The PlantPAx system connects process, discrete, power, information and safety control into one plant-wide infrastructure, leveraging EtherNet/IP™ as its backbone. As a result real time information is readily available throughout the enterprise.
According to Sean Doherty, account manager – Food & Beverage at Rockwell Automation, “In addition to the technology capabilities provided by the PlantPAx solution, a key focus for this project was to design a solution to meet the requirements of the plant, while minimising any production loss and operational risks associated with the changeover to the new system.”
Innovative Project Execution
In the first stage of this project, the Rockwell Automation Global Solutions team were engaged to conduct a Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) specification. As part of this process, technical specifications, scope definition, and risk assessments were evaluated to reduce overall project risks and execution time.
“We conducted a thorough site audit at the plant and documented the existing system and current processes. As part of this, we also consulted with the manufacturer to understand the key requirements of the system and the enduser specifications,” explained Doherty.
To address concerns around risk mitigation, an additional level of testing was introduced for the system with detailed Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) being conducted at the Rockwell Automation facility.
The plant operators were actively involved in the review process and hands on training as well as testing of the system was conducted to make sure it was functioning to meet all expectations.
The testing was conducted over a two week period to help mitigate any hardware risks and validate it was fully tested and the entire system was working as intended.
When replacing a legacy DCS system, if the field wiring is replaced simultaneously a significant risk is introduced.
In this particular manufacturing plant there were approximately 1500 IO or approximately 4000 wires in the system, which needed upgrading.
“To have someone disconnect 4000 wires and manually reconnect them, the odds are that some of them are not going to be connected correctly, some of them may be back to front or loose. This would then add over a week to the commissioning team because you would have to go and test every single field connection,” explained Doherty.