A Solution Under Their Nose
While searching for an alternative information system for the new facility, a discovery was made at the company’s existing facility. Specifically, the site had implemented FactoryTalk® Historian software from Rockwell Automation with new packaging equipment to monitor line efficiency.
The software worked so well that the company began to consider it as a strong option for its new facility.
“We discovered the FactoryTalk software utilized aspects of OSIsoft® PI historian software, which is what the team liked about the first control and information system,” the engineer said. “Once we looked into other software from Rockwell Automation, it became apparent that the desired information solutions could be deployed across the facility without any added complexity. The system actually had tools that would greatly simplify our work.”
The team selected a PlantPAx® modern DCS solution for the formulation process. It provides fully integrated control of tank pressure and mixing, and automates the valves on formulation tanks.
The DCS uses FactoryTalk View Site Edition visualization software to give operators a common look and feel for monitoring tank levels, temperatures and pressures across the formulation process. Visualization functionality is also distributed throughout the network to ease troubleshooting for maintenance, and the PlantPAx system’s alarms and events allow workers to manage and track activities.
The team added a change-management application to the PlantPAx system to aid in the transition from manual production at the existing facility to automated production at the new facility. The FactoryTalk AssetCentre change-management software serves as a single repository for all the new automation solutions used in the formulation process.
It stores control, visualization, parameter and configuration files used during deployment and provides an ability to consolidate changes made to automation assets and system activity. The change-management application also records programming changes and uses role-based permissions to minimize risk of human error and lost downtime.
The new facility also uses the FactoryTalk Historian software, which captures and stores all production information and allows the company to continue working toward electronic batch records. And with a validated plantwide historian database, the facility gains a single source for data from the manufacturing equipment, plant utility systems and the new, automated formulation process. Stored information can then be pulled for reporting purposes, such as providing environmental-monitoring data on clean rooms.
A Bright Future
The company was encouraged by the ease of deploying and validating the new technology in the new production facility.