Modern DCS ‘Sweetens’ Control, Visualization
The plant’s project team presented a recommendation to management for the PlantPAx® modern DCS from Rockwell Automation. The scalable, plantwide control system offered the reliability, flexibility and production insights that the plant needed to maintain peak productivity.
The team was familiar with Rockwell Automation® equipment and had evaluated the PlantPAx system at the company’s annual Automation Fair® event.
“I knew it had the features and architecture we wanted for the entire company,” the engineer said.
Before implementing the new system, the team wanted to confirm that the system’s common EtherNet/IP™ backbone would mesh with the company’s IT systems. The company’s legacy system hardware did not communicate well with other plants, creating business challenges.
“We used the PlantPAx system estimator to research networking scenarios for connecting servers to PLCs,” the engineer said.
The review confirmed that the Ethernet network was the right choice and helped the team develop project timelines.
While all the plant’s controls are local, the PlantPAx system can transmit production data through a gateway to the business network. This would allow managers to see production and trending across the company’s different plants.
“The PlantPAx system had the flexibility we were looking for,” the engineer said. “All the pieces tied together with our established legacy controls, and we really liked the robustness and reliability of the Logix control platform.”
To minimize production disruption during migration, the team kept the legacy system running and built the PlantPAx system on top of it. They temporarily created a CLX chassis in place, moved I/O, and used 3-D fittings and prototypes to accomplish the replacement.
At system transition time, the team took the legacy DCS offline, secured the chassis and brought the new PlantPAx modern DCS online. The replace-in-place method minimized space requirements and achieved a virtually seamless transition.
During implementation, the project team found great advantage in the PlantPAx library of process objects. Its modular programming tools, including virtual image templates, simplified system setup. The system library also helped the project team embed best practices into the system, including rules for system access, alarm management and more. The templates deliver core system elements such as pre-configured, drop-in templates, providing systemwide consistency.