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Pilot plant automation

Dring, Joshua (2012) Pilot plant automation. Other thesis, Murdoch University.

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The Murdoch university pilot plant is widely used throughout the instrumentation and control engineering major. This plant allows students to implement the fundamental theoretical knowledge learnt in earlier years on a real industrial plant. This miniaturized Bayer process plant, which runs cutting edge control hardware and software, is a core asset to Murdoch University and it is essential that the system be maintained to the highest of standards. This project aims to maintain the operation of the plant, while expanding the system by implementing an automation program.

The implementation of this project will be contributing to previous works by a number of previous students and will finish this particular proposal. The design requirements of this project include a system that demonstrates the functionality of the plant. This program must include transit of water through the system and adequately provide an example of the functionality of the system. Secondary objectives include maintaining the plant between long periods of dormancy and this will include instrument manipulation so all sections of the plant stay active during this period.

This proposal was solved by carefully designing the automation program, simulating different aspects of the system and carrying out intense testing. The automation program was successfully implemented and provided adequate operation to demonstrate the functionality of the pilot plant. This program also met the design requirements to cycle the instruments to reduce maintenance issues over the long periods of dormancy. Other accomplishments that were undertaken throughout the semester include the improvement and documentation of the system code, hardware additions, component replacement and servicing.

The research undertaken over the semester has generated many other ideas that would improve the system further. These have been assessed and work has commenced on the execution of these ideas, however future work is needed to finish these goals. These include finishing the code restructuring of the entire plant, according to the generated programming standards, implementation of new hardware and the completion of the instrument servicing.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Cole, Graeme and Vu, Linh
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