Emerson’s PlantWeb® Digital Plant Architecture Can Save Power Generation Customers Millions in Construction Costs

  • December 15, 2003
  • Emerson Automation Solutions
  • News
PITTSBURGH (Dec. 9, 2003) — Emerson Process Management is applying PlantWeb® digital plant architecture to help power industry customers substantially reduce costs in new coal plant design and development. Proven in thousands of installations across industries worldwide, the technologies of PlantWeb incorporate high-speed communications networks, intelligent field devices and bus I/O technologies. “We’ve experienced firsthand in other industries how the early adoption of PlantWeb digital plant architecture dramatically impacts costs – not just initially, but for years down the road,” said Al Novak, business development manager, new coal-fired generation, Power & Water Solutions industry center of Emerson Process Management. “Because of the opportunities for substantial cost savings and operational benefits, Emerson is committed to helping the power generation industry adopt this approach.” Study Reinforces Benefits to Digital Automation Architecture ApproachThe integrated, intelligent and highly automated PlantWeb approach advocated by Emerson is validated by “The Economic Impact of Digital Bus Technology on New Plant Construction,” a study conducted by JDI Contracts Inc., and released today at POWER-GEN International 2003. The study identified and compared construction costs for two approaches to instrumentation & control (I&C) system implementation for an $840 million, 600 megawatt pulverized coal-fired supercritical power plant. The traditional approach used an Engineer-Procure-Construct (EPC) model and featured an I&C system in which field signals are hardwired to I/O cards using dedicated cables. The digital I/O bus approach, which used an alternative selection process – PEpC (Procure strategic suppliers, Engineer, procure balance of plant and Construct) – featured an integrated system of high-speed field communications networks, intelligent field devices and bus I/O technologies. This approach also used traditional I/O for certain high-speed and safety-related loops. The study indicated it was possible to reduce costs in all areas studied by following a digital bus approach. In total, costs associated with new plant construction for a traditional I&C system were approximately $50.1 million, compared with $30.4 million for the digital I/O bus approach, resulting in a savings of more than $19 million (39.4 percent), or $2,000 per I/O point. PlantWeb: A Proven, Powerful Digital Solution For Emerson customers, PlantWeb is the blueprint for implementing a comprehensive, digital solution that delivers installed cost savings and operations savings. A key deliverable of PlantWeb is predictive intelligence – the ability to constantly monitor actual equipment condition and use the information to predict when a problem is likely to occur. This is made possible through the integration of intelligent HART and FOUNDATION™ fieldbus instruments – including transmitters, analyzers and digital valve controllers – that use on-board microprocessors and diagnostic software to monitor equipment health and performance, as well as process performance, and indicate when a problem is going to occur or maintenance is needed. PlantWeb’s predictive intelligence is further enhanced by Emerson’s AMS™ Suite of software applications that capture and analyze information about mechanical equipment, electrical systems, process equipment, instruments and valves, thereby providing a window into plant operations. Using communications standards like HART, FOUNDATION fieldbus and OPC, as well as the AMS Suite, PlantWeb delivers plant intelligence where and when it’s needed through Emerson’s Ovation® and DeltaV™ digital automation systems. “Time and again we’ve seen how PlantWeb translates into reduced costs and optimized plant performance,” said Novak. As an example, significant savings in commissioning costs are possible, according to Novak, because the PlantWeb architecture makes device installation, communications verification and troubleshooting less labor and time intensive. “Technicians don’t need to go into the field to manually verify the identity and communication links of every device, because the control system automatically senses and addresses the devices as they are connected,” he explained. Novak points out that the PlantWeb approach has gained wide acceptance in other industries with customers in the chemical, pulp and paper, and oil and gas industries documenting savings such as 50 percent reduction in commissioning time, 65 percent savings in wiring costs, and significant reduction in the total number of loop and electrical drawings. Italy’s ENEL Power, an early adopter of bus technology for application in the power generation industry, observed that PlantWeb resulted in a 45 percent reduction in commissioning time over a traditional (hard-wired) approach. “We want to continue to demonstrate to the power industry how standardizing on digital bus technology during initial project scoping and development creates tremendous opportunities for savings,” said Novak.Sustainable Results, Long-term SavingsIn addition to reducing engineering, construction and start-up costs, the digital architecture approach also translates into long-term operational and maintenance cost savings due to the efficiencies made possible with a highly automated, intelligent plant. For example, the study indicates that utilization of an advanced asset management system can prevent forced outages by detecting and diagnosing potential equipment problems before they occur. The implications of this are significant, because the ability to potentially save two forced outages per year over 30 years can translate into savings of more than $8 million, according to the study.Based on experience in other industries, Emerson envisions the power industry will realize operational savings resulting from increased plant availability, heat rate improvement, reduced maintenance costs and other operational efficiencies. According to Novak, the biggest hurdle to early adoption of a multi-faceted digital architecture is convincing utility stakeholders that this approach translates into meaningful, measurable results. “Emerson understands that this is a new concept for the power industry, but the bottom line is that the savings are real and the technology is proven,” said Novak. “Emerson looks forward to helping developers, architect engineers, owners and operators who are the stakeholders in new power generation facilities realize the tangible benefits that are possible by building and operating a highly automated, state-of-the-art plant.”About Emerson Process ManagementEmerson Process Management (www.emersonprocess.com), an Emerson business, is a leader in helping businesses automate their production, processing and distribution in the power, water and wastewater treatment, chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp and paper, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and other industries. Emerson's Power & Water Solutions division (www.emersonprocess-powerwater.com), formerly Westinghouse Process Control, is a global supplier of advanced distributed process control and information systems. The Pittsburgh-based company is a recognized leader in developing plant-wide process control solutions for the power generation, water treatment and wastewater treatment industries. Power & Water Solutions plays a key role in the Emerson mission of combining superior products and technology with industry-specific engineering, consulting, project management and maintenance services. Emerson brands include: PlantWeb; Ovation; SmartProcess; Fisher; MicroMotion; Rosemount; DeltaV; and AMSTM Suite.About EmersonSt. Louis-based Emerson (www.gotoemerson.com) is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions to customers in process control; electronics and telecommunications; industrial automation; heating, ventilating and air conditioning; and appliance and tools. Sales in fiscal 2003 were $14 billion.

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