PPG goes wireless

By Plant Engineering Staff June 27, 2006

PPG Industries, a large chlor-alkali chemical manufacturing complex in Lake Charles, LA received the first phase of a comprehensive managed wireless infrastructure deployment as part of an ongoing automation upgrade. Supplied by Invensys with its strategic partner Apprion, this infrastructure is designed to help further improve plant profitability, safety and security, while providing a secure, flexible and cost-effective foundation to support additional wireless applications in the future.

Invensys and Apprion implemented a common, layered network infrastructure following a comprehensive site assessment. The team that conducted the critical site assessment included Invensys, Apprion and PPG personnel representing production operations, maintenance, safety, security and information technology functions.

The new infrastructure incorporates multiple wireless technologies (both standard and proprietary), wireless devices and wireless-enabled applications. Apprion’s IONosphere software platform provided the key enabling technology for security, policy and performance management of the entire wireless infrastructure. Phase 1 wireless applications now in place at the site include:

  • Wireless temperature condition monitoring

  • Wireless site security monitoring (including remote video surveillance)

  • Wireless environmental monitoring to help simplify regulatory compliance

  • Secure wireless laptop and PDA access to provide authorized personnel with remote access to the site’s enterprise network.

    • “Wireless coverage, services, and applications for huge plants like PPG Lake Charles have been infeasible until recently,” said ARC Advisory Group Senior Analyst Harry Forbes. “This is clearly no longer the case. Now the challenge is to deploy and maintain a wireless infrastructure that can grow to support greater numbers and varieties of applications, and do so reliably and securely over a long period of time. It’s encouraging to see a wide variety of applications in this first phase of the project. I expect many more will be added as the‘network effect’ begins to occur at plants like PPG and they realize the potential value of this new infrastructure.”

      PPG Industries is a leading diversified manufacturer that supplies products and services around the world. The company makes protective and decorative coatings, adhesives, sealants, metal pretreatment products, flat glass, fabricated glass products, continuous-strand fiber glass products and chlor-alkali and specialty chemicals — including photochromic ophthalmic lenses, optical materials, amorphous precipitated silicas and fine chemicals. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, PPG has 110 manufacturing facilities and equity affiliates in more than 20 countries.