Facility Upgrade Uses Modern DCS
o those ends, the Zebulon plant implemented a validated version of the PlantPAx® modern distributed control system (DCS) from Rockwell Automation, as well as the Library for Life Sciences as its industrial building automation system.
Many of these systems are running on virtualized machines and are connected via EtherNet/IP networking to thin-client interfaces using ThinManager software.
The solutions of 105 different equipment systems at the plant were installed, including air handlers, chillers, boilers and other components. This equipment was controlled by 15 different process control units (PCUs) and includes 1,756 I/O points.
“These solutions increase operators' visibility into their processes and provide more thorough information from the BMS and EMS for better decision-making,” said Leverton. “We've also achieved automated restarts, as well as better interfacing with third-party controllers.”
Homan added that the Zebulon plant cut over its first system — its main energy management system with air handlers and chillers — in about seven days, even though it had to examine and revise wiring for several devices that were showing normally open when they were supposed to be normally closed.
“We had dry runs and powered down to make sure everything could run on the PCUs without difficulties,” said Homan.
“The second cutover wasn't as smooth because we couldn't put some devices under one loop controller, and we lost hours until we established control with a mA signal. Also, a soft starter on a condenser water pump became defective, so we had to get a variable-frequency drive from our distributor, Electric Supply & Equipment, in Greensboro, North Carolina, on the Sunday before Labor Day, and they met us at their warehouse,” Homan noted.
Successful, with More to Come
Despite these hurdles, the Zebulon plant has completed two cutovers and upgrades to PlantPAx modern DCSs successfully and already is working on several more that it will perform this year. Along with supplying PlantPAx modern DCSs and hardware, Rockwell Automation has been running three teams of support personnel at the plant, where they and GSK have built temporary test stands and conducted software factory acceptance tests (SFATs) for all the new systems and solutions before installation.
“We were able to cut the IFM cables to proper lengths to the terminal blocks installed on our back panels to the old Bailey boards and then pre-number them with the same numbers used by the existing wires, so they all matched,” Leverton added. “This gave us about 35% worth of spare I/O and allows us to keep the old Bailey devices running for now, until we cut them over later as well.”
Learn about the PlantPAx modern distributed control system (DCS) from Rockwell Automation.