ABB Adds Service Contract to South Pacific Orders


By Andrew Bond, Industrial Automation Insider

Dec 02, 2009

Epitomizing the operations services whose growth has contributed to services overall now accounting for more than 50% of the global DCS market, ABB has won a $19-million, three-year contract to provide onsite process control systems service and maintenance at Vale Inco's nickel and cobalt plant on the South Pacific island of New Caledonia, 750 miles (1200km) off Australia's eastern seaboard. The nickel and cobalt deposit on New Caledonia's Goro plateau is one of the largest in the world, and the Vale Inco Nouvelle Caledonie facility is expected to produce 60,000 metric tons of nickel oxide and between 4,300 and 5,000 metric tons of cobalt carbonate annually.

ABB's service contract forms part of an overall solution package offered to Vale Inco and includes ongoing optimization and maintenance of the plant's System 800xA process automation system. ABB has secured a number of significant equipment orders for the project since 2005, including the supply and engineering of the process control system and the design, engineering and supply of low-voltage switchgear, low-voltage variable- speed drives, turbine protection and control panels, portable switch rooms and the remote fit-out and cabling of the switch rooms, including transformers and medium voltage drives.

Total combined value of orders awarded to ABB from Vale Inco Nouvelle Caledonie to date is just under $90 million.

TÜV Rheinland-approved functional safety engineers based at ABB's St Neots, U.K. Safety Execution Center now number 200, all of whom have completed the rigorous program of training and passed the relevant exams mandated by the TÜV Functional Safety Program. Candidates for TÜV training must have a minimum of three to five years experience in the field of functional safety and either an engineering degree or equivalent engineer level responsibilities certified by their employer. "Functional safety is all-embracing, " explained ABB principal safety consultant Stuart Nunns. "It not only covers the safety systems themselves, but also aspects of their life cycle and supply chains that together ensure that they perform the required safety function as designed."

The St Neots center was the first organization in the U.K. to be certified by TÜV Rheinland and the first of 14 ABB Safety Execution Centers worldwide to implement the functional safety management system and achieve certification. It builds safety systems based on ABB's TÜV-certified System 800xA HI, PlantGuard and SafeGuard safety solutions.

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