Better knowledge, more efficiency

Paul Boughton

Improved process knowledge as a result of the latest automation systems is enabling process companies to reduce production costs, improve quality control and cut their total cost of ownership. Eugene McCarthy reports.

Technology supplied by Honeywell Process Solutions has been selected by a European paper manufacturer to help it improve quality while reducing production costs at its facility in Gratkorn, Austria.

Sappi Austria Produktions will use Experion PMD, Safety Manager, Experion MX and the latest version of Process Historian Database (PHD) based on the Experion platform.

Sappi is a leading manufacturer of coated wood-free papers and expects to significantly improve quality control in machine direction and cross direction variations with these new technologies. This approach will allow production targets to be set with greater accuracy, helping to reduce production costs and with increased quality and efficiency at the production facility.

“The main target for Sappi is to measure paper quality quicker and more accurately in order to improve process runability and quality stability, thus saving operational costs,” said a company spokesman. 

Experion PMD, Safety Manager, PHD and Experion MX are integrated quality control and process knowledge systems that provide superior visibility into the papermaking process, while simplifying operational efforts and improving the return on investment of raw materials. It contains what Honeywell Process Systems describes as the fastest scanner available today, helping operators to measure quality consistency with a high degree of accuracy and reduce losses when implementing changes to the grade of paper being produced at the facility.

“Advanced quality control and measurements are crucial to creating profit within the paper-making industry,” said Marko Jämsén, leader of Honeywell Process Solutions’ pulp, paper and printing business in Europe. “Using the latest technology to improve margins and process efficiency can help companies outperform their competitors; a critical factor in today’s tough economic climate.”

In a separate development, the company has also won a contract to upgrade process control and alarm management systems at the Molikpaq platform on the Sakhalin shelf, Russia, to improve safety, reliability and operational efficiency.

The Molikpaq platform, owned by Sakhalin Energy Investment, celebrated its 15-year anniversary in September 2013. The platform produces 48,000 barrels of crude oil per day. 

To modernise the process control system and improve safety at the facility, Honeywell will implement the latest version of its Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS), which will be extended by the new C300 controller including Foundation Fieldbus license. By enabling unified access to process control, production management and asset management, the distributed control system will help to improve efficiency and profitability, reduce total cost of ownership while helping the facility achieve optimum production of oil.  

In addition, Honeywell will install its DynAMo Alarm Suite, which help users reduce overall alarm count by as much as 80 percent, identify maintenance issues, and increase visibility of critical alarms that require urgent attention.

Energy management specialist Schneider Electric’s latest offering is a powerful new HMI software product as part of its Wonderware InTouch portfolio. Designed to run with modest hardware requirements and operable on embedded versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems, InTouch Machine Edition software is tailored to meet the needs of end users, OEMs and machine and system builders while giving them scalability and tight integration with Wonderware Historian and Wonderware System Platform. 

Because it can directly connect to industrial data sources, the new software enables users to access the information they need to improve plant operations and lower total cost of ownership in real time.

“The Wonderware brand has long been associated with easy-to-use software solutions that can be integrated with any controller and run on any computer. The new Machine Edition HMI software maintains that tradition and represents ongoing investment and commitment to one of our core offerings,” explained Ravi Gopinath, executive vice president, software, Global Solutions Business, Schneider Electric.

InTouch Machine Edition software has comprehensive features that make it easier for customers to integrate their information and automation systems. For example, it can directly replace a traditional panel-computer HMI while providing the functionality normally found in larger PC-based HMI systems; it offers more than 240 native communication drivers with connectivity to almost any control hardware; and its rich visualisation, scripting, security, alarming, trending and recipe management functionality empowers plant operators to make better business decisions using real-time data. 

For Yokogawa, enhanced alarm and batch functions are at the heart of the latest release of its CENTUM VP R5.04 integrated production and control system.

The development of CENTUM VP R5.04 is the outcome of a steady effort to improve this system, which is the cornerstone of the company’s VigilantPlant vision. 

R5.04’s enhanced alarm function improves operational safety, and the enhanced batch function meets specific requirements of many process industries which are specifically being targeted under Yokogawa’s Evolution 2015 mid-term business plan.

The latest enhancements include both visual and audible indicators. For example, with the CENTUM system, a prominently coloured tag mark is displayed on the HMI screen next to any measurement reading that falls outside the normal range. With CENTUM VP R5.04, these coloured tag marks now come in a variety of easily recognisable shapes that indicate the importance of a measurement item and the severity of an anomaly – ranging from critical to low risk. 

New audible alarms have also been added to provide information on the severity and equipment location of an anomaly. Through the use of colour, shape, and sound, operators can quickly and intuitively recognise the significance of a specific alarm, allowing for improved operational safety. 

The latest version is also aimed at promoting highly efficient batch processing. Here a recipe has to be defined for each product. This definition consists of a procedure and formula. Often these two are defined separately, but for certain batch processes it is helpful to have them on the same screen. So the CENTUM VP R5.04 batch function has been enhanced by adding this capability, which allows end users to efficiently perform the engineering required for each definition method.

Meanwhile Yokogawa’s developers are working on the next set of enhancements. The next-generation CENTUM VP is based on four concepts: hyper-intuitive operation for safe and highly productive plant operations, total automation management for efficient engineering of all instrumentation, an intelligent plant conductor that optimises the operation of an entire plant at minimum cost, and a sustainable plant that maintains high efficiency throughout its lifecycle.

Emerson expands capabilities in Saudi Arabia

Emerson Process Management has expanded the capabilities of its Jubail facility in Saudi Arabia to include the production, testing, and servicing of pressure reducing regulators. The company says that this investment is part of its long-term commitment to address the growing needs of customers in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East region.

The Emerson Jubail facility originally opened in 2011 in partnership with leading industrial enterprise Saudi FAL. It can now deliver an annual production capacity of 2500 Fisher pressure reducing regulators, which are used in a wide range of applications including process and specialty gas processing, natural gas distribution, and fuel gas supply. The facility can also conduct full assembly and testing of Emerson’s regulators, and provide complete repair and calibration services.

"The expansion of this facility in Jubail represents Emerson’s first regulator manufacturing capability in the Middle East. It is a testament to our commitment to be closer to our customers and more closely aligned with their requirements," said Steve Robinson, director of Emerson Process Management, regulator technologies in Middle East and Africa.

In addition to this expansion, the Emerson-Saudi FAL Jubail facility now has the space, resources, and qualifications to manufacture, assemble, integrate, test, and service a wide array of other Emerson solutions including valve automation technologies, Fisher control valves,  Rosemount measurement instruments, and the DeltaV distributed control system.

The Jubail facility becomes part of Emerson Process Management’s regulator technologies global network of manufacturing locations located in the US, Mexico, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Romania, China, Singapore, Japan and India.