Monsanto's model for global reliability

With a single facility to supply global production needs, uptime is among the key challenges at the company’s dicamba manufacturing facility.

By Mike Bacidore

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With 20,000 global employees and facilities in 69 countries, Monsanto has the ability to take advantage of opportunities to change the way equipment health data is integrated into business systems for better decision-making and increased asset availability.

Crop protection, seeds and data science are the company’s three core businesses. And its flagship site for crop protection is in Luling, Louisiana, where Roundup Ready Xtend is manufactured. The production of glyphosate and the introduction of dicamba—key ingredients in the milkweed-killing product used primarily by soybean and cotton farmers—have been a key focus of a $975 million expansion at the Luling facility.

“This creates manufacturing facility challenges,” explained Derek Taravella, Monsanto crop protection reliability systems lead, who explained the path to increased safety and reduced downtime in his presentation at the Emerson Global Users Exchange 2017 in Minneapolis. The dicamba plant challenges included increasing equipment availability, reducing staff exposure to hazardous locations, and reducing the risk of cross-contamination with the existing facility.

Monsanto also believes it can use the new production facility as a means to developing better systems for reduced downtime company-wide. “Dicamba is a new operating process for us,” said Taravella. “Safety and reliability go hand in hand.”

Monsanto has seven crop-protection sites globally. The timeline will take facilities from the fragmented reliability that exists in 2017 to a comprehensive approach by 2020, via a 2019 implementation at the dicamba plant. “We want to use dicamba as a model approach,” explained Taravella. “Advanced Manufacturing 2020 is focused on improved processes, skilled competencies, data and insights. Our vision is zero unplanned events through reliability excellence.”

The dicamba manufacturing facility represents an opportunity to support asset-care lean practices, achieve asset-care vision, implement Advanced Manufacturing 2020 data and insight tools, and serve as a first-of-its-kind model for Monsanto.

The reliability strategy begins with vision casting and solution design before hierarchy is determined and criticality ranking is done on equipment. Then reliability-centered maintenance and failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) are conducted to determine which assets require predictive maintenance and which are appropriate for time-based, or preventive, maintenance. All of this also requires culture change and training—no simple task.

“For the reliability-process approach, we’ve been working with Emerson to gather information and put it in our CMMS,” explained Taravella. “What are the most important?” Once equipment monitoring is designed and the data is loaded into the CMMS, the process undergoes continuous improvement using insights.

To incorporate and leverage data and insights, the Monsanto facility is using Emerson’s Catapult master data development, as well as Emerson’s AMS asset management software, to identify performance issues associated with instrument and valve health, wireless predictive vibration monitoring and consolidated equipment health alerts.

“We’re also using Emerson’s 6500 ATG machinery health monitor, and we’re using Meridium for criticality analysis,” explained Taravella. “We think the value of these tools occurs when they’re fully integrated. We want to take the data and integrate that with business tools like Meridium and SAP.” Meridium asset-performance-management software supports criticality analysis, asset strategies, integrated asset insights and policy-based work management notifications to SAP.

Ultimately, by 2020, the integrated data and insight tools, combined with stronger asset-care work processes, will increase equipment availability for new facility design, as well as reduce staff exposure to hazardous locations and reduce the risk of cross-contamination with the existing facility.

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