Nickel Processing Plant Cuts Costs with FieldQ VOS

Helicopter view of a plantUsed in everything from mobile phones, food preparation equipment, and medical devices, nickel-containing materials play an essential role in everyday life. And as nickel use continues to grow, especially for nickel-based alloys used in gas turbines and chemical plants, the Long Harbour Processing Plant (LHPP) in Newfoundland, Canada uses hydrometallurgy technology to produce 50,000 tons of finished nickel and associated copper and cobalt products from nickel ore concentrate per year. 

A widely accepted process in the metal industry, hydrometallurgy uses water-based chemicals to extract and recover metals from minerals. Unlike traditional smelting, hydrometallurgy has many benefits including no dust emissions, increased nickel and cobalt recovery, and reduced energy demands. To control this process, over 600 automated on/off valves were required, most of which were to be subjected to severe service conditions. 

 These “severe service” factors included high pressure and temperature, humidity and corrosion, and abrasive or dirty environments—all of which can inhibit the ability of a device to provide acceptable levels of performance.  The ideal solution for these challenging applications had to incorporate a reduction in complexity of the control system, while at the same time providing better corrosion resistance, improved performance and controls, and increased safety benefits.  

 The Emerson project team turned to the FieldQ Valve Operating System (VOS) solution, as it’s comprised of a unique integrated control module which not only met the customer’s stringent technical requirements, but also provided up-front and long-term cost savings versus a conventional valve control system. 

 After implementing the FieldQ VOS, plant operators now have the ability to operate continuously in the humid and corrosive environment without excessive maintenance or lengthy work stoppages for repair.  The VOS is equipped with a built-in “re-breather” function that prevents corrosive atmospheres from entering the actuator spring chamber during the spring stroke, and all wiring and cables are protected from mechanical damage and wired to a common junction box. 

 At the business level, these types of benefits have translated into a significant reduction in the number of spare parts needed, the ability to repair and change out components quickly, and best of all a calculated 52% cost savings over conventional solutions.

Learn more about the FieldQ Valve Operating System (VOS). Click here. 

 See the integrated and modular features of the FieldQ Integrated Pneumatic Actuator. Click here.