Global Processing

Emerson helps Eka Chemicals save up to 20 percent on maintenance costs

January 28, 2004
Eka Chemicals – an Akzo Nobel division located at Maastricht, The Netherlands – reports operational savings through the use of automation equipment and systems supplied by Emerson Process Management. The PlantWeb® digital plant architecture has enabled a reduction in maintenance costs and unscheduled shutdowns as well as improved efficiency and control.

"We have reduced our maintenance costs by 10-20 percent," said Peter Montforts of Eka. "We have done this by utilizing the remote diagnostic and calibration capabilities of the field instrumentation, coupled with the AMS™ Suite: Intelligent Device Manager software. During a recent process problem, the DeltaV™ system was interrogated, and two control valves were identified as being at the root of the problem. AMS Device Manager software was used to recalibrate the valves, which solved the problem. Previously it would have taken a considerable time to identify and rectify this type of fault."

The PlantWeb architecture includes a DeltaV digital automation system and AMS Device Manager, communicating via FOUNDATION™ fieldbus and AS-i open digital bus communications. Automation equipment from Emerson includes El-O-Matic® actuators, Micro Motion® Coriolis flow meters, Rosemount® pressure and temperature transmitters and Fisher FIELDVUE® digital valve controllers.

Eka also benefits from the remote access capabilities of the DeltaV system. If there are any control problems outside of normal working hours, the engineer, John Kusters dials in from home over a modem to troubleshoot – often this means a trip to the plant is not required.

Eka produces resins that are used within the rubber and label industry. The production process involves melting and reacting resins at elevated temperatures. The resins are then transformed into soaps and dispersions.

"Since the installation of PlantWeb, unplanned shutdowns have been reduced by 10 percent," continued Peter Montforts. "We have been able to achieve this by closer monitoring of our processes. We have set conditional and deviation alarms that warn us of problems, and we can then take action to prevent a shutdown. This has also made our plant safer. Our levels of control have improved significantly, and we now have improved batch consistency and an increase in production levels."

"We have always been confident that the application of PlantWeb architecture provides benefits to our customers," said Roel Mulder, PlantWeb specialist, Emerson Process Management. "The experience of customers such as Eka proves that not only can capital savings be made, but significant operational savings can be made too. The difference is that the operational savings are made year-on-year over the lifetime of the plant."