Increased Reliability and Security Through the Use of a Data Acquisition System

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Pope Scientific Programmable Logic Controllers Success Story | Yokogawa Corporation

Executive Summary

Located in Saukville, Wisconsin, Pope Scientific Inc. is a leading manufacturer of chemical processing equipment, engineered systems, and laboratory apparatus for science and industry. Internationally known, Pope Scientific provides specialized technical expertise for the design and manufacturing of chemical processing equipment.

The Challenges

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are essential equipment in chemical processing, controlling key variables such as pressure, flow rates, and temperature. While most PLCs have some sort of data logging capabilities, their software is typically cumbersome, making it time-consuming to incorporate even basic trend information.

PLC data files are typically logged in non-encrypted CSV format. The CSV file must then be further manipulated to show the data on a graph or chart, requiring additional work for users and slowing responses to potential problems.

For example, if a certain heating or cooling element starts to take more time to reach its target temperature, it could imply that the element is starting to fail. Without the ability to closely track this data, users are unable to anticipate problems, risking failures and costly downtimes.

The Solution

Although data acquisition systems have a long-established track records, many people are unfamiliar with their key role in distillation equipment. Unlike typical PLCs, a data recorder with a built-in touchscreen supports visualization of process data thereby eliminating the need for many hours of additional programming on a local HMI. Yokogawa recorders support a quick review of historical data by displaying time stamped trends, bar graphs, and digital values directly on the recorder or via any standard web browser.

SMARTDAC+ systems are flexible and can be customized for any application. These systems are offered with I/O using rack mounted configurations in a control panel viewed using web browser or as panel mounted hardware with local  touchscreen display. SMARTDAC+ systems support SMTP, SNTP and FTP to automatically transfer secure encrypted data files to network servers. There are a variety of ways to share the information with other users, even those at remote locations. Such convenient accessibility improves both reliability and process efficiency, allowing users to make predictions in maintenance.

Yokogawa’s DAQ systems help customers take their project offerings a step further with user-friendly interface and GMP environmental compliance. Universal gestures have been incorporated into touchscreen technology allowing users to swipe and pinch both Scale and X-axis Time Frames on local displays. SMARTDAC+ graphics are bright, colorful, and highly intuitive. The DaqStudio software also supports custom graphics if required. Users can choose from different data file types including secure encrypted or open text formats. The standard built-in ethernet port allows data to be viewed in real-time or exported on a scheduled basis. 

With respect to its GMP capabilities, Yokogawa’s DAQ systems are CFR 21 part 11 compliant. This specific FDA regulation provides for compliance in electronic documentation and electronic signature. The SMARTDAC+ Advanced Security option supports 128 bit encrypted data files plus on-board audit trail with configuration data also logged as an integral part of the encrypted data file.  The on-board audit trail logs the exact time and date of any User Login as well as what changes are made.

For Pope Scientific, it adds up to Yokogawa DAQ systems being an excellent asset to distillation equipment.


  • Chemical

    Chemical plants rely on continuous and batch production processes, each posing different requirements for a control system. A continuous process calls for a robust and stable control system that will not fail and cause the shutdown of a production line, whereas the emphasis with a batch process is on having a control system that allows great flexibility in making adjustments to formulas, procedures, and the like. Both kinds of systems need to be managed in available quality history of product, and to be able to execute non-routine operations. With its extensive product portfolio, experienced systems engineers, and global sales and service network, Yokogawa has a solution for every plant process.

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