Control system upgrade and hot-cutover for a Coke Battery and Byproducts facility.


Mining and Metals

Business Issue

The customer was using an outdated RMV 9000 control system and Level 2 Aspen Tech SETCIM data historian that was unsupported by Aspen Tech.  This system controlled critical processes – both coke production and the processing of volatile coke byproducts.  Due to significant maintenance issues and hard-to-find spare parts, the customer needed to upgrade to a state of the art control system and historian in order to prevent unplanned outages.

It was critical to the customer to maintain the project schedule.  The byproducts area of the plant would be difficult or impossible to control and cut over to a new system once winter weather set in.

Project Summary

New Control System and Historian – The customer decided to replace the control system with Emerson’s DeltaV and to replace the Level 2 system with a combination of an OSI PI enterprise data historian, Microsoft SQL Server, and web-based reports.

Hot-Cutover – Shutting down the coke and byproduct processes was not an option, due to inherent difficulties with the coke battery.  The intensely hot coke ovens could not be shut down and simply re-lined like the refractory in the walls of a blast furnace.  Shutting down the ovens would have likely led to a partial or complete disintegration of the coke battery.  Therefore a hot cutover to a new control system was required.  This would mean lifting hot signal wires from one live system to the other. 

Challenges – There was a lack of space to install the DeltaV hardware into the cabinets with the old system.  Only after the completion of the hot-cutover could the old system be demolished and the DeltaV system moved into the control cabinets.  The flexibility of the DeltaV hardware design made it possible to move individual terminals independently of the IO cards allowing the use of temporary mounting racks.

Scope Responsibility

Cornerstone Controls was responsible for the following areas:

  • Generate a comprehensive set of mechanical and electrical designs for the project.
  • Contracted and coordinated all panel and related hardware fabrication.
  • Prepared an electrical bid specification package which was used to solicit quotes from three electrical contractors
  • Presented the bid specification on site and led the plant tour with the contractors
  • Supervised the work at the project site though daily updates of the project schedule
  • Prioritized issues lists were made each day and discussed with the electrical contractor.
  • Support Services personnel onsite commissioned the DeltaV hardware, servers and workstations
  • Provided all hardware, electrical and network related drawing sets.
  • Developed the Level 2 replacement solution.


The on-site work was completed on time, enabling the hot cut-over to start before winter.  The DeltaV system, Level 2 replacement system, control panels, temporary mounting racks, and network cabinets performed exactly as designed.  The hot cut-over was completed ahead of schedule without any significant problems.

NOTE: Once DeltaV was in place, many parts of the old system were sold to a refinery in Louisiana.  The control system at the refinery was extensively damaged during hurricane Katrina.  Locating these obsolete spare parts was a critical part of the solution.