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MDA Technologies 4/2014

MDA Technologies 4/2014

Drive

Drive Technologies Improving process control at Arab Potash Company Arab Potash Company (APC) is a major producer of potash, an essential mineral used for example in fertilizers. APC’s plant in Ghor Al Safi, approximately 110 km south of Amman in Jordan, has been extended several times to increase and optimize production. Vacon AC drives have been used at the site since 2006 to control pumps and process equipment. The business relationship is growing continuously. extra mechanical stress on the parts. Pump control with Vacon AC drives also reduces energy consumption by 20 %. This is achieved by continuously adjusting the speed of the motor according to process requirements. The power required by the drive is proportional to the speed of the driven equipment. This means that even a small drop in speed leads to huge energy savings. Potash production at Arab Potash Company’s site in Ghor Al Safi began in 1983 with an annual capacity of 1.2 million tons. In 2012, APC produced 1.8 million tons of potash and aims at further increasing its annual capacity to 2.5 million tons. To achieve this, APC has both upgraded its existing production lines and built new ones, such as a cold crystallization plant. Variable speed drives supplied in the 1990s by another manufacturer have been replaced with Vacon AC drives, and most of these are used to control pumps and other process equipment. Vacon has supplied to the site Vacon NXC, Vacon NXP and Vacon NXS drives in the range of 2.2 kW to 710 kW (400 V and 690 V) with an approximate installed power of 26 MW. All drives are in IP54 enclosures, which means that the drives can be installed in the process environment without any extra protection. The Profibus-DP protocol is used for communication. The deliveries also include dust filters, panel heaters, motor temperature protection modules, contactor units, line isolators and dU/dt filters. Optimum pump control and significant energy savings Put simply, the key process in the potash recovery at Ghor Al Safi involves pumping water (brine) from the Dead Sea into huge salt ponds and then, after solar evaporation, pumping the concentrated brine on to the processing plants to produce the final product, potassium chloride. The operation of these pumps is controlled by Vacon AC drives. Using the drives improves process control and enables optimum pump control, resulting in a steady flow and pressure. By accelerating the pump motors quickly but smoothly to their running speed, the drives help avoid Easy to operate and monitor Continuous monitoring of the process is important for the quality of the end product. “Vacon AC drives are reliable and easy to operate. They have extensive communication possibilities which enable us to have full control and to monitor the drives over the DCS and SCADA automation systems at all the plants,” says Mr. M Owadeh, Electrical & Instruments Manager, Arab Potash Company. APC’s strategy is to rely on strategic long term associations, geographical advantages and high quality service. Cooperation between Arab Potash Company and Vacon started in 2006 when the companies signed a contract for high power drives worth more than one million euros. In 2011 and 2012, the companies signed several other contracts. Vacon’s long term partner in Jordan, Younes Khader Trading, has provided technical, commissioning and after sales 24 MDA Technologies 4/2014

Drive Technologies 01 Arab Potash Company’s Ghor Al Safi site is located 110 kilometers south of Amman and 200 kilometers north of Aqaba in Jordan What is Potash? Potash refers to a group of potassium (K) bearing minerals and chemicals. The compound, Potassium Chloride (KCL), refers to a naturally occurring, pink, salty mineral. KCL is the dominating mineral in the world potash market. Potash is an important mineral used in the fertilizer industry, which plays a significant role in producing more and more high-quality agricultural products for the world’s growing population. support locally. Younes Khader is Vacon’s authorized service centre and provides repair facilities, spare parts and training. Mr. Mohammad Y. Khader, General Manager of the company says: “We have been working with Vacon for the past 15 years and are pleased to say that this long-term partnership has resulted in having loyal customers such as APC, which has approved Vacon as their variable speed AC drives supplier. Keeping in stock Vacon variable speed AC drives up to 355 kW and spare parts for drives up to 710 kW, and offering 24-hour service have a great impact in the area where the customer’s needs are served immediately.” As the result of years of cooperation, mutual trust among the partners is strong. “Thanks to the high quality of the Vacon variable speed AC drives and the qualified Vacon service centre with training facilities available nearby, we recommend Vacon AC drives for our coming projects and for our OEM suppliers, such as FLSmidth which supplies us with harvesters from the USA,” says Mr. M Owadeh, Electrical & Instruments Manager, Arab Potash Company. Ismo Korhonen, Vacon’s Regional Sales Director for the Gulf Region, is very honored by the long-term cooperation with Arab Potash Company. “Our first agreement with Arab Potash Company in 2006 was an excellent breakthrough for us, particularly in the Middle East region, and an indication of the trust that customers have in us and our products. We are extremely glad that APC has chosen us as their AC drives supplier and that our business relationship is today continuing to grow positively,” he says. Vacon has had a presence in the United Arab Emirates since 2005, with its office located in the Dubai Airport Free Zone, the region’s premier free zone destination. It has a Regional Service & Training Centre in the UAE and provides efficient services and support to all its clients in the Middle East, either directly or through well-established service partners. Photographs: iStockphoto.com/hildr and courtesy of Arab Potash Company www.vacon.com 02 The Vacon AC drives reduces energy consumption by 20 About Company name: Vacon PLC Headquarters: Vaasa, Finland Turnover: 403.0 million Euros Employees: approx. 1,600 worldwide Products: AC drives, solar inverters, wind power converter MDA Technologies 4/2014 25

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