Hammerite Products Limited, a division of ICI Paints, recently chose Industrial Technology Systems Ltd (ITS) of Middlesbrough to modify its paint manufacturing plant at Prudhoe, Northumberland, to accommodate a new production line. This process has involved transferring the production from the facility in Slough to the plant in the North East of England.

As part of the modification, Hammerite Products required a reliable, cost effective system to automate the production process. Rockwell’s ProcessLogix (PLX) system was chosen as a cost-effective integrated process solution, modelled on the traditional distributed control system (DCS) computer-based model.

As the first solution provider in the UK to implement an Allen-Bradley ProcessLogix system, Industrial Technology Systems Ltd was regarded as in the best position to complete the project successfully. ITS was awarded the contract for the procurement, design, configuration and testing of the system.

The system installed by ITS has provided significant benefits to Hammerite Products Limited. Prior to the installation of Rockwell’s ProcessLogix system, the blending of ingredients had always been completed manually via hand valves. The new system has reduced manual labour requirements and labour costs. Operators are now available to concentrate on improving other aspects of the business.

As Hammerite Products Limited has greater control over the production process including the mix of raw materials and process parameters, improvements in batch consistency, in quality standards and significant reductions in waste have been achieved.

The costs involved in cross-skilling Hammerite’s workforce in the maintenance of the new system have been minimal due to ITS’ reliable after sales support services. Hammerite is relying on the more cost effective option of an ITS Service Level Agreement (SLA). ITS’ SLAs can provide the customer with 24 hour/365 days support with a four hour response to site. As a result Hammerite’s operators do not require a comprehensive understanding of the system and how it works. Instead they have a complete understanding of the performance of the plant enabling them to identify problems early and prevent repercussions.

Dual redundant servers were used in the project to provide enhanced reliability. ProcessLogix architecture can be expanded to include redundancy where required. This reduces the risk of a process shutdown, caused by a single component failure.

Another advantage of the ProcessLogix system is its extendibility. It allows its components to be distributed across various plant locations. The system installed can be used to control the whole plant, it can be added to as required, and connected to other processes due to its modular design.

The project involved automating the charging of bulk materials, the transfer of the premix material and the enabling of the filling lines. This phase still included manual operations such as entering material charge information, quantity and type of charge. The second phase will involve the addition of a full batch control using Rockwell’s RS Batch software.

The satisfaction of Hammerite Products Limited is supported through ICI Paints entering an agreement with Rockwell and the Service Level Agreement with ITS. Now all new installations that the company embark on will be controlled using Rockwell products.