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Paper machines make the leap to Experion

June 20, 2017

You can tear one bandage off slow or fast, but if you have a bunch to remove, it's going to take awhile no matter how you do it. This was the challenge facing engineers and managers at the P&G Paper Products Co. in Green Bay, Wis., who just completed a 10-year project to migrate 90% of the controls on several of their major papermaking machines, boilers, stock prep equipment and support facilities. The machines typically had about five local control networks (LCN), including two process access devices, one high-performance process manager (HPM), and one Triconex Safety Manager module each.

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"There's a huge amount of competition in the tissue industry, so we needed to justify upgrading the controls on these machines based on a combination of factors for each," said Matt Johnson, lead technical engineer and project manager, P&G Paper Products, who presented "Migration from TDC 3000 to Experion" on the second day of Honeywell Users Group Americas 2017 on June 20 in San Antonio, Texas. "Some had obsolete execution functions, parts of others had expanded and needed new controls, some were involved in safety projects, or they were impacted by staffing changes. We just had to justify these migrations wherever we could."

In its first Experion installation, Johnson reported that seven cluster application nodes on one machine were replaced with Experion Server (ESV) TotalPlant Networks (TPN), which were used solely for OPC connections to its site historian, with plans for future use as real Experion servers. Also, 33 global user stations (GUS) and user stations (US) were replaced with Experion Stations TPS (EST), which were used as single-monitor, native Windows HMIs. TotalPlant Solution (TPS) System is the successor to TDC 3000.

"We installed redundant ESVs from the start, but regretted it and only did it once, because there wasn't a procedure to go from non-redundant to redundant,” explained Johnson. "The most beneficial capability we gained from migrating to Experion was Chart View, which shows us in real-time views where our processes are at. None of the competing solutions had it, but the availability of this killer feature meant we didn't have to build it ourselves."

In its first full Experion migration, Johnson reported that P&G switched to four C200 controllers, four PLCs and 12 Process Manager I/O (PMIO). Communications included ControlNet to the PLCs, and fault-tolerant Ethernet (FTE) to the HMI and Level 2 devices. "Level 3 communication wasn't on the LCN, so we used OPC to coordinate with the Experion servers, which could then push the value down into the LCN."

For the plant's utilities, a new process was implemented and C200 was added to control it. "This included a mixture of native Windows and Experion graphics," added Johnson. "Training wasn't too bad, as the new process brought with it the new graphics and alarm summary. However, flex stations can't acknowledge new alarms on the LCN, so LCN alarms would still show up on the stations. It's best to use them as your main alarm summary displays as they integrate not only with the native Windows, but also do a better job with mixed-system alarms."

Johnson added that P&G adopted several best practices for managing licenses and prices on its paper machines. These include:

  • Keep all current licenses in a common, electronic location;
  • Look up all prices to make your own price list;
  • Utilize OPC guidance on options and licenses;
  • Remember that a flex station multi-monitor includes only one flex device plus a multi-monitor;
  • Secure available discounts when buying five or 10 flex or console stations; and
  • Use software enhancement and support program (SESP) contract to secure points for returning HPMs, and employ C300 enabler license for a C200 processor and enabler license.               

On its next paper machine upgrade, Johnson added that a new manufacturing process was used, and C200 was added, but HPM was retained. This required an interface between TDC and C200 via a ProSoft Modbus serial card in the PLC and a serial interface (SI) on TDC. He also reported that, after initially putting all its new Experion equipment on only one sub-network and suffering with broadcast storms, he and his colleagues implemented nine separate sub-networks.

"This eliminated the storms, and gave us one-way communications that improved security," he added. "The machine after that was our first, full-Ethernet machine, which let us go from using eight or nine different communication protocols to one plus Honeywell's IO Link protocol. It was a huge benefit for us to eliminate all those other networks and their equipment and requirements, and just do Ethernet. We're also a little more than half done refreshing our boiler house's boiler management system (BMS) with VMware, which also means we won't have to worry about proprietary networks.

"It hasn't been hell, but our main advice is don't stop. You can't stop in the middle with half of your systems in one control world and half in the other. Also, your skill base isn't going to stand still, either."

About the Author

Jim Montague | Executive Editor

Jim Montague is executive editor of Control.