The main objective of the project was to adjust the plant's reactors from full manual control to operate via a combined SCADA/PLC system.

Industrial Technology Systems Ltd was awarded the contract to provide a turnkey control system including the design, procurement, programming, system integration, delivery, installation, commissioning, documentation, training, and on-going support.

ITS was chosen as the preferred solution provider due to the team’s experience in batch implementation and its ability in delivering solutions that meet client requirements. The project was instrumental in building a relationship with the customer and has led to further extensive projects.

ITS' customer, a chemical manufacturer, has benefited from the project through the following improvements:

  • The system enables more intelligent control by allowing the process to be operated in an automated manner, driven by pre-defined sets of instructions

  • The operation has been tuned to improve efficiency, both operational and financial

  • The new batch system provides a number of operational modes to cater for normal process operation, process experiments and, as a last resort, manual operation of the reactor via the control system's user interfaces

  • The system also provides dual redundant control and monitoring

The plant operates on a 24-hour basis. It comprises a number of reactors which are used in the batch production of various products. Reactor 3 of the plant is used for the manufacture of surfactants, where a hydrophobic feedstock is reacted with an oxide chain to produce a range of performance chemical products.

ITS worked closely with its customer to produce the functional specification which called for a bespoke ISA-88 batch control package, interfaced to USDATA's FactoryLink SCADA package and a Modicon PLC. This has provided optimal functionality of control with greater flexibility, all delivered within budget.

The tailor-made ISA-88 batch package was written in-house at ITS and was interfaced to the workstations and industry standard PCs running USDATA's FactoryLink ECS SCADA package on a Windows NT operating system. The PLC equipment was a Modicon Quantum connected to a single remote I/O rack. Communications between the PCs and the

The project was managed, designed, tested and installed in a six week shutdown period. This meant that precise project management and execution were critical to conform to the rigorous production requirements. This was made more relevant with the safety issues, due to the potential instability of exothermic reactions within the plant.

The project was completed successfully on time and within the budget.