Modular Procedural Automation (MPA) provides a flexible methodolgy to capture, optimize and retain procedural knowledge in a process plant while meeting requirements in reliability, flexibility, and lifecycle costs.
Process plants of all types are dominated by procedural activities which are critical to operate safe and efficient plants. These procedural activities reside in, manual SOP's, legacy control systems and often undocumented operator knowledge that has been acquired through years of experience. With the high rate of senior operations personnel retiring, much of this knowledge is being lost to the new generation of engineers and operators. Inadequate availability of accurate procedures can lead to operation errors. With an emphasis on plants running at optimal efficiency and continuous vigilance on safety, it is critical that the operational knowledge and best practices are captured by the enterprise and are executed consistently and accurately.
Industry leaders have recognized that there is a need for a standard around automating procedures and have formed the ISA-106 committee whose purpose is to develop standards, recommended practices, and technical reports on the design and implementation of procedures for automating continuous process operations Yokogawa has been involved in this standardization effort and has developed a solution offering that address the issues covered in the emerging standard- Modular Procedural Automation.
Modular Procedural Automation combines consulting expertise with world class procedure control capabilities to:
Exapilot is an online navigation tool that guides operators step by step through plant operating procedures.
Even though production control systems automate most of an industrial plant's operations, operators are still required to manually intervene for non-routine processes such as plant start-ups/shutdowns and product load/grade/recipe changes. Start-ups and shutdowns may occur very infrequently, even just once in a few years. Product switchovers, on the other hand, can be an everyday occurrence.
Experienced operators know every step of these procedures, but what happens if no one like that is immediately available on site? Will other less experienced operators be able to cope when the unexpected occurs?
Exapilot navigates operators through each step of an operation and prevents them from making mistakes, and even issues timely alarms when a hazardous abnormality is detected in a process. The standardization of operations improves product quality, shortens production cycle time, and reduces transient product. This results in reduced utility costs and enables plants to operate with smaller inventories.Exapilot solves this problem. Exapilot takes the know-how of your best operators and transforms this into standardized procedural flowcharts that your operators can use to navigate flawlessly through an entire process.
By eliminating operator errors and production losses, efficiency is improved and total operating costs are reduced.
Since Exapilot was first released, over 1,000 licenses have been sold to companies all over the world, and the majority of users have come from the chemical, petrochemical, and oil & gas industries.
Exapilot uses icons to represent standard plant operation elements. Just position and link the icons in a sequence to create a standard operating procedure. Create simple hierarchical sequences to represent complex procedures. Configuring Exapilot requires no special engineering skills.
At each step in a process, a dialog is displayed on the screen to indicate what action an operator must take next. An interlock sequence can be configured to prevent operators from omitting a step.
Procedures for opening valves, ramping, level checks, and starting/stopping pumps can be automated.
Exapilot provides seamless connection to production control systems (PCS) via a standard OLE for Process Control (OPC) interface. No PCS engineering is required. Exapilot has been optimized for Yokogawa's CENTUM series PCS, but other companies' DCS and PLC systems are supported as well.
A workflow created with Exapilot can be printed out with a self-documentation function for use as a standard operating procedure (SOP).
By using the debugging function in trial mode, Exapilot can be used as an operation simulator. Plant data can be imported into Exapilot in real time to run simulations without disrupting actual plant operations.
The use of Exapilot to automate non-standard operations allows your most experienced operators to spend more time enhancing and optimizing operation procedures throughout your plant. This improves efficiency and reduces operating costs.
Samsung Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (SPCL), a major Korean petrochemical company, produces 700,000 tons per year of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) at its Daesan plant. PTA, a white powder substance that is produced by oxidizing and refining para-xylene, is a precursor to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a polyester material that has excellent thermal resistance and wear resistance and is widely used as a substitute for natural cotton fibers and in film packaging, beverage bottles, tire cords, paints, adhesives, and other applications.
INPEX Corporation (INPEX) is Japan's biggest oil and gas development company and is involved in all aspects of this business, from research to exploration, production, and sales. INPEX is engaged in projects all over the world, in a total of 29 countries, including Japan, where it operates a gas production plant near Oyazawa, a town in Niigata prefecture.
This paper shows how to improve distillation operations by focusing on procedure automation. It will review the importance of using procedures in distillation operations and highlights the collaboration work underway between Fractionation Research Inc. (FRI) and Yokogawa Corporation to improve procedural operations.
Operational error is the single biggest reason for unscheduled shutdowns in process plants, causing several millions of dollars in damages and losses per year. Combine this with an aging skilled workforce leaving the work place, with inexperienced people to replace them, and there is no doubt that process plants face a challenging problem.
Yokogawa has come a long way in making its message clear to the world of process automation. Last year, the company embarked on a full-scale global marketing campaign to make customers aware of the company's focus on system reliability, security, dependability, and robustness. Dubbed "Vigilance", the campaign created a unified message for the company and greatly helped expand awareness of the Yokogawa brand and corporate philosophy.
Large process industry companies have recently started building plants with world-class safety and profitability to reinforce their competitive edge in the global market. As for plant operations, support functions for improving operators' plant operation skills and for extending operators' maximum capability are required to the DCS so that an operator can expand the area of plant monitoring or operate a plant with higher cost- consciousness.
In 1999, Yokogawa Electric Corporation formed an alliance with Shell Global Solutions International B.V. (SGSI) in Advanced Process Control (APC), and both companies have since jointly developed products. This alliance successfully combined SGSI's experience gained through more than 800 projects in more than 30 years and Yokogawa's great deal of experience with the process control market, and strengthened the scheme to provide the APC technology.
In recent years, safety and profitability have become ever more important in the process industry due to fierce global competition. Greater emphasis is being placed on highly efficient plant operation for reducing the increasing energy bill.
Recently, standardization of procedural automation of manual operations has been promoted mainly by the International Society of Automation (ISA), and the functional requirements necessary for automation are being studied by the ISA106 committee in the US.
For a coal fired power generation plant (hereafter referred to as "BTG facilities," in which "BTG" stands for boiler, steam turbine, and generator) supplying power to a large-scale production plant, the CO2 emissions from such facilities are a critical issue today.
Remarkable progress in information technology has led to open architecture systems and networking in the manufacturing industry. In such industry, remote monitoring systems based on public communication lines or the Internet, and or collaboration of control, information, and corporate systems based on standardized interfaces such as OLE for Process Control (OPC) are now widely used via networks.
Due to emerging competitors from the rapidly growing countries such as India and China and the global economic downturn triggered by the Lehman shock, many companies in the process industries are struggling to survive the severe global competition.
Process plants are run according to operational procedures. These procedures consist of a set of tasks that are executed in a consistent manner to achieve a specific objective, such as starting up, shutting down or transitioning a unit as part of making a product.
Process plants require operational procedures in order to produce products. These procedures consist of a set of tasks that are executed in a consistent manner to achieve a specific objective such as starting up or shutting down, or transitioning to a different product. The level of detail, purpose and frequency of use of these procedures varies by process, company and site—but in all cases these procedures should be the basis for plant operations.
Manual operations live on and even thrive in largely automated process plants, and they are often the cause of safety incidents.
By Maurice Wilkins, VP Strategic Technology Marketing Center, Yokogawa Corporation of America
Marcus Tennant, Senior Principal Technology Strategist, Yokogawa Corporation of America
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