This paper defines “Hybrid Process Industries” and explains how their unique automation requirements can be addressed by new generation DCS like “EcoStruxure Process Expert” from Schneider Electric. Supertech, with over 30 years successful track record in these industries and a Master Alliance Partner with Schneider Electric, will be your ideal partner not only in the plant automation but also the complete Digital Transformation journey. A real-life batch process where these techniques were successfully employed is also discussed. The customer has achieved 20% increase in productivity, 100% consistency in quality, 15% energy saving, 50% less manpower, 20% increase in availability of equipment, material traceability from finished goods to raw materials, tamper-proof electronic batch records, real-time integration with ERP by posting of raw material consumption and production after every batch.
What are Hybrid Process Industries?
When we started the automation system integration business in early nineties, the system integration was all about selling PLC based systems to OEMs and discrete segment of end users. DCS companies used to sell DCS to large process industries. The smaller process industries such as Specialty Chemicals, Pharma, F&B were by and large manually operated because the automation systems were not able to provide the agility and flexibility needed for their process and also openness in their integration with other third-party systems
Examples of Hybrid Process Industries
When the winds of liberalization started blowing, these industries felt the need for automation with their expanding capacity. Major driving factors were increasing size and complexity of processes, pressure of maintaining consistent quality in the light of global competition, need to improve productivity, regulatory compliances, and reduce dependence on human effort and skills. Smaller process industries involve processes with several automated batch operations, with manual interventions in between those steps. It comes with large number of discrete signals. PLC based system with their success in manufacturing industry were used for these applications primarily because of the boolean logic processing, lower cost and simplicity. Large process plants such as refineries, petrochemicals, use continuous process and has large number of analog signals. DCS were used due to its robust analog processing capabilities and algorithm library. As the smaller industries are getting more automated, the manual interventions are being eliminated. The automation needs of these industries have evolved from couple of discrete batch operation process to integrated batch and continuous processes with no manual interventions. These industries are therefore called Hybrid Process Industries.
Till the new generation of Automation systems were launched, the automation in these industries was limited to automating operation of valves and motors, transfer of liquid raw materials and solvents from storage tanks to day tanks, monitoring of process parameters, switching of utilities in multipurpose API reactors etc. However, it was still short of expectations of the end users. It was because of two reasons, first due to the lacunae in the automation systems and second the inexperience of the implementors, be it the system integrators or the DCS companies.
Digital Transformation in Hybrid Industries
Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. Among the various business processes to be transformed, manufacturing is one of the most critical. Digitalization of manufacturing processes in hybrid industries is in simpler words “Automation”. To achieve the real benefits of Digitalization, a holistic approach towards automation is necessary.
The key business values driving the need for Digital Transformation are:
- Smart Design and Engineering :-
- Asset Performance :-
- Investment Continuity :-
Asset Portfolio Management
- Energy Efficiency :-
Let me explain how the new Generation DCS “EcoStruxure Process Expert” from Schneider Electric has helped in addressing the basic Automation needs as well as the overall Digitalization needs of the hybrid industries.
- Majority of the hybrid industries are batch processes. Various options of Batch Management starting from Batch sequence templates available in the DCS library to ISA S88 based Batch Management using specialized Batch management software SUPERBatch (From Supertech) or InBatch (From Schneider Electric) are available.
- Customized templates for liquid raw materials transfer from storage tanks to day tanks and from day tanks to reactors/ mixers/ blenders makes this automation plug and play.
- Conventional PID control does not work for temperature control of Batch Reactors. Customized templates have been prepared for temperature control of exothermic or endothermic reactions, split-range control for high accuracy, controlled addition of reactants with simultaneous cooling with temperature control, automatic switching of utilities and adaptive temperature control for multipurpose API reactors.
- Templates for Intelligent Motor Starters and Relays Tesys U and Tesys T, Altivar range of VFDs from Schneider Electric provide robust DCS-Intelligent MCC interface and monitoring of motor data.
- Library for Energy Management. Easy connectivity with Multifunction meters, Intelligent breakers. Data from Energy Management softwares PME and PSO on OPC. Energy dashboards, specific energy consumption.
- Open architecture based on Ethernet. Flexible system architecture with Ring, Star and Bus topologies
- Seamless integration with MES, ERP and other IT systems.
- IIoT solutions “Augmented Operator Advisor” for operator empowerment, Secure Connect” for secure remote connectivity for trouble shooting, program modifications, “Maintenance Advisor” for Predictive maintenance, “Equipment Efficiency Advisor” a real time software tool for process improvement that provides online monitoring of the OEE
- With “AVEVA Insight”, cloud based Historian, you can collect data from multiple sources, store it in the cloud and have visualisation plus cloud based MES functionality, condition management, advanced analytics, machine learning, mobile reporting and more…
- The awareness about Functional safety and IEC 61508 in increasing. Hybrid Industries having hazardous processes are carrying out HAZOP study and safety assessment. SIL 3 safety controllers are available in the same controller family. They are used for Emergency shutdown systems, safety interlock systems, Burner Management, systems etc.
- EcoStruxure Process Expert provides connectivity with third party systems on a variety of protocols such as Modbus TCP, Ethernet IP, Profinet, Profibus, Modbus serial etc. It helps interfacing with OEM equipment such as Boilers, Thermopacks, Chillers, Filling machines, Robots, Conveying systems, Storage systems etc.
- End products of many hybrid industries such as Pharma, F&B and CPG are for direct human consumption and hence subject to strict regulatory compliances. Features such as User management, Audit Trails, compliance with 21CFR11 etc. help in meeting the regulatory requirements.
Following is an example of an Automation system consisting of many features mentioned above. It was implemented recently for a 100,000 TPA Paint manufacturing plant in India, which is likely to double its capacity shortly. The system architecture is as follows:
The system consists of “EcoStruxure Process Expert” DCS from Schneider Electric with 2 no. Operation Servers, 1 no. Engineering Server, 8 nos. Operating Clients, 2 sets of M-580 Hot Standby Process Automation Controllers. 55 nos. remote I/O stations, 8 nos. Intelligent MCC panels with Tesys T intelligent relays and Altivar VFDs are connected on an Ethernet ring network. Third party PLCs for OEM systems with Modbus Serial, Modbus TCP/IP, Ethernet I/P, Profibus and Profinet have been integrated with the DCS on the same network with suitable gateways wherever required. Multifunction meters in Electrical panels have been connected to “Power Monitoring Expert” (PME) software for Energy management. Relevant energy data has been provided in the DCS and Batch through OPC DA. About 75 nos. Load-cell based weighing systems and 60 nos. mass flowmeters have been connected to the system through Ethertent I/P and Profinet respectively. The system has approx. 14,000 I/O. Archiving of critical data and customized reports have been provided through the Historian. Wonderware InBatch has been used to provide advanced ISA S88 based Batch Management. The system has on-line interface with the customer’s SAP system. Process orders are received from the SAP, scheduled in the InBatch, and executed in the DCS as per the recipes. On-line batch and process data is transferred to the SAP phase by phase. At the end of a batch comprehensive batch reports are automatically generated. The system will be shortly upgraded with MES to improve its analytical capabilities. A 64” display is provided in the control room to show the dashboards with critical operating parameters.
Selecting the Right Partner
Having the right partner with you is absolutely essential for a successful Digital Transformation Project. Your investment can go down the drain with a wrong selection. You can see that the process involves integration of various components, customization to your needs and support. Only experienced Service providers like Supertech with both the domain as well as the automation expertise can provide you the integration, services and support, all under one roof.
Supertech is a leading automation solution provider with 30 years of proven track record in hybrid industries. Supertech is a Master Alliance Partner with Schneider Electric (one out of ten globally) for Control Systems and Hybrid DCS and a segment specialist partner in Consumer-Packaged Goods. Other Alliance partnerships with Schneider Electric include “Intelligent MCC Integration”, “EcoXpert – Critical Power Expert” for Energy Monitoring Systems and Wonderware software platforms. Supertech has in-house expert teams available in each of these areas and you will have a seamless experience through your digitalization journey. Supertech also undertakes the responsibility of supplying the smart and non-smart field instruments, valves, erection material from the best-in-class sub-vendors and services of installation, calibration and commissioning. Supertech supports its installed base through 24×7 customer support with telephone, e-mail, secure remote support and AMCs.