With Solvay Specialty Chemicals facing challenges with manual operation and equipment failure, the Singapore-based plant engaged Emerson to help them digitally transform their plant operations and put them on a path to enhanced performance. Within a year, the company was able to deploy a series of digital solutions across their pumps, manual valves and steam traps to make notable improvements in terms of both increased production and quality and reduced downtime and maintenance costs.
One of the primary areas to address was Solvay’s range of critical pumps for reactor circulation and raw materials feed, where a lack of insight into pump health was resulting in occasional unexpected failures and downtime, affecting batch quality. With Emerson’s help, Solvay specified and installed non-intrusive, wireless sensors and condition monitoring software with predictive analytics (including one of the first deployments of Plantweb Insight for pumps) to provide real-time information on current pump health and performance to stay ahead of potential failures.
Another area in need of a digital overhaul was Solvay’s array of manual valves, where occasionally some were inadvertently left in the wrong position, causing product cross-contamination and, in other cases, spillage. The valves were instrumented with position feedback sensors and integrated with the DCS software to allow operators to verify correct lineup of the valves before reactor material charging and product offloading.
Finally, Solvay needed better insight into the health of its steam traps because checks previously were only done during yearly manual surveys and trap failures would go undetected and product quality affected. Therefore, critical steam traps were instrumented with acoustic sensors and wirelessly linked to analytics software, helping promote more intuitive decision-making and data-driven maintenance activity to help personnel prioritize their workload.
Solvay’s integration of digital technologies and predictive analytics into their operational infrastructure has enabled them to transform the way they work from manual, paper-based tasks to more automatic, software-based and data-drive work practices. This has helped the company set a clear path to improved reliability, reduced maintenance and greater product quality and throughput for years to come.
For more information on how digital transformation with Industrial IoT technologies is providing more opportunities for industrial manufacturers, take a look at this brief video.