hoist, which will be designed and supplied by ABB, has a capacity of 39,400kg and the strongest drivetrain that ABB has ever installed in Australia. ABB specialists will also supervise installation and commissioning.

Installing the Wira shaft will increase the annual underground mining rate, extend the mine life, reduce operating costs, lower emissions intensity, and reduce overall operational risk, according to OZ Minerals.

optimize production for major steelmaker thyssenkrupp

ABB has been awarded a major contract by Primetals Technologies to help optimize production at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe’s (tkSE) Duisburg-Bruckhausen plant in Germany, using the unique and proprietary ABB Flow Control Mold electromagnetic stirring and braking technology for higher quality steel produced faster and at lower cost.

The construction of a casting rolling mill and the upgrade of an existing continuous casting plant is part of a wider project awarded to Primetals Technologies, a global leader in plant engineering for the metals industry. It is part of tkSE’s Strategy 20-30 which aims to optimize operations for the requirements of automotive customers seeking improved surfaces, thinner and high-performance steels to meet crash safety standards in the growing e-mobility market.

By using FC Mold G3 (generation 3), thyssenkrupp can prevent gas bubbles and impurities from becoming trapped in the solidifying steel as the technology will offer simultaneous stirring and braking from one fixed position on the caster. In continuous slab casting, conditions in the meniscus area of the solidifying steel are crucial to determining end-product quality and have a major impact on productivity and overall operating costs. Integrated with the caster, FC Mold uses electromagnetic fields to control meniscus flow speed and fluctuations. It enables improved process control and increased resource efficiency, requires very little maintenance and typically has a long lifespan.

zero emission lithium project in Europe

• Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Savannah Resources plc and ABB signals intent to work together to explore electrification, automation and digital solutions for the Barroso Lithium Project in Portugal

• ABB will provide technical expertise to outline production control and process solutions for lithium production in line with Savannah’s decarbonization strategy and aim of zero emission operations by 2030

• The project is the largest known resource of hardrock spodumene lithium in Europe and could be a significant source of carbon-neutral lithium concentrate to help meet growing electric vehicle (EV) battery demand

Under the early-stage agreement, ABB will apply its technical expertise to outline production control and process solutions for lithium concentrate production and integrated spodumene mining operations in line with Savannah’s target of zero emission operations by 2030.

Savannah is focused on responsible development of the Barroso Lithium Project by using 238 individual measures to eliminate or mitigate environmental impacts. These measures will be included in the Definitive Feasibility Study on the project, which Savannah is currently completing. This will also incorporate the actions from the current project decarbonization study which supports Savannah’s commitment to target a zero emission operation by 2030 or earlier. Savannah also places great emphasis on its social responsibilities and a comprehensive set of programmes have been designed to share benefits and opportunities with local communities.

charging, melting and electromagnetic stirring solution on a large electric arc furnace (EAF)

•    Record-breaking melting unit in operation at steelmaker Acciaieria Arvedi in Italy, with a furnace tapping size of 300 metric tons

•    Tenova’s Consteel EAF continuous scrap charging system is complemented by Consteerrer, an innovative ArcSave-based electromagnetic stirring technology jointly developed by ABB and Tenova for continuously charging EAF systems

•    Application of electromagnetic stirring results in 5 percent productivity increase and 3.6 percent reduction in electrical energy consumption

•    Additional improvements include increased flexibility in the operation of the furnace and in the use of the raw materials mix with significant improvement of the metallic charge yield

The record-breaking electric arc furnace has a 300-ton tapping size and utilizes a charge mix which include Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI). It was installed to meet the demand for increased output following the recent revamp of the continuous Endless Strip Production (Arvedi-ESP) casting and rolling mill line at the plant.

Swedish sawmill takes first steps to realize vision of digitally optimized operations

•      Sustainable timber products company Moelven will use the ABB Ability System 800xA distributed control system to find improved ways of running a sawmill

•      ABB will digitally connect a steam boiler for better energy usage and production processes at the new Valåsen mill in Karlskoga with start up planned in 2024

The ABB Ability System 800xA distributed control system (DCS) will be installed for the new mill to provide operators with wide visibility and precise control from a central command center to ensure that production is as resource efficient as possible, with reduced energy consumption and limited waste.

The first step is to ensure two steam boilers are integrated into the ABB Ability System 800xA for improved load sharing and optimized energy use. The entire saw line will be consolidated under a single control and information system, enabling better decisions by ensuring the right process information reaches operators at the right time.

The application area in a sawmill is new to both ABB and Moelven as the site is currently running with islands of automation, where each machine operates in its own space. The aim of the collaboration is to not only increase digitalization and result in higher levels of automation, but also realize a new standard in the industry’s operations for the long-term with interfaces between machines and modelling of the entire process flow.

Moelven already sources its materials from sustainable spruce and pine forests in Norway and Sweden, and has a vision of a connected, digital sawmill to create greater efficiencies in processing. It manufactures wood products for the home, lumbar for industry, glulam, building modules, flexible office solutions and wood chips for bioenergy.

Through the collaboration with Moelven there will be the potential for ABB to work with a number of Europe-based original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and technology innovators, ensuring the vision for the sawmill of the future is achieved successfully. ABB is committed to helping its customers reduce their emissions and preserve resources as part of its Sustainability Strategy 2030.

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