Success Stories

Oil & Gas

Blendcor – Situational Awareness Junkies

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Blendcor – control system upgrade within grease plant

Blendcor implemented a control system upgrade within their grease plant. Incorporation of a
customised situational awareness library based on AVEVA standards have improved operator
and engineering efficiency to further protect the sites assets.



The site, comprising approximately 53 000m2, is situated in Island View, Durban, with its frontage on 135 Honshu Road. The property is leased from the Transnet National Ports Authority and falls under the jurisdiction of the National Key Points Act. Both shareholders, Shell and BP, are part of the larger international organisations and as such Blendcor is considered an operating unit of these international companies. The performance of Shell and BP internationally is measured by the cumulative performances of the individual operating units. Hence, Blendcor is obliged to conform to the requirements of Shell and BP international standards in addition to the statutory, local, regional, and national requirements. Blendcor is committed to achieving business excellence, through attaining the best possible business results.

Business Challenges

Due to the limitations of its existing legacy monitoring and control infrastructure within Blendcor’s grease plant section there became a requirement to have an immediate upgrade strategy to improve the grease plant efficiency and lay the foundation for future expansions. Specifically, the following problem areas were identified:

  • Aging and unsupported control systems. Blendcor’s aging control system hardware and software resulted in lack of spare availability and support.
  • Compliance: legacy applications were only compatible with operating systems with completed life cycles, which made it difficult to comply Blendcor’s IT requirements.
  • Standards: No standardisation within the control programs and SCADA caused fault finding to be time consuming and inefficient.
  • Limited expansion capability with legacy equipment: the current control systems did not allow for the growth taking into consideration Blendcor’songoing efficiency improving projects.

Blendcor identified an upgrade strategy that focused on three major areas:

  • Utilising the latest server hardware and operating systems to transition from being on a workgroup network to the Blendcor domain.
  • Replace aging control system hardware and rewriting the software program using standards like that used within their blending plant.
  • Replace the standalone lnTouch 2012 system and replace it with AVEVA System Platform utilising modern standards.

The upgrade strategy required input form all major shareholders including but not limited to management, production personnel, C&I personnel and most importantly the operators.


The following upgrade strategy was chosen:

  • Aging and unsupported control systems: A control system switchover to the supported Mod icon M580 controller.
  • Compliance: Installation of the latest AVEVA System Platform supported by Windows Server 2016 in a virtualised environment.
  • Standards: Control program standards transferred from the blend plant to be utilised in the grease plant and the use of a Blendcor Situational Awareness Library built on the standards developed by AVEVA.

Blendcor’s project, engineering and production departments were integral to the successful deployment of the new system. The strategy implementation took months of planning and investigations.

Investigation 1 – Identifying the plant layout using the P&IDs as reference. It was found that there were many changes, and the current system did not reflect these changes.
Investigation 2 – Identifying the current control program operation which was made challenging due to no program comments or control philosophies being present.
Investigation 3 – Operator process challenges.

Planning Stage 1 – Introducing the visualisation and operational requirements from operations which included multiple thin slice demos and the introduction of the new situational awareness library.
Planning Stage 2 – Introducing the new control program standards based on the blend plant control programming standards.


Results of the upgrade

The new control system implementation was done in parallel with old current system and this allowed for quick transition back to the old system after testing. All testing was done in a live environment with Blendcor supplying ingredient batches for testing purposes. The implementation consisted of 3
test deployments and a 4th final deployment. Blendcor’s client demands meant that deployments could only be achieved during planned shutdowns, which consisted of multiple holiday breaks including a December shutdown.

The result of the successful upgrade:

  • Supervisory Control System: The new OMI applications created using situational awareness allows the operators to identify faults that were previously not visualised accurately.
  • Compliance: The incorporation of the AVEVA System Platform within a virtualised environment allows for the IT department to implement crucial security updates.
  • Software Lifespan: Subscription to AVEVA’s Customer First Support plan ensures that Blendcor always has the latest software updates available for incorporation.
  • Hardware Lifespan: Installation of the latest Modicon M580 CPU allows for an extended hardware lifecycle.
  • Expansion: The AVEVA System Platform installation allows Blendcor to incorporate other plant sections and areas into one centralised control system at a rapid rate.

About Blendcor

Some facts about Blendcor

  • Situated in Island View – port of Durban
  • Built in 1956 – as part of SAPREF (Shell & BP refinery)
  • Shell & BP 50/50 Joint venture
  • Incorporated into JV in 1992 as a co-ownership by Shell and BP
  • BP acquired Castrol business in 2000 and incorporated into Blendcor in 2002

About Blendcor

Some facts about Blendcor

  • Blending and filling of Lubes and greases
  • +600 SKUs (>150 grades)
  • +200ML capacity
  • +300 employees (Permanent and Contractor)

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