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Stratus Technologies and Rockwell Automation ensure always-on availability of asset management system

21 November 2018

Albian Sands Energy Inc. runs the oil sands mining operation at the Muskeg River Mine located 75 kilometers north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. In oil sands mining, a mix of oil and sand is removed from just below the surface using shovels and trucks. This material is mixed with warm water to separate the oil from the sand.

At full production, the Muskeg River Mine produces 155,000 barrels per day (bpd) of bitumen, a naturally occurring thick oil comprised mainly of hydrocarbons, for the Athabasca Oil Sands Project.

The Muskeg River Mine and the Scotford Upgrader together comprise the Athabasca Oil Sands Project, a joint venture of Shell Canada Limited, Chevron Canada Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of ChevronTexaco Corp.) and Western Oil Sands Inc. The amount of oil and oil-related products produced by the Athabasca Oil Sand Project could fill one in three cars in Alberta. It will supply 10 percent of Canada’s oil needs. The Muskeg River Mine stands on Shell Canada Limited’s Lease 13.

The Problems Managing Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)

Albian Sands needed a reliable and efficient way to maintain its automation system at the processing facilities. Downtime is expensive and there are many people and automation components involved in keeping the processing facilities running. A sophisticated asset management solution was required to maintain prompt access to PLCs for maintenance purposes and prompt access to the software running on these PLCs. It was also important to maintain security and version control for this software, including the proper audit trail functions.

Albian Sands turned to Rockwell’s RSMACC solution to provide the necessary capabilities. Rockwell Software Maintenance Automation Control Center (RSMACC) offers an integrated, modular approach that lets Albian Sands protectively and centrally manage their automated production environment.

By providing a single point of access for gathering, analyzing, and managing control system information across the enterprise, RSMACC provides Albian Sands with the knowledge they need to make better maintenance and operational decisions.

The Need for Continuous Operation

Because of the critical nature of this system, where access to the RSMACC system may be required without delay, a very highly reliable system to provide the RSMACC services was required. Downtime of RSMACC can lead to costly delays in maintenance.

Rockwell and Albian Sands turned to Stratus Technologies for its everRun® software to provide Albian Sands the highest levels of availability for their RSMACC system. The system was set up in a very short time and passed the required tests immediately.

Stratus everRun software synchronizes two standard Microsoft® Windows® servers to create a virtual application environment that runs a single license of RSMACC on both servers simultaneously. If a device or even an entire server fails, RSMACC continues to operate uninterrupted. All redundancies and failures are completely transparent to the applications and users.

Applications are installed, run, managed and accessed through the single virtual server, eliminating the need to license, install and manage multiple copies as required in clustering and failover situations.

“The Stratus solution for RSMACC offers us the high level of availability we need for our critical asset management system at the oil sands operations,” says Steven Korum, Control Systems Specialist at Albian Sands Operations. “The Stratus system has worked extremely well for us and has been very easy to manage.”

For more information, please visit: www.stratus.com
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