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Monsanto Muscatine Named 2012 HART Plant of the Year

Getting connected to HART Communication improves plant operation and enables transition from reactive to proactive and predictive maintenance

Austin, TX, USA (14 May 2013) - The HART® Communication Foundation (www.hartcomm.org) today announces that the Monsanto chemical manufacturing plant located in Muscatine, Iowa, USA, was selected as recipient of the 2012 HART Plant of the Year Award. The award showcases end users who have demonstrated ingenuity in the application of HART Communication for real-time operational improvements.

Monsato AwardMonsanto engineers used the full capabilities of HART Communication to "get connected" and integrate the intelligent information from more than 600 HART-enabled devices into their control systems, CMMS (SAP) and daily work processes. Using the intelligent device information significantly reduced costs and improved plant operations as it enabled the transition from reactive to proactive and predictive maintenance.

"By implementing conditioned based monitoring techniques, we can effectively identify, diagnose, troubleshoot, and ultimately repair issues prior to their effects negatively impacting production," says Joel Holmes, Monsanto Site Electrical Reliability Engineer. "We were able to identify the bad actors (devices) and save the operation between 800 thousand and $1.6 million dollars in cost avoidance per year through our reliability program efforts."

According to Holmes, HART Communication helped them realize benefits and savings throughout plant operations:

  • Embraced the asset optimization process in assigning criticality measures to over 14,000 pieces of equipment and instrumentation encompassing the plant.
  • Incorporated an asset management system into their site reliability workflow practices, to leverage and share reliability results and document return on investment (ROI).
  • Analyzed their data to quantify predictive versus reactive work by generating a "bad actor" list that shows how much "cost avoidance" the reliability program is providing.

"HART-enabled devices (measurement devices and smart valve positioners) are at the core of this achievement. I consider the asset management system to be a smart handheld on steroids!" says Holmes. "Now management is asking the reliability group to identify what we want to do next."

Monsanto is expanding their use of HART Communication through the application of WirelessHART® technology. WirelessHART is currently installed at their waste treatment facility and was recently added to one of their Acetanilide herbicide manufacturing units with the addition of six level instruments for pump seal pots. Five additional WirelessHART gateways have been purchased for installation in the near future and will provide WirelessHART network coverage for the entire facility.

Monsanto Muscatine is home to eight operating units on 150-plus acres, employing 450+ personnel. The plant produces over 70% of North America's Roundup Herbicide in addition to 100% of the company's Acetanilide Select Chemistry products, including Harness Xtra, Degree Xtra, and Warrant.