Editor’s brief: With the meteoric rise of electric vehicles (EV) and digital devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, many battery producers for EV and digital devices are hunting for nickel producers. As Nickel West, subsidary of BHP, scales up to meet emerging and future demands, it needed to advance its safety control and systems further. Nickel West saw a need to scale its Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) to ensure the operational safety of machines. Recently, Nickel West modernized with HIMA’s HIQuad X safety systems to ensure a smoother production and operation.
SINGAPORE — Nickel West, a fully integrated mine-to-market nickel producer, part of one of the world’s leading producers of major commodities BHP in Australia, has upgraded and modernized its process safety systems with HIMA’s HIQuad X safety systems, to guarantee continued high performance and high availability.
BHP is one of the world’s top producers of major commodities, with numerous mineral, technological and petroleum businesses under its fold, including Nickel West. Nickel West, based in Western Australia, houses over 3,500 employees and contractors, and produces over 75% of the nickel now sold to global battery material suppliers. Additionally, Nickel West’s Kwinana Nickel Refinery refines granulated nickel into premium-grade nickel powder and briquettes containing 98.8% nickel.
For mining operations, reliability and safety are paramount. As the operation scales towards becoming the leading supplier to the battery components market, Nickel West saw a need to scale its Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) at its Reduction Area. SIS are critical safety systems in process industries, being a set of hardware and software to manage process workflow and systems to ensure safety controls, provide alerts, minimize and help mitigate. As Nickel West scaled its operations, its existing HQ41 safety controllers reached capacity. Rather than simply upgrade incrementally to the HQ51 safety controllers, Nickel West decided to leapfrog to the HIMA HIQuad X HQ51X safety controllers.
High availability with zero downtime changeover
A step up from the field-proven HIMA HIQuad, the HIQuad X solutions have been instrumental in providing high dependability and performance in many safety systems around the world for over 20 years. The Nickel West modernization combines the tried-and-tested HIQuad input and output (I/O) technology with the high-availability and high-performance HIMax system technology. With shorter cycle times through parallel processing of I/O modules, higher system availability and reduced engineering efforts enabled by SILworX software, HIQuad X is sure to deliver as a flexible, scalable safety controller. For mission-critical plants and facilities such as Nickel West, it is imperative to maintain as little downtime as possible with maximum operational continuity, including that of change-over time during upgrades and maintenance. HIMA’s HIQuad X safety systems allow for seamless changeover with no downtime, perfect for organisations such as Nickel West’s Kwinana Nickel Refinery which successfully expanded and upgraded their systems without large penalty costs due to component change-overs.
Over at Nickel West’s power plants, the original I/O modules and racks, marshalling cabinets and field wiring were all retained, saving costs while allowing for uptime even with the migration of controllers. This seamless changeover overcame challenges with a ‘rip & replace’ option, even when an alternative vendor’s system was utilized. HIMA’s products are cross-compatible with many vendors’ components, and help to defray implementation costs while assuring compatibility and prevent obsolescence.
SILworX software minimizes risks
NIckel West migrated from its ELOP sofware to the SILworX software to program and configure all HIMA safety-related controllers and diagnose errors in an intuitive user interface. Adopting the SILworX software reduces user errors and promotes faster engineering – allowing for quicker adaptions to new requirements almost immediately. SILworX software reduces risks for Nickel West for future system and process upgrades, while promoting more efficient and continuous operations.
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