PACTware Tracks Instrument Performance in a Hydrazine Hydrate Plant

July 8, 2014
As part of an essential modernization of the field instrumentation, PACTware and FDT have been introduced into a hydrazine hydrate plant in France. Very soon after installation, PACTware was recognized as a very helpful platform that unified the handling of field devices from different suppliers. It also optimized certain control loops and to support predictive maintenance by tracking the instruments. Continuous valve monitoring became one of the most important applications.

Arkema, a global chemical supplier and the world leader in supplying hydrazine hydrate and derivatives, recently boosted production by optimizing manufacturing processes at its Lannemezan industrial site in France / Hautes-Pyrénées.  Arkema, the largest chemicals producer in France, is enhancing the future of the chemical industry every day. Deploying a sustainable, innovative strategy, the group produces specialty chemicals that provide customers with practical solutions to challenges such as climate change, access to drinking water, the future of energy, fossil fuel preservation and the need for lighter materials. With operations in more than 40 countries, 14,000 employees and 10 research centers, Arkema generates annual revenue of approximately €6.4 billion.

Decision to digitize all field instrumentation

The Lannemezan facility uses an Invensys I/A Series control system and field instrumentation from about ten different vendors, including Mettler Toledo, Foxboro, Foxboro/Eckardt, Rosemount, Yokogawa, Vega, Samson, Masoneilan, Chauvin Arnouz and Siemens.  When managers in Lannemezan decided to upgrade, they wanted to maximize benefits from the control system and optimize the entire production process. They decided to convert all the facility’s instrumentation base to digital technologies using the HART communication protocol.

Managers wanted to eliminate multiple manufacturer-specific configuration programs by replacing the disparate software tools with a single standard communications interface. Arkema’s management team also determined that common configuration would help optimize control loops by drawing on diagnostic functions built into some instruments. This helps reduce the need for human intervention, which previously included loading vendor specific configuration tools on laptops deployed in hazardous areas.

Installation of PACTware technology

ARKEMA realized that a project of this magnitude required a partner with extensive automation expertise. They turned to Invensys, who had experience in similar projects. After a thorough review, Invensys recommended using the Field Device Technology (FDT) interfacing technique. The company also selected PACTware (FDT Frame Application), a freeware program used for parameter adjustment and configuration of field instruments, remote I/0 systems and communication modules in fieldbus systems and networks. It supports instruments from different manufacturers and communication protocols. The Frame Application is used as the device handling tool to optimize the audit trail from the I/A Series system engineer’s station to the field devices.

The FDT interface and PACTware were combined with the Invensys VALcare-DTM, a device type manager for valve monitoring. A dedicated pilot control for the SRD991/ SRD960 digital positioner was installed on an Invensys I/A Series AW 70 engineering station. Invensys Foxboro FBM214 and FBM215 HART communication I/O cards provided the interface between the field instruments and the I/A Series system.

Valve monitoring with the “VALcare-DTM”

With the new technology, the Arkema operators could continuously monitor around 100 control valves, watching the difference between the actual valve position value and the required setpoint. When deviations occur, an alarm is activated.  Managers can also archive histograms using the AIM Historian suite. The Invensys DTM analyzes, interprets, and reports the status automatically.

Built-in pressure sensors on positioners can be used for continuous monitoring of the difference between the positioner supply pressure and the output pressure on the actuator. An abnormal deviation in this value may flag a mechanical problem, such as a friction point or leak.

Two valves, the steam general supply valve and a column level control valve, were deemed critical for the process. They have been equipped with SRD960 positioners with built-in pressure sensors. Using PACTware, this option allows continuous monitoring of friction (difference between the output pressure and the spring range). An abnormal deviation in this value may highlight a mechanical problem in these valves, prompting preventive maintenance. Pilot functions on digital positioners have allowed Arkema to optimize control loops.

Arkema is seeing significant benefits. When an abnormal number of cycles on an exchanger water flow suggested a regulation problem, it was corrected by modifying the derivative parameter. Tracking instrument performance in this way will help maximize the effectiveness of the next plant shutdown. Monitoring position and response histograms, on control valves, for example, will help define priority levels valve reviews.

Results and user comments

By installing DTMs for other field devices from manufacturers such as Vega, Samson, or Yokogawa, and using generic DTMs for Emerson instruments, the entire management of the instrumentation base at the hydrazine plant has been significantly improved.  Device handling is unified and some control loops have been optimized, thanks to the various diagnostics incorporated in the instruments. Tracking the instruments generally allows us to plan for the next plant shut down and to optimize the maintenance concept.  Personnel can perform reliable, optimized maintenance, reacting to problems or performing predictive maintenance. Tracking results are processed and displayed by PACTware at the AW70 station.

“Since converting to digital and installing FDT Technology along with PACTware, we have been able to complete all downtime maintenance jobs within the allotted deadlines says Mr. Nonnez, EIA manager at the Lannemezan facility.  "Using a single interface simplifies both our management and our audit trail.  Configuring dedicated alarms for some sensors has allowed us to highlight malfunctions. Tripping a temperature alarm programmed to monitor a steam flow pressure transmitter, for example, revealed steam leaking from an isolation manifold.”

About PACTware

A capable and cost efficient device handling and integration platform is a key issue in

fieldbus-based automation systems.  PACTware exactly met these requirements from its beginning in 2001 (Foundation of the PACTware Consortium e.V.) or even from 1997, when the first version was developed.

Today, “device handling” or more correct “device management” describes a broad range of operations with intelligent field devices ranging from planning and engineering, to parameterization and implementation, to plant control and maintenance issues. The free of charge PACTware tool allows execution of all these functions online and centralized from the control room or another location in the plant or in the workshop for offline device parameterization.

PACTware stands for user-friendly and self-explanatory instrument control. It acts as the Frame Application of the standardized FDT interface and provides the user with intuitive access to the connected instruments.  Software modules in the form of device-specific DTMs (Device Type Manager) are used for controlling the connected units and allow highly specialized and efficient control.

PACTware is supported and further developed by the PACTware Consortium e.V. with its 24 member companies. On-going innovation work ensures investment protection and keeps existing installations up to date – the current version includes a new topology scan, an expanded diagnosis scan (according to NAMUR NE 107) and functions for handling IO-Link and TCI.

For more information on Pactware or to download the Pactware Frame Application, please visit:

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