Evonik Project Lighthouse Shines Light on Asset Health

Mike Sowell, plant electrical engineering, EvonikAt specialty chemical-maker Evonik Industries’ campus in Mobile, Alabama, a 2015 energy metering project warranted implementation of an instrumentation network. The effort included wired and wireless instruments, plus the retrofitting of wired instruments with Emerson’s THUM wireless adapters across 28 units. That network laid the foundation for Project Lighthouse, a larger monitoring and analytics initiative that has so far illuminated equipment health at Evonik sites in Alabama, Louisiana and Nebraska.

In Mobile, we had no more low-hanging fruit, explained Michael Sowell (pictured), plant electrical engineer, Evonik. He and Emerson Automation Solutions field consultant Richie Graham presented Evonik’s story at the 2017 Emerson Global Users Exchange in Minneapolis. We needed to find a way to the next level, and started Project Lighthouse in 2016. Before, we had data available, but we didn’t have it in front of the right people."

"We’ve had local experts in Mobile doing vibration analysis with good results,continued Sowell. But we wanted them to be able to serve other sites across the United States, Mexico and Canada. We’ve had to extend our data-gathering infrastructure.

New Orleans was the pilot site, and then Omaha, Nebraska, was added. More sites will be included as each one is ready to make the investment and connect to the analytics and diagnostics capabilities based in Mobile. To be ready for networking internally and with other Evonik sites, the Mobile plant had to get the architecture right, Sowell " said We are remotely accessing information from the process data network (PDN) through our demilitarized zone to Emerson’s AMS ARES Asset Source Interface and then to the office network, Sowell" explained.

The company also is working on a second service model where we can hang any device on the process data network, explained Sowell. We’ve worked with IT to extend our process data network to the facilities in New Orleans and Omaha, and so far we’re not experiencing any bandwidth problems.Project Lighthouse’s big payoffs will be in centralized subject matter expertise and data analytics, as well as continuously improving maintenance and reliability practices. Evonik wants to move from preventive to predictive maintenance, explained Graham. Six months ago, they installed steam-trap monitoring in the sleeperways and got feedback. It was so easy to install that they added the pump monitoring application a month ago. They’ve also implemented Emerson’s AMS Machinery Manager and AMS Device Manager, which works in conjunction with the DeltaV.

Emerson’s AMS ARES application serves as switchboard for these other applications. It delivers asset-health alerts to relevant personnel, enabling corrective actions to improve reliability and safety, said Graham. We expect this to transform the way we do maintenance, said Sowell. We’re able to centralize all of these services into the Mobile site and to continuously monitor equipment across the company