Successful Collaboration Enables MES Application Deployment

  • December 08, 2012
  • Case Study
December 2012
By: Rebecca Guthrie and Bill Waddell, Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies
      Dan O’Brien and Victor Marrero, Honeywell Process Solutions
Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies (HPMT – formerly Honeywell Specialty Materials), is a global leader in developing and manufacturing advanced materials and process technologies. These materials and technologies are used by people every day in a wide range of industries and applications, from petroleum refining to environmentally friendlier refrigerants to bullet-resistant vests. Its advanced materials are critical in the manufacture of products ranging from nylon to computer chips to pharmaceutical packaging. Process technologies developed by its UOP business form the foundation for most of the world’s refiners, efficiently producing gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and petrochemicals.
In June 2009, the HPMT information technology team approached Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) for assistance on a solution for a standard manufacturing execution system (MES) platform. The team’s driving issues and requirements were:
  • A corporate goal of improving accuracy and timeliness of enterprise inventory data
  • Reducing month-end reconciliation variances and effort
  • Cost and risk of failure of out-of-support existing systems
  • Cost of implementing new, custom MES solutions
  • Desire for a standard MES solution
  • Modular-based implementation options
  • Short, quick implementation projects
Additionally, the HPMT IT team sought to improve the quality of the software, reduce total cost of ownership, take advantage of industry standards, and partner with another Honeywell business.
MES Application Requirements
HPMT‘s project was intended to replace an existing manual process of collecting production and consumption data. HPMT’s production recipes were largely driven by standard recipe consumption. Consumption and production data were retrieved from a Honeywell Uniformance PHD historian, processed inside an Excel spreadsheet and then manually moved to SAP.
HPMT recognized this approach lacked standardization and was costly to develop and maintain. HPMT wanted the ability to automatically read data captured in the PHD system, provide data in industry standard formats, and send it through standard web services to SAP. It needed an MES model supporting PHD-SAP integration and providing an editable, web-based user interface. This included a process to generate documents in XML format for sending scheduled transactions to SAP, a manual transaction entry interface for unscheduled transactions to SAP, and a visual dashboard showing system transactions. The company also wanted to implement robust error handling processes, as well as a user interface allowing ad hoc queries into transaction history data.
HPMT documented and reviewed the following MES application requirements with HPS:
  • Production recording and visualization
  • Additional ERP integration
  • Batch, blend and recipe management
  • Resource management
  • Compliance and visualization
  • Key IT-related requirements
HPMT determined that HPS qualified to serve as the vendor for its MES application project by providing a reusable, scalable, and flexible technology compatible with SAP integration tool XI (PI). HPS also offered functional and technical expertise, as well as competitive initial development, implementation and support costs with staff continuity. Furthermore, HPS had a secure upgrade and support path via scheduled software releases and competitive licensing fees.
Project Scope
HPMT and HPS agreed to collaborate on a “proof of concept” pilot at a key HPMT production facility in Hopewell, Virginia. This 450-acre site is the world's largest single-site caprolactam plant, producing over six-million pounds of finished material per day. Its products include nylon feedstock caprolactam, ammonium sulfate fertilizers, and various specialty chemicals.
HPMT and HPS collaborated on an MES “proof of concept” pilot at a key HPMT production facility in Hopewell, Virginia.
The overall scope of the MES application project involved implementation of a standard foundational software environment with all of the desired modules, supported by HPS as a standard product. This solution would automatically read data captured in the PHD system, format the data in XML, and send it through standard web services to SAP. The data would represent material production quantities to replace the inaccuracies of delayed and manual data collection, as well as “actual” material consumption data to replace the inaccuracies of “standard” consumption processes.
The project scope called for additional capabilities to support and extend the core application functionality, including:
  • Standard data model structured to represent and support PHD-to-SAP integration
  • Simple user interfaces allowing business users to configure additional SAP transactions without IT support
  • Structured process to generate XML for sending scheduled transactions to SAP
  • Interfaces from SAP to maintain core MES data
  • User interface to enter manual transaction data for unscheduled transactions to integrate to SAP via XML
  • Visual dashboard showing key production transactions processed by the system
  • Robust error handling process with a simple user interface
  • User interface allowing ad hoc queries into transaction history
Technology Development
In order to assist HPMT in integrating, visualizing and analyzing their enterprise-wide data in real time, HPS deployed its Intuition software to provide a unified view of data, which combined information from its historians, applications, manufacturing execution systems and enterprise resource planning systems.
HPS and HPMT agreed on using a collaborative development model approach to implement the proof of concept pilot. This approach allowed HPS to lead the project effort, provide the technology platform, develop the application functional design, train HPMT back office support and the lead the application development. HPMT provided back office support, worked with HPS on the initial requirements, approved the functional design and assisted with application development. To allow HPTM to assist with the maintenance and support of the application after commissioning, HPS developed a training program. This approached allowed the project teams to focus on application development and how to supporting the prototype application after deployment instead of worrying about the underlying technology platform.
The collaborative development model approach delivered new MES applications functionality at a faster pace and at a lower cost, drawing expertise from several departments including Honeywell departments such as marketing, products, system test and solutions – all of which participated in the solutions development process.
With Intuition in place, HPMT secured a web-based portal built on SharePoint for accessing and using information from many of its systems. This allowes access to graphics, trends, tables and other visual elements; collaboration and workflow tools; integration to applications; data modeling and federating capabilities; facilitating integration while retaining investments in their existing systems.
Results and Future Outlook
The collaborative strategy involving HPMT and HPS worked well during the project, with work completed within budget and delivered on schedule within 90 days. At the Hopewell facility, an operating income impact of over $1.5M is expected over a three-year period. Personnel at the site now have an improved ability to track daily yield, enhancing variance analysis. They also benefit from improved daily inventory accuracy and visibility, which increases the accuracy of shipments and provides better clarity into financial adjustments.
The successful outcome at Hopewell resulted in a full endorsement and benefits sign-off by the site manager, and led to approval by HPMT IT and HPMT business leaders to pursue an Intuition deployment strategy on subsequent projects.
Since deployment of the project at the Hopewell facility, HPMT has extended and leveraged their collaboration with HPS to both support additional HPMT facilities and create a standard solution set for their “continuous batch” manufacturing sites. First, they extended the Hopewell solution to their chemical plants in Frankford, Pa., Geismar, La., and Baton Rouge, La. Then they integrated the core Intuition environment with additional HPS products to provide more flexible and robust process management and data collection from the shop floor to SAP.
HPMT has also integrated Intuition with the HPS products Uniformance PHD (data historian), Experion Batch Manager, and Procedure Analyst (batch historian) at their new UOP plant in Penang, Malaysia to fully connect the shop floor process to SAP. This project success has further led to the commissioning of a standard solution architecture to be used on future manufacturing automation projects within the division. Future expansion of the systems functionality will be focused on the SharePoint and dashboarding functionality of the full Intuition platform and the first implementations will be completed in early 2013 for another greenfield site in Virginia and another UOP site in Louisiana.
Additionally, while the functionality of the now-standard system has improved HPMT’s bottom line at each of the initial sites due to improved inventory accuracy and visibility, the standard solution created by partnering with HPS consultants and external offshore Honeywell IT resources has also shown a substantial savings in development costs and projected software system maintenance costs.
Looking to leverage the simple configuration of the Intuition platform, HPMT will now look to establish a collaborative model for MES application deployments at additional HPMT facilities, including Orange, Texas; Mobile, Alabama; Des Plaines, Illinois; and Penang, Malaysia.
Proposed central PHD server

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