Freelance DCS at Wake Stone mining project

The number of mine control software applications and software load manhours reduced by 80%

How does a systems integration company with no experience in mining and DCS successfully commission, test and start-up a plant in a short period of eight weeks? Easy, they use the Freelance DCS.

Too many software applications to control a stone mine

Wake Stone Corporation, a recipient of numerous awards in strengthening public education and environmental causes, was founded in 1970. With quarries in east-central and eastern North Carolina, as well as South Carolina, Wake Stone has steadily grown to be the fourth largest crushed stone producer in North Carolina and one of the top 50 in the United States.

The existing SCADA/PLC system at Wake Stone involved too many software applications with an average software load time of almost 20 hours.

The customer was looking for a faster solution. Also the tight schedule of eight weeks made commissioning a challenge.

System Integrator with no previous DCS experience

Carolina Automation Systems (CAS), an automation integration company located in Garner, NC near Raleigh executed this project. Formerly known as Pharma Serv LLC, CAS has 25 years of experience in automation, instrumentation and control industry.

But both Wake Stone Corporation and Carolina Automation Systems (CAS) system integrator had no previous DCS experience. The engineers were required to develop both control and I/O loop drawings, construct control enclosures and write control sequences. There were minimal process flow diagrams and no existing software design specification.

As this was the first mining project for CAS, they required a user friendly system with a complete software package that integrated graphics, trends, alarms, reports and other communication protocols. A system, where all configured tags were managed in a single database and, it could be tested offline too.

Main facts

Industry Mining
Customer Wake Stone Corp.
Country United States

The Freelance DCS with:

System integrator
Carolina Automation Systems Inc. 

Kevin Fleming, President Carolina Automation Systems
"From its built in Alarm Bar to its auto-generated SFC Operator View page, not to mention its built in trending and historical record keeping, Freelance was the key to our customers satisfaction and overall project success.”

Freelance DCS: maximum automation with minimum engineering

ABB’s Freelance DCS matched the project requirements perfectly, providing maximum automation with minimum engineering.

A single easy to use engineering tool was used to commission and configure automation functions, the operator interface with displays and logs, and fieldbus parameters. This reduced the engineering time significantly. The predefined faceplates helped reduce tag numbers in the system.

The system also included a single tag database facilitating easy archiving/ backup, ready-made faceplates, improved redundancy, easy diagnostics and extended troubleshooting capabilities.

Using Freelance, CAS was able to engineer, commission, test and have the plant online in just eight weeks.

With Freelance, Wake Stone Corporation now have a powerful automation system that is not only cost-effective in terms of hardware and software, but is also very easy to use.

Jared K. Miedema, PE - Senior Mine Engineer, Wake Stone
"This project had a lot of difficulties and challenges, but none were related to our integrator or the Freelance system. This ABB product has provided the ability to create, manage and troubleshoot a complicated automated plant system.”
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