Huntsman Goes Big With Wireless

Nov. 18, 2009
Meet one of the largest and most ambitious industrial wireless application networks to date

Industrial wireless applications provider Apprion, process manufacturing field applications provider Industrial Mobility, and the Enterprise Mobility Solutions business of Motorola Inc. have completed work at Huntsman Corp.'s facility in Port Neches, Texas, on one of the largest and most ambitious industrial wireless application networks to date.

Huntsman, a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals, undertook an aggressive program to eliminate injuries, product defects and environmental releases at its Port Neches facility. Termed "Project Zero," this program required a completely mobile solution to empower operations and maintenance personnel to capture defects, track work progress, and make process- and safety-related decisions in real time.

To help deliver on these objectives, Huntsman partnered with Industrial Mobility, Apprion and Motorola. Industrial Mobility contributed its MobilOps field mobility software that enables field operators to execute electronic "smart" rounds and checklists, enter real-time defect elimination work requests in the field, monitor and control standard operating conditions (SOCs) for each piece of equipment, and access the most up-to-date standard operating procedures for execution in the field including consequences of deviation and corrective actions.

Huntsman wanted to centralize and manage all safety-critical information in one place. The MobilOps solution contains an SOC database engine that provides safety critical data to operators and mechanics at the point of decision-making in the field. All field-executable procedures, rounds and checklists pull their safety critical data from this same central source. Legacy information, such as process and instrumentation diagrams, process flow diagrams, drawings, procedures and incident reports are also immediately available on demand in the field.

Using Motorola's MC9090 mobile computers, Huntsman personnel can connect anywhere throughout the four-square- mile plant via the Apprion ION System—a Class 1, Div. 2-rated wireless application network. ION System provides easy wireless application deployment and a centralized dashboard that brings together application data, wireless regional maps and equipment status and maintenance views and reports.

Initial results are impressive. With real-time wireless tracking of the rounds activity, the number of pumps requiring daily inspection was reduced by 50%, allowing more time for other crucial inspection areas. Defect elimination work requests are initiated in the field in real time. The process automatically identifies redundancies, makes work planning more effective and will lead to significant reduction in the average "time to closure" for each request. Real-time monitoring of SOCs have led to significant process improvements and cost savings attributable to increased uptime and longer equipment life.