HART 2009 Plant of the Year

Exclusive: First ethylene plant for Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. is the HART 2009 Plant of the Year. HART technology helped detect onset of a plugged impulse line and plugged manifold during start-up, reducing maintenance costs and start-up time. An unscheduled shutdown would have cost an estimated $3 million.



Installing differential pressure HART-enabled Rosemount 30151S transmitters in critical areas of the plant is part of the reason for Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. success, the company says.

Installing differential pressure HART-enabled Rosemount 30151S transmitters in critical areas of the plant is part of the reason for Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. success, the company says.

The Mitsubishi Chemical plant in Kashima, Japan, named as HART 2009 Plant of the Year, is using HART Communication technology to read process variables and obtain additional process variables from pressure transmitters. The information helps diagnose abnormal process conditions and track equipment health. Engineers involved perform trending and analysis of secondary process variables to provide process insights, and that knowledge helped uncover plugged impulse lines, an unstable flow profile, and an inefficient compressor pump, according to HART Communication Foundation.

The Foundation gives the annual award to recognize the people, companies, and plant sites that use the advanced capabilities of HART Communication in real-time applications to improve operations, lower costs, and increase availability.

Monitoring big ticket savings

Advanced HART diagnostics from pressure transmitters are used throughout the ethylene plant on critical measurements. These points are being monitored and measured for process variability to better understand the process profile and detect abnormal situations before serious problems occur. Two or three device failures have been detected that could have caused a plant shutdown.

Direct operations cost savings haven’t yet been documented, but avoiding an unscheduled shutdown saves $3 million in lost production (as it takes five days to restart the plant). Performing at peak operational capability saves $20,000-$30,000 daily. Maintenance costs have dropped 10%.

Better manufacturing decisions occur when people and processes follow the control loop: measure, decide, actuate, and repeat.

Better manufacturing decisions occur when people and processes follow the control loop: measure, decide, actuate, and repeat.

Seeing the abnormal early

“HART Communication is useful to collect online data from a field device without disturbing the 4-20 mA analog signal,” explained Takayuki Aoyama, team leader, instrumentation group, Mitsubishi Chemical. “We have been collecting online data to evaluate diagnostic functions that device vendors offer. Our goal is to detect abnormal situations in the process and protect field devices from malfunctions.”

Diagnostic parameters that would have helped detect signs of an abnormal situation or degrading performance were difficult to obtain with handheld devices, because they require a time-consuming, manual step-by-step approach, Aoyama explained. “HART technology made it possible to access these data without manual operation. This made it easier for us to gather data, and opened up many possibilities for us to detect abnormal situations from field devices.”

The facility’s asset management system gathers HART data, some of which provides diagnostic functions. As devices are replaced, they will include HART Communication, helping to discern the functions and parameters that could indicate process anomalies or device performance degradation. Integrating the Plant Resource Manager and distributed control system provides monitoring without having to connect a maintenance tool, saving maintenance costs and production losses.

Devices requiring the most field maintenance are control valves, pressure transmitters, and analyzers, Aoyama said, and “we estimate that the cost savings is more than 10% due to utilizing HART features in the devices.” Additional devices expected to provide intelligence include vortex flowmeters, Coriolis flowmeters, and valve positioners.

Configuration, benefits

Use of advanced HART diagnostics from the pressure transmitter allowed Mitsubishi Chemical to:

  • Detect onset of a plugged impulse line in a naphtha flow application, as well as a plugged manifold during start-up, and proactively address the issue;

  • Reduce maintenance costs by 10%;

  • Measure flow-loop variability, which helped identify an area of unstable flow due to inadequate length of pipe. Quick discovery of the problem saved time by reducing investigative work for root cause analysis. After installing a conditioning orifice plate, flow signal stability was verified, providing an accurate measurement, improved plant availability, and more throughput.

  • Detect an inefficient compressor pump. With process data provided through HART communication, the compressor problem was isolated early and necessary repairs were performed before it caused damage to the rotor (and possibly a plant shutdown).

The plant’s installed base of equipment includes: Yokogawa, Yamatake, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, Dresser, and Fisher. HART devices number approximately 800, 10 connected through multiplexers, and the others through the Yokogawa distributed control system, which was updated three years ago. Asset management systems are Yokogawa’s PRM and FieldMate (connected through DCS). An Emerson AMS is connected through a Pepperl+Fuchs multiplexer.

Of 3,000 total devices, 30-40 are upgraded with every shutdown, and analog devices are replaced with HART devices as standard. Emerson Process Management’s WirelessHART devices are being tested.

Engineers are working to incorporate partial stroke testing and automatic interlocks at this plant. Other MCC plants are moving to similarly incorporate HART Communication.


Author Information

Information provided by HART Communication Foundation; edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering. Reach him at MHoske@cfemedia.com .

Mitsubishi Chemical plant

  • Location : Kashima, Japan

  • Capacity : 380,000 tons per year.

  • Employees: 4,963 (non-consolidated) work in Mitsubishi Chemical Corp.

  • Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings group (jointly established by Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. and Mitsubishi Pharma Corp. stock-for-stock exchange in 2005), has 39,305 employees.

Prior recipients of HART Plant of the Year

Read application articles on prior HART Plant of the year winners online:

  • Easier startup: Petropiar Oil Refining Facility is 2008 HART Plant of the Year budurl.com/y3et

  • Rewarding Innovation: HART names StatoilHydro 2007 Plant of the Year budurl.com/uvfw

Other prior winners:

  • BP Canada Energy (Canada);

  • Sasol Solvents (South Africa);

  • Clariant (Germany);

  • BP Cooper River (USA);

  • Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (USA); and

  • Dupont (USA).

Read more with this article at www.controleng.com/archive , Dec. 2009.

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