Solvay selects DCS with flexible I/O

Electronic marshalling with Emerson’s DeltaV I/O characterization modules increases project flexibility with lower installation costs.


The Tavaux plant, which is Solvay’s largest, faces the task of managing a diverse and aging collection of installed control systems from multiple suppliers. International chemical and plastics maker Solvay, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, has selected Emerson Process Management’s DeltaV digital automation system Version 11 with electronic marshalling and characterization modules (CHARMs) to improve control of its PVC polymerization process at its plant in Tavaux, France. The selection follows Solvay’s earlier deployments of DeltaV in other facilities.

“Based on our recent positive experience with the DeltaV system’s electronic marshalling, we know we can rely on Emerson to deploy this game-changing functionality on our PVC project,” said Franck Jouault, system manager for Solvay Tavaux. “This technology will streamline our project implementation, minimize I/O footprint, and reduce downtime.”

The Tavaux plant, which is Solvay’s largest, faces the task of managing a diverse and aging collection of installed control systems from multiple suppliers. This includes conventional DCSs, PLCs, relay-based systems, pneumatic systems, and legacy emergency shutdown systems (ESD). Modernizing and integrating the plant’s 45,000 I/O points as part of the expansion projects is an ongoing and costly challenge.

The electronic marshalling offered in Version 11 eliminates the need for terminal blocks and much of the additional wiring and cabinet space associated with conventional DCSs.Emerson says it has completely redesigned hardware architecture of the DeltaV system Version 11 in a way that streamlines these kinds of lifecycle challenges. The electronic marshalling offered in Version 11 eliminates the need for terminal blocks and much of the additional wiring and cabinet space associated with conventional DCSs. Startup time also improves due to the reduced hardware content and workload.

Selection of DeltaV technology for the PVC polymerization process followed a previous Solvay test program to verify that the new I/O system would be compatible with existing field devices and wiring requirements.  Solvay had also successfully implemented the DeltaV system with electronic marshalling on two other projects of increasing size and complexity.

“The new project will automate 2,600 I/O points,” said Frederic Puissegur, system project manager for PVC at the Tavaux plant. “In addition to the DeltaV system with intrinsically safe CHARM I/O, it will include a redundant batch server, batch campaign manager, audit trail software, a DeltaV SIS process safety system, AMS Suite predictive maintenance software, engineering services, and on-site training.”

Solvay personnel noted that the platform simplifies project engineering and execution, particularly the electrical and wiring studies, compared to a DCS with its traditional I/O cards. Solvay has been able to eliminate the marshalling cabinet and the associated wiring and design—a huge benefit, given the plant’s space constraints. This reduced engineering effort also means faster project execution, so that the process can come back online sooner.

The new system also helps reduce project cost and schedule risks. In past projects, Solvay reckons that it had to add 5% to any project time and cost estimates because of change orders, incorrect estimates, and other problems. With CHARMs, I/O definition and late changes are easier to deal with during project implementation. Solvay now has the flexibility to assign any I/O point to any controller for optimum use of controller and processing resources.

Solvay Tavaux also anticipates that the DeltaV system will provide higher availability while avoiding unplanned downtime, because problems can be isolated to a single I/O channel – minimizing impact on the system.

Edited by Peter Welander,

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