Sasol Solvents wins 2005 HART Plant of the Year award


Nov 16, 2005

THE HART Communication Foundation (HCF) announced at ISA Expo 2005 in Chicago that Sasol Solvents and O&S SMG operations plant in Sasolburg, South Africa, has been selected as the 2005 HART Plant of the Year. The award is given annually to recognize people, companies and plant sites worldwide that are using the full capabilities of HART technology in real-time applications to improve operations, lower costs, and increase availability.

Sasol Solvents and O&S SMG operations plant in Sasolburg, South Africa, has been selected as the 2005 HART Plant of the Year.

Sasol’s plant uses HART Communication for full-time monitoring of 3,500 HART-enabled instruments and control valves. Johan Claassen, Sasol’s E/I manager, says one of the company’s main project objectives was to move from a “run-to-failure” maintenance philosophy to a predictive maintenance strategy. The goal was to lower fixed costs and avoid or prevent unscheduled plant shutdowns by using device diagnostics to warn of pending problems. 

“The biggest benefit of using the HART protocol is the capability to access on-line device diagnostic information from our intelligent HART-enabled devices and control valves,” explains Claassen. “We’ve realized more than $2 million in documented savings to date, and will continue to enhance our use of HART and to expand on its benefits going into the future.”

Sasol’s plants produce commodity chemicals, mainly solvents used in paints and inks. The process converts propylene into n-butanol, iso-butanol and crude acrylic acid and produces derivatives such as glacial (high purity) acrylic acid, ethyl acrylate and butyl acrylate.

“If I had to use one word to describe the HART Communication Protocol, it would be ‘brilliant’. HART is the next technology phase after pneumatic, electronic 4-20 mA and DCS,” adds Classen. “HART improves the way we do maintenance. It helps me do my job better because I can login in the morning and get a health status on all my instruments. It frees up my time to do things I just couldn’t do before.”

Ron Helson, HCF’s executive director, says that, “We congratulate Sasol for taking the capabilities of their HART-enabled instrumentation beyond configuration and calibration to improve operations and optimize asset productivity. Their success not only benefits their company, but also serves as a powerful model for industry users worldwide on the benefits of using the advanced capabilities of HART technology.”

Lonza biopharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Visp, Switzerland was selected as the 2005 HART Plant of the Year Finalist. The 100-year-old facility produces 75% of the world’s Niacin and is using 1,300 HART-enabled devices in an all-digital mode. The plant uses HART Communication to improve loop accuracy, to speed up device configuration and to better document and validate the device configuration.