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July 9, 2019
How a six-month initiative at Honeywell Connected Plant proved that sometimes the best ideas are developed internally

Sometimes the best ideas are developed internally. By leveraging cloud-based analytic technologies from Honeywell Connected Plant (HCP), a six-month internal initiative boosted productivity of machinery and processes running within Honeywell’s own Performance Materials and Technologies (PMT) division. The pilot program increased revenue and capacity by more than 2% at the PMT plant in Orange, Texas, demonstrating the value that today’s cloud analytics can provide toward recognizing hidden asset performance degradation and how assets interact with the processes they serve.

“We make low-density polyethylene,” said Will Olp, manufacturing director of the additives-and-chemicals PMT, in his presentation at Honeywell Users Group Americas in Dallas. “We were having more unplanned downtime than business could support.”

The plant had experienced several unplanned shutdowns over 24 months, an estimated $20 million negative impact, explained Olp. Performance analysis and reporting was lagging, manually gathered biweekly. Maintenance was highly reactive, repeatedly finding shutdowns were avoidable. And communication paths between engineering and reliability/maintenance were inefficient.

“The plant incurred several costly unplanned shutdowns,” explained Olp. “There were myriad operational challenges and worn plant infrastructure. We didn’t want to wait for the engineers to do the analysis. We were able to take the process information and apply it to the algorithms and data that were being streamed into the cloud. I started this process in May 2018, and we had a solution in place in September.”

The project team combined reliability engineers, process engineers and operators. “Within Asset Sentinel, they’re now putting in what the root cause was,” explained Olp, “in addition to creating the algorithm from the data in the historian. We have 28 assets configured and 58 measured KPI sentinels. Site knowledge has been captured into it.”

The process and asset monitoring data streams are unified into a single data-processing scheme. At the same time a duplicate stream is being sent to the cloud.

The plant’s monitored equipment included reciprocating compressors, heat exchangers, boilers, reactors, off-gas spray columns, binary columns and deodorizers. Four areas of contribution came from the heat exchangers, deodorizers, boilers and an unidentified trade-secret asset.

While a 2.2% increase in revenue and 2.2% additional capacity were realized in six months, financial projections indicate breakeven in just 1.1 years annualized.

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About the Author

Mike Bacidore | Editor in Chief

Mike Bacidore is chief editor of Control Design and has been an integral part of the Endeavor Business Media editorial team since 2007. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning multiple regional and national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at [email protected] 

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