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Time to Move Beyond Aging Assets. There is a New Plant in Town

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Chemical producers face many business challenges – from stiff competition and reduced margins, to limited human capital, regulatory compliance and supply chain digitization. While trying to juggle these challenges they also face the day-to-day realities of dealing with aging assets and growing support costs.

Decades-old chemical plants across the U.S. are working to address a wide range of equipment challenges, including obsolete equipment and unplanned downtime, and limited visibility into critical-asset performance.

With the digital landscape changing rapidly, chemical producers are looking to technology to help solve their issues with a quick ROI. That’s why it’s important to rethink business decisions and consider technology investments that will deliver both incremental and long-term ROI.

The connected production technologies available today are far beyond what was available just 10 years ago. Advanced technology gives chemical producers immediate relief from the constraints of obsolete equipment and limited human capital and domain expertise. It can also help merge IT and OT systems to provide seamless connectivity to manage production and supply chain data into actionable real-time information.

This connected, information-driven approach to chemical production can be called a connected chemical plant.

Building a connected chemical plant doesn’t have to be daunting. Think of it like this: By strategically prioritizing investments around smarter technologies, a connected chemical plant offers nearly unlimited opportunities to monitor and improve production performance. So, what does this mean for you in everyday operation?

Increased asset utilization: Optimizing asset utilization begins with being able to measure asset performance and identify production problems in real time. A modern DCS can integrate all aspects of automation and information into a single, plant-wide infrastructure. Simultaneously, integrated power control systems can capture the electrical data from aging production assets to monitor their performance and help minimize unexpected downtime and predict equipment issues. It’s a win-win for chemical producers.

Improved operations flexibility: A connected chemical plant can make batch production more agile and flexible by allowing operators to more easily make changes and bring new products online faster. Difficult to measure batch to batch variability causing quality and throughput issues? No problem.

Reduced risks: Operational and regulatory risk facing producers can be easily understood and managed with a connected chemical plant. Scalable safety instrumented systems (SIS) allow chemical producers to apply various levels of risk mitigation as required by their specific needs. Additionally, pre-engineered SIS solutions are also available to fill capability gaps and address specific business challenges in older plants in the most cost-effective manner.

Improved maintenance and support: Many producers struggle to support the mix of automation technologies that they accumulated from multiple vendors over many years. Standardizing and consolidating technologies in a connected chemical plant reduces the number of systems with which maintenance technicians and support teams must support and stock spares.

With these capabilities in place, chemical producers can better monitor and upgrade aging assets as needed. You can reduce the support costs associated with unplanned downtime and myriad systems. Then, you can focus newfound opportunities to improve operations and boost production.

Not sure where to start? Learn more by visiting our chemical process control systems home page for more information on how to get connected.

Gordon Bordelon
Gordon Bordelon
Chemical Industry Lead , Rockwell Automation

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