Dubai Aluminum Company Limited (DUBAL), one of the world’s largest aluminum producers, is using a Smart Wireless network from Emerson Process Management to better manage compressed air, and has cut energy use by 13 percent at its facility in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates.

Because of increasing demand for compressed air in each of the facility’s seven plant areas, the company sought a cost-effective way to monitor trends and spikes in air flow consumption. The new wireless network provides operators with real-time data around the clock.

“We now have more knowledge about the compressed air consumption in the plant and have therefore improved our ability to plan and control costs,” said Vivek K. Singh, DUBAL senior project engineer for Control & Instrumentation, Plant Engineering Services.

DUBAL connected 20 Rosemount 648 wireless transmitters onto its existing, hard-wired air flow meters, which are installed on the compressed air utility lines running along the plant periphery.

The wireless transmitters form a self-organizing field network and convert the meters’ 4-20 milliamp signal, transmitting the same to a Smart Wireless Gateway. The gateway sends the reliable signal data to DUBAL’s existing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system using IEC-approved WirelessHART protocol.

The new network has eliminated the need for operators to spend about two hours a day making rounds to the meters to record data manually. Previously, if the observer was not at a meter during a spike in usage, there was no way to identify when and where it had occurred.

The company chose wireless as a quick and cost-effective alternative to laying cable to connect its air flow meters to the SCADA system. That project was estimated to take three months and would have required tunneling in and providing electricity to an area that encompasses about 1 kilometer by 500 meters.

With Emerson’s assistance, the Smart Wireless installation was completed in less than three weeks without removing and reinstalling equipment or shutting down operations. Each device was commission in only 15 to 20 minutes. Emerson also provided support to DUBAL to ensure the system was properly integrated with its SCADA system, including providing a half-day of staff training.

The Smart Wireless network has performed perfectly despite harsh conditions in the area, including a strong magnetic field, heavy rain, sand storms and lightning.

This is the first wireless implementation for the 30-year-old company. DUBAL intends to install additional wireless networks in other parts of its plant, Singh said.

About Dubai Aluminum Company Limited (DUBAL)
DUBAL is the world’s largest modern aluminum smelter with a captive power station. The state-owned company was founded in 1979. Its facility in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, has the capacity to produce 960,000 tonnes of primary aluminum annually.

About Emerson Process Management
Emerson Process Management, an Emerson business, is a leader in helping businesses automate their production, processing and distribution in the chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp and paper, power, water and wastewater treatment, mining and metals, food and beverage, life sciences and other industries. The company combines superior products and technology with industry-specific engineering, consulting, project management and maintenance services. Its brands include PlantWeb, Syncade, DeltaV, Fisher, Micro Motion, Rosemount, Daniel, Ovation and AMS Suite.