Control Systems Migrations in Phosphate Plants a Road Map for Success

Author(s): R. Brooks, J. O'Toole
American Institute of Chemical Engineers 40th Annual Clearwater Convention, June 10-11, 2016


Hatch is currently completing a staged control system migration for a phosphate producer to migrate from a legacy control system to a modern control system. Hatch has also completed similar projects previously in related industries such as potash. These projects reveal that there are options for control system migrations in mature phosphate plants (online versus offline; utilizing existing cabinets in existing footprints versus new cabinets requiring additional physical space/footprint, amongst other plant-specific considerations). For best results, the specific approach and option selected for a control system migration project has to be developed through an integrated Owner/Engineer/Vendor team which has a common understanding of the risks associated with the migration (cost, schedule, production, quality, and safety impacts) as well as a strategic mitigation plan in place to mitigate and, where possible, eliminate those risks.

This paper will address challenges in three areas as follows:

  • Project Challenges – Preliminary Steps; Detailed Planning; Migration Strategies
  • Migration Challenges – Development of ‘as-built’ documentation of existing field installation and control system functionality. Creation of software standards (alarm management, HMI graphical displays, and control system logic) and detailed control narratives for client-specific operating scenarios and unique plant control philosophies 
  • Operational Challenges – Migration of plant areas while plant is in operation to minimize production losses; customizing migration strategy for existing plant maintenance outages and detailed coordination with operations to capitalize on unscheduled downtimes