Upgrade before disaster

Don't wait for a natural disaster to upgrade your plant. Better to upgrade your plant before it becomes an unnatural disaster. Hurricanes close plants, displace people, and inflict human suffering. So do manufacturing inefficiencies. Hurricanes kill people, communities, and history. Plant closings kill communities, dreams, and the future by decreasing investments, income, standard of living, a...

04/01/2007


Don't wait for a natural disaster to upgrade your plant. Better to upgrade your plant before it becomes an unnatural disaster.

Hurricanes close plants, displace people, and inflict human suffering. So do manufacturing inefficiencies.

Hurricanes kill people, communities, and history. Plant closings kill communities, dreams, and the future by decreasing investments, income, standard of living, and property values. Little of what humans build can withstand a hurricane's full force. However, humans can cooperate to apply the latest manufacturing technologies and processes, boost efficiencies, and create a gale force of growth.

Hurricane Katrina covered much of the instrumentation at the Pascagoula, MS, DuPont First Chemical facility under 9 ft of salt water for at least eight hours in November 2005, as well as leaving debris, snakes, fish, and alligators. A presentation at the ABB Automation World 2007 Users' Conference and Exhibition last month gave some details. ABB's share (and it wasn't the only contractor) included: 220 pressure transmitters, 56 temperature transmitters, 60 manifolds, 15 rotameters, 68 I/P signal converters 23 P/I signal converters, three handheld communicators, four chart recorders, and 159 technical support hours.

Restart came 102 hellacious days later. Personal sacrifices, some redesigns, and upgrades brought efficiencies that increased production by 14%. Additional savings were expected over time with reduction of onsite part numbers, better management of inventory and maintenance, and more efficient production. Reconstruction information and the “don't wait to upgrade” advice came from DuPont First Chemical's Ricky Tanner, with additional stories and information from James K. McCrone, ABB national sales director for instrumentation, who spent time at the plant, and from Ed Byrd, Mississippi office ABB distributor, with Regal-Brown, who was on site starting two days after the storm.

By way of thanks, Stephan L. Brannan, process controls/instrumentation lead, First Chemical, praised the the ABB/Regal Brown Team for “an incredible experience level in instrument specifications and material of construction application.” Brannan said he wished he could personally tell each person involved in the Katrina recovery “how this effort touched our lives here at the plant.” The rapidly accelerated DuPont plant upgrade came under extraordinary circumstances. It provides stark contrast to facilities headed toward a plant-closing disaster of their own making.

Save up to 30% in ongoing operational costs with a measured, proactive instrumentation review, McCrone said, covering design, spending, stores, inventory, updates, consolidation, and implementation. Don't wait for a plant disaster, natural or otherwise. Upgrade now.

MHoske@cfemedia.com





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