A specialty chemical company provides UPR (Unsaturated Polyester Resin) in several plants across the country. Each plant has a different DCS/PLC platform and is predominately manually operated. Expansion by building a new reactor is capital intensive, so a master control strategy was recommended to see if we can formulate a plan to increase production with the existing equipment. The variability of the process is 18-27 hours. By tracking key batch triggers, the company will be able to analyze where opportunities are to improve cycle time. After evaluating several platforms, it was deciding to buy a hybrid controller for all new systems to develop batch control and to place PI on top of the platform for the batch analysis. We will generically explain the process and the phases the batch goes through.
The Houston plant was chosen to be the beta test site for the first installation. This plant has an Allen Bradley PLC-5 system for 4 reactors and a Wonderware HMI. A PI System was put in. This paper will talk about the lessons learned on the specific driver selection (WW versus PLC). Physical system architecture and networking issues that arose. We will also talk about the point building, scaling and troubleshooting on the buffer server.
Specific results and analysis of the plant after the system is in will be shown as well as an overall review of whether we achieved our objective. One key note will be that while the hardware is in place, more emphasis needs to be on the culture change and support from the top down to make this a successful installation. The next step is to install the platform at two more facilities.
Nigel James has had successful work experience in this industry as a Control Engineer for eight years with Fina Oil and Chemical including three years overseas in Immingham, England. In 1995, Nigel joined Coherent Technologies, Inc. as their business manager and Vice President. In 1999, Nigel formed his own service company, James-Mangan Automation which in two years has grown to over $2.5M. Recently JMA has merged with Mangan, Inc. an Engineering and Automation Specialist company from California ($10M sales, 80 employees) where he is currently V.P of Business Development and manages the Houston and San Francisco offices.