Case Study: Methodical Approach to a Systems Upgrade
ECS Solutions, Inc. (ECS) recently helped a client with an upgrade by leveraging ECS’ methodical approach to system solutions. Their client has three very similar processing areas known as casting pits. Each was controlled by an independent GE 9030 PLC system, each with a main, and each controlled by a local BLUE Open Studio HMI from ProFace America.
The 9030 PLCs that were installed were robust and accurate for these areas when originally installed. Over a long period of time, the systems were maintained and augmented by several personnel from both inside and outside the organization. The result, as is often the case in legacy automation systems, is system drawings that are littered with hand comments and sketches on paper drawings. These systems also feature code that works…. until it doesn’t due to getting lost in a discarded section of logic that was thought to be disabled but was never removed. These situations are often referred to as “ghosts” or “gremlins” in the code and they can be difficult to troubleshoot. Frequently, the solution is to reboot entire systems to exit from the offending area.
Case Study: Brewhouse Automation and Functional Upgrade
ECS Solutions was contracted to replace a control system that was becoming obsolete at a brewery in Florida. The Venezuelan-based parent company, for which ECS Solutions employees had already completed multiple projects, was concerned that the automation hardware could go bad and be difficult to replace, leading to a shutdown of the plant. The customer’s production was at risk since the hardware in the system, which incorporated old Siemens PLC, Siemens I/O (input and output), and Siemen’s software, was no longer supported or available.
ECS Solutions has worked at several of the company’s breweries in South America and had demonstrated the functionality of the ISA88 standard, which allows expansion from producing a few items to many and enables changes to be handled by brewmasters in a modular way without reprogramming the control system. The company wanted the brewmaster to be able to create recipes independent of the code in the PLC, so providing the functionality obtained with the ISA88 standard became an important goal. The company wanted the best practices, now working in the facilities in South America, to be introduced into the Florida plant. (more…)
Case Study: Integrating PlantPAx into an Existing Process Cell for a Pharmaceutical Company
A major pharmaceutical company was in the process of commissioning a control system for a new process cell and asked ECS to provide site support to complete the commissioning and qualification.
The control system supplier had taken a simplistic approach to keep costs down. A single controller with multiple Panelviews provided the heart of the control system that also interfaced with some OEM skids. The control hardware consisted of a quality Rockwell ControlLogix controller with multiple Panelviews. The controller code was all custom with little use of off-the-shelf products and was an assortment of custom blocks of code tied together, providing minimal functionality.
Little to no thought had been put into the operator and how they would run the system to create quality product. Standard operating procedures had not yet been developed. Producing a quality product was dependent upon the operator selecting the correct sequence of functions from operator stations at multiple vessels. This approach exposed the company to a great deal of risk in producing a quality product and controlling the rate of production.
Case Study: An Expansion of a Water Treatment Plant
A municipal utility asked ECS Solutions to design and construct an expansion to one of their Water Treatment Plants. It was proposed to expand an existing facility from ten million gallons per day (MGD) to a total treatment capacity of 30 MGD and upon completion of the expansion, an existing 18 MGD plant was to be shut down.
Earlier, ECS had provided the configuration and start-up support for the SCADA system used to operate the plant and had installed the existing SCADA and control system at both the plant to be expanded, and the one ultimately to be shut down. The proposal provided by ECS Solutions for the expansion covered the control and/or monitoring of:
- Four existing and four new aerators.
- Existing and new primary and secondary settling basins.
- Existing sludge and reclaim equipment.
- All existing and eight new filters.
- Existing and new high service pumps.
- New chemical feed equipment for lime, sodium hypochlorite, fluoride, and polyphosphate.
Case Study: FactoryTalk Batch Integration into a Control System for a Pharmaceutical Company
A large pharmaceutical company was commissioning and testing a new control system that was limited to providing only manual control of Equipment Modules. In some cases, manual control of Phases was available, with these Phases operating as coordination Equipment Modules but not having the infrastructure capable of interacting with a standard sequencing engine. To run a Batch Process the operators were required to manually enter recipe values and capture report information via an HMI, while tracking all activities in the various units. This allowed significant opportunities for operator errors (errors in setting parameters, errors in running the Equipment Modules in the correct sequence, or, in some cases, the physical inability to run multiple Equipment Modules at the same time).
ECS Solutions recommended and subsequently undertook the addition of a sequencing engine that not only stores the recipes (which contained the order in which the phases should be executed) but also stores all pertinent Parameter Values. With this modification, the operator is required simply to select a recipe together with all the equipment needed to run the batch. The batch engine is responsible for coordinating all the activities, including the parameter value transfer and Report information capture. The system also has the capability to prompt the operator regarding those tasks that require operator interaction. The installation of the addition did not interfere with any existing activities and all the existent code and functionality was preserved, with no changes being required.
Case Study: An Upgrade to Ignition Sepasoft “Perspective” OEE & Downtime Module
A global consumer goods manufacturer hired ECS Solutions to evaluate and install an upgrade of an Ignition Application from Version 7.9 to Version 8.1. Version 7.9 was originally installed by ECS Solutions. The overall objective for the company was to have a web-based client application that was independent of Java and based on HTML5. The upgrade included a reconfiguration of the MES software to improve its effectiveness.
The previous Ignition “Vision”-based Application did provide the functionality to monitor Equipment Downtime and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), but the use of Java within the Ignition modules conflicted with other applications at the site and made it difficult to access throughout the organization. Migration to the web-based Perspective Platform allowed ECS to significantly lighten the application and to focus on the most important data. The new version of the Sepasoft OEE module also made it possible to simplify how the workstream was modeled within the Sepasoft Production module. The company required this application be designed to work with both PCs and iPads.
JTM Foods Case Study
JTM Foods challenged ECS Solutions and Blentech to create a SCADA system that included the full spectrum of process automation for their new state-of-the-art production facility. JTM wanted to expand their production capability with a new state-of-the-art facility featuring a Process Automated Kitchen. They wanted to track their process from the ERP Order through the procedural execution of the receipt and material tracking to a finished product. There were multiple solutions evaluated for each of the key aspects, via different islands of software. JTM operates efficiently with a very lean, experienced workforce, however, they prefer to minimize the requirements to support and sustain multiple technology platforms.
Boosting Batch Performance at a Salad Dressing Plant
A well-known line of salad dressings was recently acquired by a major food manufacturer with the plan to establish a fully automated, paperless manufacturing process for the production. To do this efficiently and cost-effectively
represented a significant challenge.
Large Consumer Goods Case Study
ECS was hired to upgrade and replace a CIP control system in one of the manufacturing areas for a large consumer goods company. The scope of work included a new control enclosure containing an upgrade from a SLC5 controller to a ControlLogix controller. The upgrade also consisted of all IO and connections within the enclosure. Additionally, the company wanted to solve the problem of inefficiencies in its CIP process by implementing FactoryTalk Batch and Batch control within this updated CIP system.
Bardstown Bourbon Company Case Study
Bardstown Bourbon Company (BBC) is a Bourbon Distillery located in Bardstown Kentucky. Utilizing two mash cookers, 32 fermenters, two distillation stills, and nine cistern holding tanks, BBC produces a wide variety of high-quality whiskeys and bourbons. (more…)