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Feasibility StudyAfter extensive information gathering on site, Yokogawa Brazil recommended an approach that focused on using automation to improve the company’s competitiveness by reducing process variability (improving product quality) and making better utilization of critical raw materials (increasing yield).Phased Implementation StrategyBased on a prioritization of strategic issues that included the need to reduce process variability, achieve greater competitiveness, and lower costs by increasing production efficiency, the decision was made to conduct the project in the following phases:1st phase - Monomer recovery: Optimizing process conditions to more efficiently recover all residual monomers from polymerization reactions and class A raw materials for this process.2nd phase - Polymerization: Includes the full automation of solution preparation and reactor loading (automatic recipes) and optimization of the polymerization conditions (cynetic control) to improve quality and reduce cycles. This phase is scheduled to be completed in March 2011.3rd phase - Advanced process control implementation: Inference and control of polymer quality variables such as conversion, composition, and molar mass. The main objective is to reduce the variation in the value of highly-aggregated-value polymers. Other objectives include improving productivity and reducing residual emissions to the environment.ResultsA major improvement as a result of this project is that butadiene monomer recovery efficiency jumped from 76% to 98%. The estimated benefit to Nitriflex is US$2 million per year. In addition, there were the following benefits for Nitriflex:•Environment: A remarkable reduction (near complete elimination) in residual monomer emissions into the atmosphere and a reduction in liquid effluents through the installation of a collection system.•Safety: Improved monitoring and control systems ensure a safe and timely response to changes in process conditions and reduce the likelihood of human error by eliminating the need for direct operator intervention.•Agility:Shorter production cycles allow a more agile response to shifts in demand and greater stability in product quality ensures increased flexibility in production scheduling.•Intermediate stocks: The increased production capacity makes it possible to keep less intermediate stocks, improving the balance among all production areas.•Process variability: The reduced need for direct operator intervention reduces process variability.•Speed: The use of PIMS and other special tools to distribute real-time production information to sales, planning, engineering, and other functions throughout the company speeds up its operating and commercial activities.Customer SatisfactionSpeaking about this project, Luis Carlos, senior process engineer for Nitriflex, says, “We are very happy to be using Yokogawa’s CENTUM CS 3000 to improve production. To meet the requirements of end users and compete in the global market, we will increase the agility of our production activities and improve product quality.” He went on to say, “We are always thinking about sustainable manufacturing, and for this we need a strong partner like Yokogawa.”The central control room beforeThe central control room todayLuis Carlos senior process engineerSuccess Story Collection6NITRIFLEX / Brazil

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