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Dow Chemical named 2013 HART Plant of the Year

The Dow Chemical Company specialty chemicals plant located in Texas, USA, has been selected as recipient of the 2013 HART Plant of the Year Award.

The award showcases end users who have demonstrated ingenuity in the application of HART Communication for real-time operational improvements.

Dow Chemical engineers are using HART technology as part of a reliability improvement program to monitor critical control valves connected to asset management software for diagnostics, failure analysis, and preventative/predictive condition-based maintenance.

Using the intelligent device information significantly reduced costs and improved plant operations as it enabled the transition from reactive to proactive maintenance. 

“HART technology has helped reduce production downtime related to control valve failures. Through our reliability program the plant has realised a 66% improvement in downtime reduction over a three year period,” says Shadrach Stephens, Dow Chemical I/E Maintenance Group Leader.

“Along with performing valve overhauls, we use the HART signal to monitor real time valve conditions which has helped with identifying problems before they could cause unplanned events. Combined with several improvement initiatives, this reliability effort has yielded significant financial savings including millions of dollars in EBIT.”

“The sound technology principals of the HART Protocol’s design have enabled users like Dow Chemical to ‘get connected’ to valuable process and device data within their plant – to improve plant performance in a cost-effective way,” says Ted Masters, HART Communication Foundation President and CEO.

“Connectivity to the enterprise for visualisation, analytics and integration into other systems multiplies the value that leveraging HART data in real-time can bring to a business.”

According to Stephens, HART Communication helped Dow Chemical realise benefits and savings throughout plant operations:

  • Changed the plant culture with regard to valve maintenance, diagnostics and troubleshooting
  • Identified root cause of the problem; short-term solution to fix the problem; long-term strategy to prevent it from happening again
  • Recognised need for an equipment maintenance strategy and work processes so that the work could continue automatically based on established and new practices.
  • Took two approaches for condition-based management – AMS and the data historian – instituting corrective action based on real-time data to prioritize and optimize maintenance resources.

“HART technology is a digital gateway that provides access to a new world of hidden potential,” says Stephens.

“By using the existing HART tools and resources we had and engaging multiple levels of management and functions, we were able to change the process and the culture – for lasting benefits throughout the operation.”

The Deer Park facility has identified the future benefits of adding instruments to the AMS in order to monitor these critical instruments including transmitters, flowmeters and other high maintenance devices.

Dow Deer Park occupies 2.8 sq km along the Houston Ship Channel, and employs nearly 790 people within eight production areas that operate as separate facilities or “plants within a plant.” Specialty chemicals manufactured at the site include methyl methacrylate, acrylic acid, amines, and various acrylates.

Markets using these specialty chemicals include paints, detergents, floor care products, adhesives and sealants, automotive coatings, acrylic plastics, personal care products, and water purification chemicals.

The HART Plant of the Year award is given annually to recognise the people, companies and plant sites around the world using the advanced capabilities of HART Communication in real-time applications to improve operations, lower costs and increase availability.

Previous award recipients include Monsanto (USA); Shell (Canada); MOL (Hungary); Mitsubishi Chemical (Japan); PVSDA (Venezuela); Statoil (Norway); Sasol Solvents (South Africa); BP (USA);  Clariant (Germany); and Dupont (USA).

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