Emerson's Plantweb® Architecture Helps Brazilian Chemical Plant Boost Production And Quality

  • October 24, 2003
  • Emerson Automation Solutions
  • News
Performance improvements and cost savings have been substantial for Elekeiroz ChemicalsAUSTIN, TEXAS (October 23, 2003) — Emerson Process Management has recently completed an automation retrofit to six of eight diverse product units within the Elekeiroz Chemicals plant near São Paulo, Brazil. The implementation of Emerson’s PlantWeb® digital plant architecture features DeltaV™ digital automation systems with advanced control software and AMS™ Suite predictive maintenance software. Employing both batch and continuous processes, the various product units feed one another and share utilities in a highly interdependent manner.“Production in the plasticizer area immediately increased from 17,000 to 20,400 metric tons per year, and we get very uniform batches and time savings,” asserted Eduardo Loschi, production manager for half of the site. “In the phthalic anhydride plant, we increased production by 5% and reduced operational labor by 30%.” “Our goal was to have the top of the line, the latest generation of automation technology,” explained process engineer Carlos Eduardo Pinha. “That and the strong desire to integrate all the plants led to the acquisition of PlantWeb architecture.”A property of Investimentos Itaú S. A., Elekeiroz (www.elekeiroz.com.br) grossed 218 million Brazilian reals (US $75 million) in 2002. Located in the town of Várzea Paulista, the plant employs 400 people. Among other products, it is Brazil’s sole domestic source of maleic anhydride. Total production in 2002 was about 350,000 metric tons.Previously, the plant was controlled by a variety of legacy systems that ranged from 1950s-era pneumatics and electromechanicals to 1980s-era distributed control systems. In 1998, Elekeiroz began applying PlantWeb architecture to one unit at a time. So far, all except the sulfuric acid and carbon disulfide plants have been brought under PlantWeb digital plant architecture, Emerson’s state-of-the-art plant automation approach.At Elekeiroz the PlantWeb architecture is composed of DeltaV systems within each plant that are networked with intelligent field devices using FOUNDATION fieldbus digital communications protocol, and also connected using HART and analog technology. The four DeltaV systems include the AMS Suite: Intelligent Device Manager that gathers predictive diagnostic data from Rosemount® transmitters, Micro Motion® Coriolis flowmeters, and Fisher® valves with FIELDVUE® digital valve controllers. The networked predictive intelligence helps Elekeiroz personnel to know the health of the process and the devices themselves and detect abnormal developments before they become an operations issue.“When PlantWeb was implemented in the maleic anhydride plant, AMS enabled two people to calibrate and commission 57 smart control valves in just two days,” said Gilberto de Souza, instrument and electrical maintenance supervisor at Elekeiroz. “Before PlantWeb, it would have taken at least seven days. That alone saved us more than US $15,000, not counting savings from all the smart transmitters, which were also quick and easy.”According to former practices, Elekeiroz would take those 57 control valves out of service every 12 months for scheduled maintenance at a cost of about US $20,000. Now, using predictive maintenance and remote diagnosis and calibration through AMS Device Manager, they need only remove about 7 valves per year and correct another 10 without removal. Estimated savings are US $18,000 per year in the maleic plant alone. Just two technicians are able to maintain all of the DeltaV systems and field devices at the site. Tighter control-valve performance due to improved maintenance saves another US $28,000 per year.In enumerating other benefits, de Souza added, “With auto-tuning, we can settle down a cranky control loop in an hour or two—something that used to take days. And as a major component of our process information resources, PlantWeb has contributed greatly to our implementation and maintenance of ISO 9001.”All this automation power comes without penalty in terms of training difficulty. Elekeiroz personnel can handle nearly every eventuality of system maintenance and expansion themselves, with minimal reliance on Emerson. When help is needed, it is usually provided immediately, by telephone and remote access to the DeltaV systems. Operators and technicians say it was much easier to learn the DeltaV system than older methods that were replaced.Production manager Loschi concluded: “When we chose PlantWeb architecture, we certainly made the right decision.”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 chemical, oil and gas, pulp and paper, cement, power, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, and other industries. The company combines superior products and technology with industry-specific engineering, consulting, project management and maintenance services. Its brands include PlantWeb®, Fisher®, Micro Motion®, Rosemount®, Ovation®, DeltaV™, and AMS™ 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 appliances and tools. Sales in fiscal 2002 were $13.8 billion.

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