Dow Corning, a global leader in silicon-based technology and innovation, is standardizing worldwide on Siemens Simatic ® PCS 7 distributed control system.
As part of the transition, Dow Corning’s Global Manufacturing Automation Team (GMA) is standardizing its continuous process applications worldwide, leveraging state-based control as defined by the 2010 ISA 106 standard.
According to the ISA 106 committee working on standards for Procedure Automation for Continuous Process Operations, a process state is a definable operating condition of process equipment as it progresses from shutdown to operating and back to shut down. Each process state represents a unique operating regime that supports the process equipment’s objectives of processing an input into a desired output.
Charlie Stibitz, Dow Corning’s senior process automation specialist, leads the company’s development of global automation standards. He says Dow Corning is leveraging its extensive knowledge of S88 batch architectures to support the development of ISA 106 and is now applying the batch automation concepts to continuous applications using the PCS 7 platform.
“We wanted a single platform and a unified team supporting control applications for all process types, batch and continuous,” Stibitz says. “As we migrate all legacy systems to PCS 7 and work on developing universal standards like ISA 106, all our plants will see improved safety, and quality, improved alarm management, reduced operator workload and better asset utilization.”
Following ISA 106 guidelines, equipment module sequences are implemented using SFC types within the PCS 7 platform. Movement between process states is controlled with a custom Dow Corning block. Unit operations, the collection of equipment phases and set points, are managed by Simatic Batch software.
Paul Morgan, Siemens senior process automation consultant, adds that by standardizing on PCS 7 and ISA 106, Dow Corning is also reducing operator workload and reducing downtime.
“A state-based control system never operates in more than one state,” Morgan says. “Alarms can be shelved so the operator does not have to react to nuisance alarms. Because the sequences are automated, there is also far less stress on the operator during startups and shutdowns, resulting in safer and faster process transitions.”
Dow Corning has begun migrating to the PCS 7 distributed control system in its plants worldwide. Migration of applications controlling continuous processes have been implemented using the ISA 106 standard, and these migrations and implementation of standards are expected to continue as aging control systems are replaced.
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Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG, a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 165 years. With 343,000 employees in more than 200 countries, Siemens reported worldwide revenue of approximately $98 billion in fiscal 2014. Siemens in the USA reported revenue of $22.2 billion, including $5.2 billion in exports, and employs approximately 46,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
About Dow Corning
Dow Corning (dowcorning.com) provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company's Dow Corning® and XIAMETER® brands. Dow Corning is equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning's annual sales are outside the United States.
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