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Case Study:

Full Life-Cycle Automation Services
Polyol Facility

Situation

A major food and agricultural products client selected TEC to design, implement and support the complete electrical and controls systems for a new processing facility in Chicago, IL.

TEC’s expertise in oilseed processing and industrial automation standards were keys to this successful project, from system design through commissioning. TEC Automation Services bridged the gap between process design and manufacturing’s operations.

The challenge was to design and implement a complete automation system at a new polyols facility. Success would require tight coordination with the plant personnel, the prime contractor and the construction company. Also, the automation system could not be finalized until after production started, because of a new process design. In addition, the design approach would need to be very flexible to deal with possible construction issues.

Solution

For the plant to start on time and to be a success into the future, automation standards were needed for every facet of the project. These standards provided the flexibility to change the system as the design evolved and the foundation for future growth.

This standardization was reflected in every aspect of the project, including the electrical panel design, control systems structure and HMI (human machine interface) screen designs. At the core was a unique approach to equipment control sequencing. This sequencing minimized the risk of unknown equipment functionality from equipment makers. The electrical panel design standards logically accommodated large numbers of sensors and actuators spread across the process area. The HMI standards dramatically reduced training time through consistent symbols, colors, screen design and layout.

Results

The project provided numerous benefits for TEC’s client. The client was able to meet an aggressive start-up schedule and reduce commissioning time 50%. The standards approach significantly reduced training time for production operators and troubleshooting time for system maintenance technicians.

As a result, the client now uses this standards approach on projects at other locations.