Dow Chemical site in Texas is named 2013 HART Plant of the Year

HART Communication Foundation names the Dow specialty chemicals plant in Deer Park, Texas, as 2013 HART Plant of the Year, citing improvements plant operations and capabilities for proactive maintenance, instead of reactive maintenance.


Ted Masters, HART Communication Foundation president and CEO (third from right), presents the 2013 HART Plant of the Year Award to The Dow Chemical Company – Deer Park Acrylates Trip Reduction and Site Leadership teams. Courtesy: HART Communication FoundaThe HART Communication Foundation (HCF) announced The Dow Chemical Company specialty chemicals plant in Deer Park, Texas, was selected as recipient of the 2013 HART Plant of the Year Award. HCF made the announcement March 11; the Control Engineering March 2014 print and digital edition article provides in-depth information about the 2013 HART Plant of the Year. The award showcases end users, companies, and plant sites that demonstrate ingenuity in the application of HART Communication for real-time operational improvements, according to HCF.

Dow Chemical engineers are using HART technology as part of a reliability improvement program to monitor critical control valves connected to asset management software for diagnostics, failure analysis, and preventive and predictive condition-based maintenance. Using the intelligent device information significantly reduced costs and improved plant operations as it enabled the transition from reactive to proactive maintenance, Dow Chemical representatives suggested.

"HART technology has helped reduce production downtime related to control valve failures. Through our reliability program the plant has realized a 66% improvement in downtime reduction over a three year period," said Shadrach Stephens, Dow Chemical I/E maintenance group leader.

"Along with performing valve overhauls, we use the HART signal to monitor real time valve conditions which has helped with identifying problems before they could cause unplanned events. Combined with several improvement initiatives, this reliability effort has yielded significant financial savings, including millions of dollars in EBIT."

Ted Masters, HART Communication Foundation president and CEO, in the announcement, said, "The sound technology principals of the HART Protocol's design have enabled users like Dow Chemical to 'get connected' to valuable process and device data within the plant - to improve plant performance in a cost-effective way. Connectivity to the enterprise for visualization, analytics and integration into other systems multiplies the value that leveraging HART data in real-time can bring to a business."

According to Stephens, HART Communication helped Dow Chemical realize benefits and savings throughout plant operations:

  • Changed the plant culture with regard to valve maintenance, diagnostics and troubleshooting
  • Identified root cause of the problem; short-term solution to fix the problem; long-term strategy to prevent it from happening again
  • Recognized need for an equipment maintenance strategy and work processes so that the work could continue automatically based on established and new practices.
  • Took two approaches for condition-based management, asset management system and the data historian, instituting corrective action based on real-time data to prioritize and optimize maintenance resources.

"HART technology is a digital gateway that provides access to a new world of hidden potential," said Stephens. "By using the existing HART tools and resources we had and [by] engaging multiple levels of management and functions, we were able to change the process and the culture - for lasting benefits throughout the operation," Stephens said.

The Deer Park facility has identified the future benefits of adding instruments to the asset management system to monitor these critical instruments including transmitters, flowmeters and other high maintenance devices.

Dow Deer Park occupies 700 acres along the Houston Ship Channel, and employs nearly 790 people within eight production areas that operate as separate facilities or "plants within a plant." Specialty chemicals manufactured at the site include methyl methacrylate, acrylic acid, amines, and various acrylates. Markets using these specialty chemicals include paints, detergents, floor care products, adhesives and sealants, automotive coatings, acrylic plastics, personal care products, and water purification chemicals.

HCF gives the HART Plant of the Year award annually to recognize people, companies and plant sites globally that use the advanced capabilities of HART Communication in real-time applications to improve operations, lower costs and increase availability. Previous award recipients include Monsanto (USA); Shell (Canada); MOL (Hungary); Mitsubishi Chemical (Japan); PVSDA (Venezuela); Statoil (Norway); Sasol Solvents (South Africa); BP (USA); Clariant (Germany); and Dupont (USA). See links to related articles at bottom of this posting.

The HART Communication Foundation is an international, not-for-profit, membership organization supported by more than 300 companies worldwide. Founded in 1993, the Foundation is the technology owner, standards setting body and central authority on the HART Protocol and provides global support for application of the HART technology. The Foundation establishes and maintains the HART Communication standards including new developments and technology enhancements that benefit and support the needs of the industry. The HART Communication Protocol is the leading communication technology for intelligent process measurement and control field devices and systems with more than 40 million devices installed worldwide.

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, and Plant Engineering,


See the Control Engineering March print and digital edition article providing more information about the 2013 HART Plant of the Year, linked at the bottom of this posting. 

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