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Emerson automates Thai petrochemical plant

Emerson Process Management has been selected by the PTT Aromatics and Refining Public Company Limited (PTTAR) and its principal construction contractors to provide state-of-the-art digital technology for an aromatics plant under construction in Rayong Province, Thailand.

The PTTAR Reformer and Aromatics Complex II Project scheduled for completion in 2008 will make PTTAR the largest aromatics producer in Southeast Asia. Aromatics are the starting materials for a broad range of consumer products used in everyday life, including CDs, aspirin, and automobile tires. Aromatics consist of petrochemicals obtained mostly from crude oil or natural gas, and include benzene, which is the hydrocarbon feedstock for plastic, synthetic rubber and glass-reinforced plastics, and paraxylene, which is used in clothing, packaging and plastic bottles.

After originally specifying a conventional instrumentation and control system, PTTAR and its contractors chose Emerson’s PlantWeb with FOUNDATION fieldbus technology. The PlantWeb architecture employs digital communication and intelligent, microprocessor-based field instruments, valves, digital systems, and software to enable plant personnel to monitor operations remotely, and to receive data that alerts them to any potential malfunction before it happens.

PlantWeb digital architecture, using fieldbus technology, delivers substantial benefits in reduced costs, along with producing fast and reliable system data, support for distributed control in the field, and self-diagnostics, which lead to fewer unexpected equipment failures, safer operations, and lower maintenance costs.

“PTTAR expects installation of Emerson technology to help increase its production capacity to 1.1 million tons per year,” said MC Lee, vice president, SK Engineering & Construction. “We chose the PlantWeb digital plant architecture as the best means of implementing fieldbus following visits to other fieldbus-based plants where we witnessed Emerson’s leadership with this technology.”

“The automation project was very capably engineered and managed by Emerson Process Management Asia Pacific, headquartered in Singapore, and supported by their project teams in Thailand and Korea,” said Mr. Prachurn On-Eiam, Project Director, PTTAR.

“This landmark project features an outstanding PlantWeb digital architecture approach that we designed specifically for PTT Aromatics and Refining Public Company,” commented John Berra, president of Emerson Process Management. “The many significant advantages offered by this technology convinced the PTTAR design engineers and their construction contractors that switching from conventional distributed control in the original plant was in the best interest of PTTAR and would result in sustainable operating advantages over the years.”

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