Tradebe implements the Rockwell Automation PlantPAx control system to automate the new Barcelona hydrocarbon terminal


Suris, a system integrator, implements an open process system to control, automate and monitor the Tradebe port infrastructure, reducing operation complexity and costs

Tradebe is a leading international company on industrial waste management with annual turnover of €400 million in 2014. The company operates more than 60 fixed plants in Europe (Spain, United Kingdom, France) and in the United States. Tradebe employs 2,130 people worldwide.

Recently it launched a new hydrocarbon terminal, located at the Energy dock in the Barcelona port. It’s a groundbreaking plant due to the speed and flexibility to load and unload gasoline, gas oil, kerosene and all types of fuels. The plant has 29 big tanks with a total capacity of 453,000 m³. It is able to operate with supertankers of up to 175,000 tonnes. The power and efficiency of its premises allow a 24-tonne truck to be loaded in less than 20 minutes.

The terminal also has five loading bays, with simultaneous loading of several products, and includes the latest technology to mix products and add additives in-line. Finally, it has three berths to load/unload ships in order to distribute fuels to other ports and countries.

The company has invested a total of €65 million in this plant and created one of the biggest logistics and distribution centres in the Mediterranean.

A distinctive feature of this terminal is that it is split into two connected lots, a kilometre apart. One lot is for light hydrocarbons, like JET, gasoline and diesel, and the other for heavy products like fuel oil. Usually the management of these port facilities is supported by proprietary solutions, exclusively developed for this industry. However, SURIS, a Rockwell Automation System Integrator managing the electric installation and the control and automation system, chose to implement open tools that enable different communication protocols to interact with corporate systems – all this in accordance with SIL 2 control and security standards. “We were searching for open, scalable and secure solutions that did not increase systems costs and complexity, but were also able to meet all necessary requirements for the dimensions of this facility,” states the Technical Manager of SURIS.

For this reason, the company chose solutions from Rockwell Automation. According to the manager, “these solutions seamlessly cover all the terminals’ needs–from the most basic controller to the monitoring software.” In addition the site was integrated utilising virtual solutions and the total project had to be completed in six months.”

SURIS chose the PlantPAx® distributed control system from Rockwell Automation because it offered scalability, flexibility and easy integration of skids or third-party units. The solution was designed utilising EtherNet/IP™ and included a complete and integrated information rich operator workstations (OWS)   and engineering workstations (EWS) providing KPIs for better management decisions.

As a result, the system can easily integrate different terminal equipment, including the tank level measurement system, motor-driven valve network and starters, frequency converters, platform scales, energy monitors, load controllers in the truck loading stations, and other third-party systems.

An EtherNet/IP network was implemented, consisting of one Ethernet network at the physical level and several logic networks (VLAN) that provide the system with the best available level of accessibility, visibility and security, and helps ensure optimal communication performance through segmentation of the existing traffic. Stratix 8000™ modular managed ethernet switches were used and the network was segmented into three logic networks: one for I/O, a second one for TCP/IP communication and a third network to connect controllers and PASS visualisation servers.

Safety elements were implemented to meet the SIL 2 requirements of the hazard and operability study (Hazop) report for the site. For this purpose an ESD (emergency shutdown) system was installed, in parallel with the process control system. The core element in the safety system is a GuardLogix® controller seamlessly integrated into the plant-wide PlantPAx solution; it can support up to SIL 2 safety applications.

For the terminal visualisation and information, PlantPAx servers (Process Automation System Server, PASS) and OWS are used. Information exchange between the control system and the terminal management ERP system is aided by FactoryTalk® Transaction Manager which helps provide excellent information flow between the corporate system and the control system.

All the application servers have been implemented on a virtual infrastructure streamlining the number of physical servers and helping to increase the system lifecycle and availability. In addition, maintenance has been simplified.

Since the completion of the new TRADEBE hydrocarbon terminal, “the Rockwell Automation PlantPAx distributed control system is working seamlessly” states the Services Manager of TRADEBE. “It’s a very rugged system and all devices integrate perfectly, thus easing the plant management and automation, resulting in cost savings and less complexity,” he adds.

“The combination of scalable and flexible solutions enabled TRADEBE to integrate the plant, both for control and safety. The open communication allowed us to easily integrate third-party equipment. Likewise, it streamlined data capture and allowed information to flow to our corporate systems.”

SURIS reiterated the advantages gained. ”We have been able to work with open tools and protocols, as well as the flexibility and modularity of all Rockwell Automation equipment. What’s more”, he continues, “scaling the solution according to our needs, anytime and anywhere, has made the implementation much easier.”


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