Process Automation Dow Corning Standardizes on PCS 7 Process Control

Editor: Anke Geipel-Kern

Dow Corning is standardizing its continuous process applications worldwide, leveraging state-based control as defined by the 2010 ISA 106 standard. Read more about the platform roll out.

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Atlanta – Dow Corning is standardizing worldwide on Siemens Simatic PCS 7 distributed control system. As part of the transition, Dow Corning’s Global Manufacturing Automation Team (GMA) is standardizing its continuous process applications worldwide, leveraging state-based control as defined by the 2010 ISA 106 standard.

According to the ISA 106 committee working on standards for Procedure Automation for Continuous Process Operations, a process state is a definable operating condition of process equipment as it progresses from shutdown to operating and back to shut down. Each process state represents a unique operating regime that supports the process equipment’s objectives of processing an input into a desired output.

From Batch to Conti

Charlie Stibitz, Dow Corning’s senior process automation specialist, leads the company’s development of global automation standards. He says Dow Corning is leveraging its extensive knowledge of S88 batch architectures to support the development of ISA 106 and is now applying the batch automation concepts to continuous applications using the PCS 7 platform.

“We wanted a single platform and a unified team supporting control applications for all process types, batch and continuous,” Stibitz says. “As we migrate all legacy systems to PCS 7 and work on developing universal standards like ISA 106, all our plants will see improved safety, and quality, improved alarm management, reduced operator workload and better asset utilization.”

Following ISA 106 guidelines, equipment module sequences are implemented using SFC types within the PCS 7 platform. Movement between process states is controlled with a custom Dow Corning block. Unit operations, the collection of equipment phases and set points, are managed by Simatic Batch software.

Paul Morgan, Siemens senior process automation consultant, adds that by standardizing on PCS 7 and ISA 106, Dow Corning is also reducing operator workload and reducing downtime.

“A state-based control system never operates in more than one state,” Morgan says. “Alarms can be shelved so the operator does not have to react to nuisance alarms. Because the sequences are automated, there is also far less stress on the operator during startups and shutdowns, resulting in safer and faster process transitions.”

Dow Corning has begun migrating to the PCS 7 distributed control system in its plants worldwide. Migration of applications controlling continuous processes have been implemented using the ISA 106 standard, and these migrations and implementation of standards are expected to continue as aging control systems are replaced.