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Spartan Controls Announces Five Year Research & Development Commitment to the University of Alberta

December 7, 2016

CALGARY, ALBERTA – In conjunction with Emerson, Spartan Controls is pleased to announce we have made a five-year research and development commitment to the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. Both companies have joined industry partners Syncrude and Cenovus as well as Canada’s National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) in funding research in the field of Oil Sands process control.

“At Spartan we understand the Oil Sands industry faces many challenges as it continues to work to lower their cost of producing resources in the face of global competition,” said Warren Mitchell, Solutions Development Leader at Spartan Controls. “Improved measurement, process control and critical equipment surveillance will play a role in this regard. This collaborative research effort will help the oil sands industry rise to these challenges by finding innovative solutions to some of their most difficult measurement control and optimization problems today.”

This NSERC Industry Research Chair is aimed at developing solutions that will lead to innovative estimation, control and optimization technologies and focuses on the systems that control the Oil Sands processes, as they allow for steady and safe process operations, consistent product quality, less waste and better control of emissions.

“Our integrated program will enable collaboration with industry to convert research outcomes into implemented solutions, and train highly qualified personnel with excellent job prospects.” stated Biao Huang, Professor at the University of Alberta. “As a result, Canada will be well-positioned to meet its future energy needs.”

As one example, the group will be investigating the use of advanced data analytics in order to improve the longevity of electric submersible pumps (ESP) in Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) applications. Today, the average lifespan of an ESP in SAGD service is on the order of several hundred days due to the severe downhole conditions they are exposed to. The service rig to pull these pumps once failed, replacement parts or pumps along with lost production are costly to the industry impacting the overall efficiency of these operations.

Can an intelligent monitoring application automatically detect and help diagnose the early onset of failure of these assets using data routinely collected and stored on site? Can better control strategies be developed in order protect these pumps and lengthen their time between failures? If so the research and development conducted under this program will assist the industry in solving challenging problems that will ultimately help lower their cost of operation.

About Spartan Controls

Spartan Controls is the leading provider of process control, measurement and automation solutions in Western Canada. For over 50 years, Spartan has provided our customers with high performance solutions,industry expertise, lifecycle support, and technical training. Our automation solutions are used by the oil and gas, oil sands, pulp and paper, power, pipeline, and municipal industries. We are dedicated to providing an exceptional customer experience where expertise and collaboration come together 24/7, 365 days a year. 

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About the NSERC-Industry Research Chair at the University of Alberta

The NSERC Industrial Research Chair in the Control of Oil Sands Processes is a major strategic initiative taken by the University of Alberta. The program is a partnership between Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Syncrude Canada Ltd, Cenovus FCCL Ltd., Emerson, Spartan Controls Ltd, and the University of Alberta. The objective of the Chair is to establish one of the best process control research and education programs in Canada and to build a worldclass process control research center at the University of Alberta. 

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