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June 25, 2008
Alcoa Wins Prestigious Australian National Award for Process Control System that Links Alcoa Alumina Refineries Worldwide
NEW YORK--One of the largest process control projects in the world undertaken by
Alcoa World Alumina and Honeywell, QUASAR (Quality Automation Solutions
in Alumina Refining), was awarded Engineers Australia’s
2007 National Project Excellence Award in Automation, Control and
Instrumentation at an awards ceremony in Melbourne this month.
The complex global project was Australian lead, with a project cost of
more than A$400 million (over A$150 million just in Australia) and aimed
to link seven Alcoa refineries in four different continents to one core
process control system, QUASAR.
Alcoa’s QUASAR Global Program Manager Dr.
Dennis Mason said, “Controlling production in
an alumina refinery is a difficult task. Productivity and safety rely on
reliable, real-time, process information, so that the alumina refining
process and equipment can be monitored, maintained, and adjusted to get
the maximum benefit.
“As a global leader in alumina production, we
realized to continue to succeed in the global commodity business, we
must have the ability to produce alumina safely at the lowest possible
“In addition to our operating practices, we
recognized that automation, process control and instrumentation were
going to be some of the key business drivers to give us a significant
competitive advantage, and that’s how QUASAR
was born in 2001.”
Alcoa World Alumina decided to take process control at its seven
refineries around the world (three in Western Australia, three in
Central and South America and one in Europe) to a new level –
aiming to implement the same system in each plant, with full integration
to enable global knowledge sharing, remote monitoring, 24/7 support, and
best practice benchmarking capabilities.
By working with Honeywell, a suite of advanced process control
applications and newly developed instrumentation were used on top of a
revamped infrastructure layer to deliver several benefits. Among them,
reduced alumina process variability and the ability to operate the
refineries closer to their practical limits, all while using less energy
and raw materials. This, in turn, increased production rates, improved
process efficiencies, and reduced waste and emissions at the refineries.
The benefits for Alcoa at the Western Australian sites alone:
have exceeded A$8 million per year in savings, including reductions in
green house gases and raw material usage;
contributed around A$40 million to the local economy through
and, have shown that automation, control and instrumentation, and the
advanced control applications have not only reduced environmental
incidents but have allowed safer operation of the plants and quicker
stabilization from adverse plant events.
Dr. Mason said, “Shared leadership, resources,
engineering ingenuity and technology have worked together to deliver the
most significant step change in the way process control technology is
success demonstrates what is possible with innovative design, sound
engineering practices, strong project management and well developed
“With all the hard work undertaken by so many
people around the world, it is fantastic to be recognized alongside
Honeywell by Engineers Australia for this project.”
Dave Olney, Vice President, Technology, Alcoa of Australia concluded, “The
QUASAR program has been a significant and very successful undertaking.
It has delivered major benefits to our business, largely through
capturing and leveraging the creative talent of Honeywell and Alcoa in
process control automation across Alcoa’s
Alcoa (NYSE:AA) is the world leader in the production and management of
primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina combined, through its
active and growing participation in all major aspects of the industry.
Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and
construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing
design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's
businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components
including flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings,
Alcoa also markets Alcoa® wheels, fastening
systems, precision and investment castings, and building systems. The
Company has 97,000 employees in 34 countries and has been named one of
the top most sustainable corporations in the world at the World Economic
Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com