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Company’s instrumental at QNI project

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When complete, Queensland Nickel’s Yabulu Refinery extension will process an intermediate nickel product called mixed hydroxide precipitate from the Ravensthorpe mine in Western Australia.

BHP Billiton owns Queensland Nickel and the Ravensthorpe mine.

Endress + Hauser Australia is the main instrument vendor for the project, which comprises over 3000 loops and 7000 I/O tags. The company has supplied around 650 field instruments tags worth over $2m.

Endress+Hauser has had an instrument engineer at the project offices for over six months to provide engineering assistance and help with instrument selection.

Yabulu Extension Project Joint Venture head engineer Ross Colvin says having an instrument engineer in the project design office using an automated database linked to the P&IDs and 3D modelling was important.

“This has led to a much greater understanding and response by the instrument supplier to the need for priority supply of certified 2D dimensional drawings of individual instruments to assist in the project 3D modelling process,” Colvin says.

“Simply completing an instrument datasheet, ordering instruments and providing appropriate catalogue data is no longer adequate in this 3D design environment,” he says.

“The project gains in instrument vendor expertise; plus timely supply of instrument GAs to the piping 3D design group has provided efficiencies in the project engineering process that far outweigh any consideration of differential costs in the capital value of instruments.

“In addition, learning the intricacies of one company’s products, rather than those from several different companies, saves time and money during commissioning and training as well as simplifying asset management, maintenance and spare parts holding,” Colvin says.

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