Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Reduces Costs and Improves Measurement | Automation.com

Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Reduces Costs and Improves Measurement

Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corporation (FCFC), founded in 1965, is one of Tawain’s major manufacturers of chemicals, fibers, petrochemicals and plastic materials. At the time of its inception, Taiwan was in great shortage of natural fibers due to the lack of resources. In support of a rapidly developing textile industry, the company built an integrated fiber plant that made wood pulp for the production of rayon and engaged in textile processing.

In recent years, FCFC has diversified into petrochemical and power generation businesses with plants in Changhwa, Ilan, Dongshan, Chiayi Hsin Kang and Yunlin Mailiao, turning the company into a major manufacturer of chemicals, fibers, petrochemical and plastic materials in Taiwan. After years of rapid expansion, the company now has several business divisions, including chemicals, petrochemicals, plastics, textiles, nylon, and engineering and construction.

At one of its rayon plants in Yilan, Taiwan, the company wanted to overcome having to take manual temperature measurements on three of its rotary machines and fix the deviation in infrared sensors it was experiencing due to weather changes.

The company had to routinely dispatch its technicians to the field to manually record inner temperatures on three rotary machines which stored spinning solutions inside. In addition, the plant also had installed additional infrared-ray sensors beside rotary machines to measure surface temperatures of these machines.

“Unfortunately we faced several obstacles that we needed to overcome at our plant and decided to investigate several options,” said C.M. Jeng, Section Chief, Rayon Division, Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corporation. “Our plant data wasn’t reliable, yet was still very costly due to the manual labor of collecting critical data and traditional hardwired transmitters.”

FCFC decided to work with Honeywell to implement a wireless transmitter network to help alleviate challenges in obtaining reliable data in a safe, cost-effective manner. Using a “starter kit”, the company was provided with an introduction to industrial wireless solutions and opened the door for future plant and company adoption.

The starter kit included two of Honeywell’s XYR 6000 wireless transmitters, which enable automated monitoring in areas where hardwired transmitters are too costly, difficult or time consuming to implement. The kit also allowed for additional sensors to be added to the transmitters, which includes devices for accurately monitoring gauge pressure, absolute pressure, differential pressure, temperature and corrosion. The XYR 6000 wireless transmitter line also included an analog input interface for adding wireless capabilities to 4-20ma devices. The devices wirelessly transmit measurements to a gateway or to multiple communications nodes called multinodes.

In addition to improving the collection of reliable data, FCFC also saw other peripheral benefits including:

  • More accurate temperature measurement after replacing infrared sensors
  • Savings from the avoidance of costly hardwired cable and manual labor
  • Improved process measurement
  • Quick-start implementation for a faster return on investment

  • FCFC was pleased with the results of the transmitter implementation, noting the reliability and voicing plans to expand the installation to its other plants.

    “The transmitter installation provided us with the success we needed to perhaps look at implementing a wireless solution at our other plants,” continued Jeng. “Our employees recognize the proven solution and the extreme talent provided by the local Honeywell engineers that helped us through this project.”

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