Calling All Coal Carrying Ships to Port

Transportation infrastructure near coal power plants is vitally important, especially to those that are somewhat geographically isolated. Most cities in Chile are west of the vast Andes mountain range. Chile, unlike Venezuela and other countries in South America, is not a large producer of coal. This means most of its coal has to be imported, making ports essential.

A new coal power plant was built in Coronel, Chile in early 2010. Before ships carrying coal could be called to port in Coronel, Chile, a system had to be installed for this purpose from the ground, or sea level up.

Puerto de Coronel S.A., a leading multi-purpose port in Chile and the largest port operating in the Bio Bio region, has been in operating in the Bay of Coronel since 1996. The port had the challenge of building a 5 conveyor system to transfer coal from the incoming ships over a total of 3 kilometers of ocean in 2010.  Each conveyor had either a ControlLogix or CompactLogix PAC with Siemens drives. Cranes would grab loads of coal off ships and place the coal onto the conveyors.

The challenge: Operate the process as robust as possible and allow each family of automation equipment to communicate despite being from different vendors.

EISER, the systems integrator, decided to utilize a communication network over fiber optic Ethernet at the PAC level to carry all the process information to the SCADA system. ProSoft Technology’s MVI56 and MVI69 PROFIBUS modules were chosen as the in-chassis modules used for the ControlLogix and CompactLogix controllers respectively to communicate and collect information from  the Siemens drives.

This allowed the Puerto de Coronel S.A. to collect information and command the motors that move the conveyor belts in a completely integrated system.

“As a Rockwell Automation Systems Integrator, we decided to use ProSoft Technology solutions, because of the local support in the region, available documentation and good experiences in similar applications we’ve implemented,” said Jorge Toledo Jara, an EISER engineer.

Jara explained that there weren’t any problems implementing the ProSoft Technology PROFIBUS modules. Installation was simple. “The technical documentation was accurate,” he said. “Thanks to the simplified configuration of the Prosoft Technology’s modules using ProSoft Configuration Builder software, the start-up of the PROFIBUS DP network and control system in general, was very simple and fast.”


With the addition of the ProSoft Technology PROFIBUS modules, Puerto de Coronel has a robust and reliable PROFIBUS communication link between the PACs and the Siemens drives that control each of the conveyors.