Automation for Textile Chemicals Migrating the Automation System of a Textiles Chemicals Plant

Editor: Dominik Stephan

This solution allows companies to minimize the risk involved in system migration – Companies, particularly medium-sized enterprises, cannot afford excessive production outages in the course of modernizing the control technology used in their processing systems. Migrating to a new solution step by step can be the answer to maximizing system availability and avoiding extended or unplanned downtime, as demonstrated by a recent migration project at specialty chemical producer CHT/BEZEMA.

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As CHT moved production stations at its Dusslingen plant successively to B&R’s Aprol process control system, the legacy systems continued to run in parallel to the new ones.
As CHT moved production stations at its Dusslingen plant successively to B&R’s Aprol process control system, the legacy systems continued to run in parallel to the new ones.
(Picture: B&R Automation)

“We have improved the reliability of our processes and the quality of our products, and are now able to react more quickly and flexibly to the changing market requirements,” reports Head of production engineering, CHT, R Beitlich, Günther Schätzle. This was made possible by modernizing the processing stations at the company’s key production site, the factory in Dusslingen, Germany, with B&R technology.

“A solution like B&R’s Aprol is especially popular with midsized companies like CHT,” adds Schätzle, “because it allows us to minimize the risk involved in system migration.” Unlike other process control solutions, Aprol does not cater solely to the big industry and its fully automated recipe approach. This was welcome news for CHT, because a system migration was becoming increasingly urgent.

In addition to the Aprol process control system, CHT is also adopting B&R’s X20 control system. The new solution includes a total of 46 Power Panel HMI units along with countless other control and I/O modules B&R.

Premium Specialty Chemicals from 68 Stations

From its origins as a supplier of textile chemicals, CHT has expanded its business to include specialty chemicals in the areas of textiles, textile care, construction chemicals and performance chemicals. Majority of CHT’s revenue comes from very complex products, which are produced primarily at the production and logistics center in Dusslingen. This Dusslingen site is home to 68 processing stations, including 10 higher-level supply systems, 40 mixing vessels and 14 chemical reactors. Many of the production stations are multifunctional and can be used to produce up to 100 different products.

Migration Objective: Increased Efficiency

“It was becoming increasingly apparent that our systems for control, HMI and operating data acquisition, which had grown over the course of many years, would no longer be able to keep up with the intensifying demands on product quality, quality assurance, process reliability and safety regulations,” says Schätzle, explaining CHT’s motives for beginning the migration process early in 2011. “What is more, our outdated technology was preventing us from filling new orders.”

It took three days just to install a new valve and get it up and running. The increasing frequency of age-related equipment failure and difficulty obtaining replacement components were further arguments in favor of migration. The objective was to replace the control, HMI and data acquisition systems, which had become outdated, inflexible and prone to failure, with state-of-the-art new technology. “Fully automating everything was certainly not our primary goal,” adds Schätzle, “as that would have been too complex for our multifunctional stations.”