Chemical plant completes 2nd phase of major control system upgrade

Migration from an existing control system to a DeltaV digital automation system continues as the second phase of a major upgrade is completed at the Solutia chemical manufacturing plant in Newport, South Wales.


Process Control

Process Control

Solutia chemical manufacturing plant (top) continues its major control system upgrade with the installation of Provue consoles (bottom) from Emerson Process Management.

Migration from an existing control system to a DeltaV digital automation system continues as the second phase of a major upgrade is completed at the Solutia chemical manufacturing plant in Newport, South Wales. The three-phase Emerson Process Management project restructures system architecture to a high-speed, fiber-based system, upgrades existing Provue consoles to more current DeltaV units, and integrates the three existing control rooms into one central location.

The Emerson Provox DCS has been in service at Solutia for nearly 20 years. Although it has been well maintained and provides reliable control, system demands led the company, in cooperation with Emerson, to plan the phased migration from the current DCS to the DeltaV system. Upgrade objectives included more flexibility and communication speed, a more robust infrastructure, increased reliability, and a standardized control system across Solutia manufacturing sites.

Phase 1 of the project upgraded the system architecture to take advantage of the benefits of fiber-optic networks. A fast Highway 2 network was installed by a team of Emerson and Solutia engineers. Preparatory work, including hardware and cabling installation, was done in advance to reduce the time the plant would be off-line. The upgrade was completed within a two-day planned shutdown.

Second phase upgraded operator consoles that were approaching the end of their life. One is now in place in the plant production area; installation of three more, one for systems development, is planned. All consoles are Microsoft Windows based.

Final phase involves consolidating the three existing control rooms into one, allowing multiple production units to be run from a central location. The integration will save money, increase efficiency, and remove personnel from potentially hazardous areas.

The 316-acre Solutia site employs 200 and generates 150,000 tons of products annually, including organic phosphonates, intermediates, and plasticizers used in washing powders, floor coverings, tires, safety windows, and windscreens.

— Jeanine Katzel, senior editor, Control Engineering,

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