Foundation Fieldbus Modernization of a fertilizer complex using Foundation Fieldbus with diagnostic functions

Author / Editor: Stefan Kappel / Dr. Jörg Kempf

To update their fertilizer production in Alexandria, Egypt, the Abu Qir Fertilizers and Chemical Industries Company (AFC) assigned the revamping of their existing plants to Uhde Services. In cooperation with Honeywell Process Solutions as supplier for control systems and physical-layer-specialist Turck, Uhde Services converted the complex to Foundation Fieldbus, including detailed diagnostic functions for a comprehensive asset management system.

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165 eight channel JBBS-49SC-T815 junction boxes from Turck guarantee a safe connection between the field devices and the DPC-systems. (Picture: Turck)
165 eight channel JBBS-49SC-T815 junction boxes from Turck guarantee a safe connection between the field devices and the DPC-systems. (Picture: Turck)

The Abu Qir Fertilizers and Chemical Industries Company (AFC) in Alexandria, Egypt, is one of the leading manufacturers of nitrogenous fertilizers in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East. The company has more than 3,300 employees and relies on international standards during production and quality management, including ISO 9001/2000. To guarantee environmentally friendly and efficient production, the plants in Alexandria are continuously being upgraded and optimized. The use of modern automation solutions for ammonia plants is critical in the fertilizer industry because it provides increases in production and energy savings.

“With the Abu-Qir-revamp-project, a large fertilizer plant in North Africa is being converted into an ultra-modern automation solution for the first time,” says Dr Bernd Jordan, Head of Electrical and Instrumentation at Uhde Services. The service provider Uhde, a fully owned subsidiary of Thyssen Krupp, develops individual concepts for industrial plants worldwide for modernization and increased production, for maintenance, compliance with environmental standards, and increased cost and performance efficiency. The focus of Uhde lies with the power plant technology, mineral oil processing, chemical, as well as the petrochemical industry.

Because of the geographical position of the fertilizer complex, the Foundation Fieldbus wiring as well as the Foundation Fieldbus system components must meet very high standards. The ambient temperature usually lies between 3 and 45 °C and the surface temperature can rise up to 75 °C in direct sunlight. A relative humidity of about 85 percent as well as the chemical and the mechanical demands through urea, ammonium nitrate, dust and sand complete the profile of requirements.

The revamp-project can be divided into two parts: Foundation Fieldbus loops for measurements and process control as well as ESD-loops for fail safe plant monitoring. All in all, 350 devices in hazardous classified areas and 1,050 devices in unclassified areas had to be connected via Foundation Fieldbus, divided into 220 segments — 60 each in the ammonia plant, the nitric acid plant and the utilities and factory services, plus 40 more for the visualization. After a search for a suitable solutions partner for the Foundation Fieldbus installations in Abu Qir, the general contractor Uhde Services and the operator of the plant selected Turck, the sensor, fieldbus, and interface specialist. “Turck wasn’t just able to provide us with an extensive Foundation Fieldbus portfolio, but also with detailed diagnostic functions that make a new Foundation Fieldbus installation all the more efficient,” says Markus Mahlandt, Project Engineer E&CI Engineering Uhde Services.