Flint Hills Pine Bend Refinery


Flint Hills Resources is an industry leader in refining, chemicals, and biofuels. Its Pine Bend Refinery located in Rosemount, MN has a radio user population of approximately 4,000 units.

The refinery is the largest in Minnesota and covers approximately 700 acres, with a capacity of 320,000 barrels per day.

The overall facility characteristics are summarized as follows:

700 acres of property spread over a several mile radius

Located just south of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul

Self-operated Electric Power generation

Barge dock access to the Mississippi River

Multiple blast resistant buildings requiring radio coverage

Multiple buildings with underground coverage requirements

Multiple and disparate analog and DMR trunked radio systems

Fully functioning, two-house fire department supporting mutual aid partnerships with Rosemount and other nearby fire departments

The Pine Bend refinery employs more than 1,000 people full-time and is considered the largest continuous construction site in the state of Minnesota. In addition, hundreds of contractors are on site every day. The refinery produces most of Minnesota’s transportation fuels, including gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, as well as other products that people rely on such as propane and asphalt.

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Flint Hills Pine Bend Refinery

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The Pine Bend refinery was using different two-way radio systems across its facility which limited interoperability across user groups. There were operational problems as well. Radio coverage was unreliable not only on the outside campus, but inside the blast resistant buildings and the underground areas in the office buildings which meant staff often had to move to a different location to communicate. Voice intelligibility was also significantly compromised in a high noise environment.

From a corporate perspective, Flint Hills Resources believed that their interests would be better served by selecting products and solutions that are based on open industry standards. This would ensure multisource procurement with competitive value propositions for ongoing and future procurements.


After careful consideration, Flint Hills selected PowerTrunk’s partner, Bay Electronics, to deliver a solution based on TETRA.

The petrochemical complex was provided a complete communications solution consisting of:

  • A 2 site UHF TETRA System with 5 carriers per site
  • Georedundant network core and N+1 site design with no single point of failure
  • Earth quake resistant design
  • RF over fiber DAS and BDAs for in-building and barge dock radio coverage
  • New antenna tower and diversity antenna systems
  • Back-up power generators
  • Capacity for up to 4000 users
  • Intrinsically Safe Portable radios and speaker mics
  • Mobile radios for fire department vehicles
  • Gateways for legacy radio system interoperability, and a
  • Mixture of Part 22 and Part 90 frequencies

The intrinsically safe radios provided were specifically designed to provide crisp and clear audio in the noisiest workplace environments and are equipped with features like GPS, dynamic group and profile management, and other advanced features to enable a safer and more efficient workforce anywhere on the refinery.


01 Staff and contractors can now communicate within their departments via different radio talk groupsor all together as a singlegroup, ensuring the right people are brought together at the right time.The system providescomplete coverage for the refinery’soperational area and isthe first TETRA network deployed by anoil and gasorganization in North America–enabling Flint Hillsto enjoy the benefits TETRA has already brought to the oil and gassector around the world.
02 The private communication system is fully controlled and maintained by the end user. It’s four-slot TDMA technology with diversityreceivers fully addressesthe multipath radio challenge in the refinery eliminating radio coverage gaps experienced with the legacyDMR and analog radiosystems.By using advanced TDMA digital technology, the portable radiosoffer extended battery performanceas well. Also,simultaneous voice, data,and location services over a single networkprovidesa path for future applications to enhance workforce productivity and worker safety.

Technology that we used

TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) is the accepted digital radio standard for critical communications. TETRA is an open standard where the focus is on meeting the critical communications needs of public safety and security agencies and an increasingly wide range of other market sectors. The technology has been standardized by ETSI (The European Telecommunications Standards Institute).


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