Nyrstar Hobart has awarded a $2.5 million+ order to Rockwell Automation and its Global Solutions team to replace a distributed control system (DCS) at the company’s zinc smelting operation in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia with the Rockwell Automation PlantPAx process automation system.

“Our current DCS would be cost-prohibitive to upgrade. Hardware was failing and repairs were becoming expensive and requiring longer lead times. The Rockwell Automation solution provides us with better integration between different process areas, improved diagnostics, maintaining plant uptime and delivering improved plant performance reporting,” said Jeremy Kouw, general manager, Nyrstar Hobart.

According to research performed by the ARC Advisory Group, the global process industry loses approximately $20 billion annually, or about 5% of annual production, due to unscheduled downtime from aging DCS systems.

Rockwell Automation won the order by developing a three-year phased integration with a back-up option that uses custom input/output cabling to ensure process continuity, coupled with technical support for the existing installation. NHP Electrical, a Rockwell Automation authorized distributor, provided long-term committed support to the project, which also weighed in the favor of Rockwell Automation.

“This represents a milestone for us given the size and complexity of the DCS conversion,” said Terry Gebert, vice president and general manager, Rockwell Automation Global Solutions. “We won the order over two major process automation companies, based on the excellent support we provide for the existing operation and a clear vision of control conversion to a long-term sustainable operation. The order includes project management, application engineering, system cutover engineering, hardware and software. Our experience, domain expertise and global resources will help Nyrstar Hobart in this critical conversion from a legacy DCS system.”

Nyrstar Hobart’s Australian facility is one of the world’s largest zinc smelters with a capacity of 280,000 metric tons (mt). It produces zinc and zinc alloys that are exported primarily to Asia. The existing DCS operates process control for roast-leach purification electrolysis, acid plant and water treatment.

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