Quality and Control--on a Large Scale

Mondi Steti a.s. a Steti , Czech Republic, a business unit of the Mondi Group, produces 1,500 tons of pulp and paper daily, consuming more than a ton of logs per day. The facility is located about 25 miles north of Prague.

The packaging paper plant management sought to implement a comprehensive information system across the human-machine interface/supervisory control and data acquisition (HMI/SCADA) infrastructure to visualize and manage the plant’s operations. The resulting HMI/SCADA system was slated for the entire complex, extending to more than 100 buildings.

“We wanted to build the most advanced, Web-based system we could,” says Lubomir Rulisek, pulp mill manager, Mondi Packaging Paper Štˇetí a.s. “The biggest issue was the number and type of contributing technologies.”

That meant the system faced potentially complex integration issues. It had to reach into the company’s SAP enterprise resource planning system, plus its OSI PI historian and its Measurex, ABB and Siemens programmable logic controllers. In the background were 18 servers from different computer makers. However, since the equipment was either compliant with the OPC open communication standard or could be harnessed using OPC technologies, management opted for an OPC solution.

Working through integrator Kontron Czech, the resulting system uses a range of applications from Iconics Inc., a Foxboro, Mass., manufacturing software supplier, which are integrated into a single system. In part, the choice was the result of the capability of Iconics software to reduce database duplication and to smooth out the plug-and-play aspects of bringing disparate equipment together. In addition to supplying infrastructure and systems software, Iconics worked in tandem with Kontron and Mondi IT personnel to help bring all the pieces together.

The system harnesses nine OPC servers to process real-time data from all segments of the large paper complex. An Iconics WebHMI server, running Internet information services (IIS), delivers more than150 dynamic Web panes to 70 WebHMI clients running on standard Internet Explorer Web browsers. WebHMI is part of Iconics’ Genisis32 suite of HMI and SCADA applications. The system enables production, maintenance and management personnel to view real-time plant operations throughout the facility on more than 900 personal computers (PCs).

Under the hood, an Iconics DataWorX32 OPC data exchange system manages the heavy dataflow generated by the plant operations. It acts as a data-collection engine for more than 4,000 real-time OPC tags and more than 5,000 historical ones. An important element that had to be kept in mind in this large project is that several OPC client applications can request the same points from a given OPC server, potentially overloading the server. When multiple clients request data from an OPC server, DataWorX32 aggregates the data to the requesting system to reduce network traffic.

Seen before

“The key from the personnel point of view was to keep the HMI in the browser,” says Rulisek. “That made much of the interface easy to learn for the end-users, since everything was in the familiar setting of Internet Explorer.”

The system depends on OPC-based coding for data access, historical data, and alarm and events communication, as well as trend visualization and graphic representation for control and monitoring. Because Genesis32 offers a single development tool for workstations, Pocket PCs, mobile devices and terminal servers, the process of building the system was easier than it might have been.

In part, too, Mondi uses the system to help maintain and document formal control over its processes and procedures. The mill complex, which in addition to pulp, makes kraft, bag and fine papers, holds certification for ISO 9001:2000, a quality management standard of the International Organization for Standardization, ISO 14001:2004, an environmental management standard,, and Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001:1999. Maintaining these requires a tremendous amount of process and production record-keeping.

“The key is integration, and OPC really helped in that regard,” says Rulisek.

Dave Gehman, dgayman@rcn.com, is an Automation World Contributing Editor.
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