2012 – winter Issue

Canola Crushing Facility - Hallock, MN

An Interstates team is working near the far northern border of the United States on a greenfield canola crushing plant for Northstar Agri Industries, located just outside of Hallock, MN. Interstates is part of the design-build team responsible for the electrical and control systems aspects of the facility. The project includes design and engineering, control systems integration, all wiring, and installation of approximately 400 motors and 1,300 instruments. Electrical engineering began in November 2010 with construction underway in January 2011. The plant is expected to be operating in May 2012.

The Northstar Agri Industries project combines all Interstates disciplines. Interstates Engineering is leading the electrical design and engineering for the facility. They have had special focus on coordinating service with the local utility company. Interstates Instrumentation is providing the procurement, installation, and commissioning of some 1,300 instruments throughout the facility. Interstates Control Systems has designed a state of the art control system that will operate the entire plant. Interstates Construction is completing underground conduit, installation of electric rooms, and all wiring for the facility.

Northstar Agri Industries, with the guidance of Interstates Control Systems, has selected a state-of-the-art control system solution to operate and manage the entire facility. "There really is nothing newer on the market when it comes to DeviceNet communication," says Jim Vortherms, Senior Project Manager, Interstates Control Systems. "This control system will allow for future expansion and capability for maximum operational efficiency right from the beginning. Things such as data collection on each motor will allow for more efficient operation of the facility."

Additionally, Interstates has taken advantage of every prefabrication opportunity to reduce the installation time required on the job site. Using 3D modeling tools, the planning team and onsite field leadership have been able to prefabricate more than 45% of the electrical installation for this facility. The team has utilized three fully prefabricated electrical rooms. Each electrical room, roughly the size of a semi-trailer, was completely designed and constructed in our Hull, Iowa prefabrication facility and transported to the job location for final installation.

"Leveraging prefabrication is very important for keeping our manpower numbers as low as possible," says Chris Fischer, Project Manager, Interstates Construction Services. "When we can work with fewer people at the job site, it reduces trade stacking and minimizes safety risk. With much of the material and equipment constructed, tested, and installed away from the job site, our crews are able to get ahead of our work with a fully operating electric room. Using underground electrical installation is another area that helps with scheduling because it allows us to do more of the electrical construction early in the project schedule."

This plant, which will produce food grade canola oil, it is the first extraction and refinery plant (canola) to be constructed in the country. Processing capacity is planned at 1,000 tons of canola seed per day or 345,000 tons per year. The facility will have storage capacity for 830,000 bushels. In addition, the plant will create a protein-rich meal for poultry and dairy producers, similar to what is produced by a soybean crush plant.