Foxboro Selected By Dakota Gasification Company As Automation Partner For 5-Year Modernization Program

  • June 24, 2004
  • Schneider Electric
  • News
Will upgrade obsolete Honeywell and Bailey distributed control systems to state-of-the-art I/A Series automation platform using Foxboro's unique "plug in" system migration approachFOXBORO, MASSACHUSETTS - June 24, 2004 - Dakota Gasification Company (DGC), a subsidiary of Basin Electric Power Cooperative, has selected the Foxboro unit of Invensys Process Systems as automation partner for a five-year modernization project at the company's Great Plains Synfuels Plant located in Beulah, North Dakota. Constructed in the 1980s, the plant currently produces more than 54 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas annually. Plant byproducts include fertilizers, solvents, phenol, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals. Utilizing its unique "plug in" system migration approach, Foxboro will help DGC to gradually upgrade the company's obsolete Honeywell and Bailey control systems to advanced I/A Series automation technology. This approach enables legacy systems to be upgraded at minimum cost, with minimal risk, and with minimal process downtime by replacing the existing system I/O (input/output) modules with new I/A Series I/O modules designed to plug right into the existing system enclosures. Existing field wiring and I/O terminations are also retained. Prior to the actual system switchover, the existing control strategies are mapped to I/A Series control blocks and operator displays converted to the latest I/A Series graphical display technology. At DGC, approximately 17,000 I/O points will be migrated to the new system."While our legacy distributed control systems have served us well, it's clear that they have reached the end of their useful service lives," said A.T. Funkhouser, Engineering Manager at Dakota Gasification Company. "We looked at several different approaches for upgrading these obsolete systems to current automation technology and we're confident that Foxboro's approach represents the most cost-effective and lowest-risk solution for DGC." As automation partner to Dakota Gasification Company, Invensys advanced control, optimization, and asset management specialists will work closely with DGC personnel to leverage Foxboro, SimSci-Esscor, and other technology to help optimize production of synthetic natural gas and byproducts, reduce energy usage, and improve responsiveness to customers.About Dakota Gasification Company and the Great Plains Synfuels PlantThe Great Plains Synfuels Plant appears as a massive complex of pipes, towers, and buildings on the rolling North Dakota prairie. The plant is actually much more: it is part of an American dream. The 1970s energy crisis spawned a vision of greater U.S. energy independence. Abundant lignite resources underlying the North Dakota plains held promise as a vast synthetic fuel source. The Synfuels plant began operating in 1984 and today produces more than 54 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas annually. Coal consumption exceeds six million tons each year. Synthetic Natural Gas leaves the plant through a 2-foot diameter pipeline, traveling 34 miles south. There it joins the Northern Border Pipeline, which transports the gas to four pipeline companies. These companies supply thousands of homes and businesses in the eastern United States.About Invensys Process Systems Process Systems, a business unit of Invensys plc, provides products, services and solutions, for the automation and optimization of industrial process plants. Invensys Process Systems includes industry-leading brands such as Foxboro, Triconex, SimSci-Esscor, Wonderware, and Avantis, whose products are installed in more than 100,000 plants across the world. These range from small batch and hybrid plants to the world's largest refineries, gas plants, petrochemicals plants, power plants, and pulp and paper mills.The Invensys Group ( is headquartered in the UK and listed on the London Stock Exchange. With 42,000 employees operating in 60 countries, Invensys helps customers to improve their performance and profitability, building value for end users and shareholders alike.

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