Fieldbus & Industrial Networking


Acetylene bottle filling

September 2008 Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

Emerson‘s PlantWeb digital plant architecture improves production at SABIC Europe.

SABIC Europe B.V. has improved the efficiency of acetylene production at its Geleen plant by 30%, thanks to tight control enabled by Emerson Process Management’s PlantWeb digital plant architecture.

SABIC Europe B.V. is part of the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), the largest petrochemical company in the Middle East and the fourth largest manufacturer of polyolefins worldwide. In Europe, SABIC is a major producer of both polymers and chemicals employing around 3300 people, with production facilities based in Geleen (The Netherlands), Teesside (UK), and Gelsenkirchen (Germany), annually producing 3,0 million metric tons of polyolefin and 5,7 million metric tons of chemical products like olefins, benzene, and acetylene, mainly for the European market.

Since 1975 Geleen has been home to two naphtha crackers and several polymerisation plants for the production of polyethylene and polypropylene. A by-product from these cracker processes is acetylene, which is removed and marketed throughout Europe.

To help SABIC Acetylene remain competitive in what is a difficult market, the company follows a clear strategy of being a low cost provider whilst maintaining a high quality product through operational excellence and high quality services. This requires total control of all parameters gained by fine tuning the business using key performance indicators (KPIs) monitored through a management information system (MIS).

Acetylene gas is fundamentally unstable and may explode, it is therefore shipped in special cylinders designed to keep the gas dissolved. The cylinders are packed with porous materials and then filled with acetone to half its total filling weight. When acetylene is introduced into the cylinders it dissolves into the acetone.

The filling process

At the Geleen facility, empty gas cylinders varying in type and size are refilled with acetylene. The primary objective of SABIC was to automate the processes using intelligent devices to ensure right-first-time filling. This entailed removing the possibility of any under-filling, which leads to time consuming rework or, over-filling that could result in an explosion.

The filling of the cylinders is performed in three steps. Firstly the operator places individual cylinders on a weight sensor. Man-machine-interface (MMI) terminals mounted at the filling station enable the operator to enter information pertinent to the gas cylinder being weighed. These terminals communicate with a DeltaV system using serial communication (Modbus) and the data is used to find all necessary filling set points. The operator then places the weighed cylinder into a filling rack which can hold up to 24 cylinders. When the filling rack is full, the DeltaV system calculates the amount of gas required to fill all the cylinders in the rack.

The bottle filling is fully automated using Foundation Fieldbus networked instruments including Emerson’s Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeter for direct measurement of mass flow. The real challenge was to measure a broad range of mass flow of between 0,2 and 20 kg/h at high pressures of up to 25 Bar. The Micro Motion flowmeter was able to provide a measurement of 0,35 % to 0,5% accuracy rather than the 1-2% accuracy normally associated with conventional measurement solutions. The right amount of gas is then dosed through a Foundation Fieldbus control valve, a signal light alerts the operator when the filling is complete.

Using this process, over 50 racks, each with 24 gas cylinders, are continuously filled, with handling and the administration of the filling being handled by the DeltaV system.

Upon completion of the filling phase, the third step is re-weighing the cylinders as a quality control check to ensure they have reached their target weight. When complete, the data, such as type of cylinder, customer name, gas dosed and operator is written to a PI (process historian) SQL database. Using the DeltaV system as the MIS this data is made available for management and administrators. To make it easy to generate reports and queries, a user-friendly access-application was built on top of the SQL application.

Results

In comparison with the previous manual method of weighing and filling which often required cylinders to be reworked, throughput has increased by 25%. The man hours required for the filling process has been reduced by 20% and the physical work required has been reduced considerably. With cylinders weighing up to 80 kg each there is substantial physical effort required to position them for filling. With right first time filling there is never any need for rework which would require additional handling of the cylinders. As a consequence, the safety, health and welfare of the operators have been improved.

“The use of Micro Motion Coriolis mass flowmeters ensures bottles are filled to the set point every time without exception,” said Eric Heetkamp, manager Operations and Marketing, SABIC Acetylene. “Previously, about 95% of the cylinders would have been filled correctly first time round and the operator would then have had to follow up with time consuming rework. The choice of mass flow technology combined with Foundation Fieldbus communications has proved to be an excellent investment.”

Annual savings of 300 000 Euros have been made at the filling station because of the increase in operator efficiency, reduction in the number of planned shutdowns and increased plant availability. Another major contributing factor to these cost savings is lower maintenance costs.

Maintenance and support

The acetylene filling station has very different maintenance needs than the rest of the plant at SABIC. As a result, Emerson has been awarded the contract to maintain the automation/process instrumentation. Support is required for the Foundation Fieldbus elements as well as the MIS. It is important that the filling station works at the same speed as production and the information collected from it forms the basis of monthly production reports. For this reason it is essential that there are no unexpected shutdowns and maintenance periods are kept to a minimum. SABIC’s filling plant has an excellent safety track record, and it was essential that the cooperation with Emerson completely fitted in with the safety philosophy of the filling plant, and that Emerson by its behaviour supported this record.

SABIC also wanted to keep the system up to date with life cycle management support. This includes managing: engineering changes; release status of components; con-figuration of product variations; document management; planning project resources and timescale and risk assessment. Safety is the most important criteria of SABIC’s maintenance philosophy and a regular customer/vendor relationship was deemed to be unsuitable. It was felt that a partnership relationship was more appropriate and Emerson could offer the high service levels of support SABIC desired.

Emerson Process Management provides a total care service for the site. This means that it is responsible for the complete system performance. As part of this all encompassing agreement, a 24/7 on-call service is provided for all applications and hardware, including the DeltaV system.

As a result the plant, which previously required 24 days shutdown a year, runs for a minimum of 363 days with two days scheduled for shutdowns per year. The number of unplanned shutdowns has been reduced to zero.

“In the six years since the new set-up was installed we have seen the number of jams considerably decreased,” concluded Heetkamp. “The number of unplanned plant-wide shutdowns has been reduced to zero and we have total clarity concerning the costs of maintenance.” 

For more information contact Widad Haddad, Emerson Process Management Dubai, +971 4811 8100, marcom.mea@emersonprocess.com, www.emersonprocess.com



Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Emerson helps complete first Caspian subsea project
October 2019, Emerson Automation Solutions , News
Emerson has completed its $48 million contract for automation systems and cloud engineering software-as-a-service for the Shah Deniz 2 project in Azerbaijan and is fulfilling an ongoing five-year services ...

Read more...
Emerson's Flow Lifecycle Services Centre earns certification
October 2019, Emerson Automation Solutions , News
Emerson’s Flow Lifecycle Service Centre, based in Dubai and serving customers in the Middle East and Africa region, has received accreditation for ISO/IEC 17025:2017 from the International Accreditation ...

Read more...
Interference-free Ethernet media converter
October 2019, Phoenix Contact , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
The new FL MC EF 660 SCRJ media converter from Phoenix Contact enables the connection of cost-effective polymer and HCS/PCF fibre technology. The optical transmission of data via fibre optics is free ...

Read more...
Emerson expands asset management coverage
October 2019, Emerson Automation Solutions , System Integration & Control Systems Design
Emerson has expanded AMS Device Manager with HART-IP support, making it easier to connect with devices and control systems and potentially eliminate hundreds of thousands of dollars in project hardware ...

Read more...
I/O solutions with Profinet redundancy
October 2019, Turck Banner , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Turck’s Simple IO-Link Device Integration, SIDI for short, simplifies the handling of IO-Link. As its first fieldbus module with Profinet S2 system redundancy, the company has introduced the TBEN-L5-8IOL. ...

Read more...
Rosemount food and beverage leak detection system
October 2019, Emerson Automation Solutions , Sensors & Transducers
In response to industry demand for increased quality in food and beverages at every level, Emerson has introduced the Rosemount CT4215 food and beverage leak detection system. The CT4215 is a quantum ...

Read more...
Tektronix simplifies automotive Ethernet testing with new software
October 2019, Comtest , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Tektronix has released two new software packages that greatly simplify Automotive Ethernet testing, debug and protocol decode, for use with its 5 and 6 series mixed-signal oscilloscopes (MSO). Using the ...

Read more...
How fieldbus systems are really selected
September 2019 , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
The majority of users do not actively select their fieldbus at all – they select the control system vendor and whatever bus system this vendor provides will ‘do the job.

Read more...
Emerson completes acquisition of Zedi’s software and automation businesses
September 2019, Emerson Automation Solutions , News
Emerson has announced the purchase of Zedi’s software and automation businesses. The addition of Zedi’s cloud supervisory control and data acquisition (scada) platform will further enable Emerson to help ...

Read more...
Vaporising regulator increases the reliability of gas chromatograph analysers
September 2019, Emerson Automation Solutions , Analytical Instrumentation & Environmental Monitoring
With the Tescom 44-6800, Emerson has introduced a vaporising pressure reducing regulator for gas chromatograph analysers with the option to separate the regulator body from the electronic enclosure, without ...

Read more...