Wireless network boosts production at Samarco's Germano mine | Automation.com

Wireless network boosts production at Samarco's Germano mine

November 11, 2009 – Brazilian company Samarco, one of the world’s largest exporters of iron ore pellets, has seen a 12 percent increase in production at its Germano Mine in Mariana, Brazil, with the application of Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology to improve plant availability and protect key assets.

Emerson’s WirelessHART standard network uses Rosemount wireless flow and pressure transmitters to reliably monitor the seal water injection system of a dozen centrifugal pumps that remove reject material during the iron ore refining process. Fresh water is constantly injected into the operating pumps to consolidate the pump seals and to prevent the highly abrasive reject material from coming into contact with and damaging pump axels.

The new technology delivers accurate measurements via a Smart Wireless Gateway directly into the facility’s DeltaV automation system. Operators can easily review flow and pressure data through AMS Suite predictive maintenance software, looking for trends that indicate problems and adjusting the process or scheduling preventative maintenance before asset damage or plant stoppages occur.

The information provided by the new technology has increased availability at the Samarco facility and given operators the ability to boost production by 12 percent. The Germano Mine produces about 20 million tons/year of iron ore pellets.

“We can better protect our pumps from damage because we’re now able to identify potential faults in the pump seals,” said Luis Carlos, technician at the mine. “We avoid reactive maintenance and plant shutdowns. We’re also able to see how much clean water we’re using in the process.”

Prior to the installation of the Smart Wireless network, little flow or pressure data were collected from the pumps and the company experienced pump breakdowns weekly.

The self-organizing mesh network has performed reliably despite the dense concentration of pumps and pipes in the installation area and the fact that some equipment is located inside a tunnel, obstacles that would have made installing a hard-wired network difficult. Flooding, which occurs in the area during heavy rains, also would have been detrimental to a hard-wired network.

“According to our past experience, we estimate the wireless network cost 35% less than what it would have cost us to install a hard-wired network,” Carlos said. “Everything has been working reliably, despite the difficult environment.”

Smart Wireless is an extension of PlantWeb digital architecture that offers solutions for field instrumentation and plant operations. In addition to the products installed at Samarco, other wireless products include Fisher position monitors, Rosemount Analytical devices and Machinery Health Management transmitters, and native wireless interfaces to Ovation digital automation systems, and SmartStart services.

About Emerson Process Management
Emerson Process Management, an Emerson business, is a leader in helping businesses automate their production, processing and distribution in the chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp and paper, power, water and wastewater treatment, mining and metals, food and beverage, pharmaceutical and other industries. The company combines superior products and technology with industry-specific engineering, consulting, project management and maintenance services. Its brands include PlantWeb, Syncade, Fisher, Rosemount, Micro Motion, Daniel, DeltaV, Ovation, and AMS Suite.

About Emerson
Emerson (NYSE:EMR), based in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions to customers through its network power, process management, industrial automation, climate technologies, and appliance and tools businesses. Emerson’s sales in fiscal 2009 were $20.9 billion. The company is ranked 94th on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies.
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