Some refer to it as the control centre of the Legacy site. But Thomas Papst, Vice President of Engineering at K+S Potash Canada (KSPC), goes further in explaining the importance of the technologically advanced Plant Control System that operators will be using to “drive’’ the facility.
“The Plant Control System is the brain of the Legacy site,’’ says Papst. “It’s truly a complete control system.’’
KSPC employee Ashtyn navigating the Plant Control System in the control room.
Sitting in front of their system consoles in the central control room situated inside the maintenance building on site, operators working with the Plant Control System will be able to monitor and control all process areas of the mine. If a bearing in a pump in the wellfield begins to overheat, for example, an alarm will pop up on the operator’s monitor notifying him or her that there is an issue that must be addressed. “Or, if the Plant Control System is operating in automatic mode, it may automatically shut down the pump, no matter what the circumstances, in order to make sure the pump isn’t damaged,’’ says Papst.
Operators using the Plant Control System will monitor and control all six main process areas of the mine. In addition to the wellfield, these include the tank farm and utilities, the evaporation, wet end and dry end areas of the process plant and the storage and loadout area, where potash products will be loaded into rail cars bound for Port Moody, B.C. or customers in the U.S. The sophisticated Human Machine Interface (HMI) graphics employed by the Plant Control System were developed with input from operations. “The process engineers especially, but also superintendents, designed the graphics together,’’ says Papst. “It will be their design that they use as they operate the plant.’’
The Plant Control System comes with a state-of-the-art Operator Training Simulator (OTS) that can mimic Legacy site processes prior to commissioning and start-up.
“OTS allows us to ‘drive’ the plant from the simulator,’’ says Papst. “It’s just like a flight simulator.’’ Should the mine develop an issue once it’s in full operation, operators will be able