Nov 23

Shandong Luqing Petrochemical starts up new production unit in just 20 months with UOP/Honeywell Pre Engineered Technology

Honeywell just announced that a major Chinese petrochemical company has achieved startup of a new isobutylene production unit in just 20 months using a new pre engineered solution that incorporates UOP process technology.  Honeywell Process Solutions is also mentioned in the press release, and we did hear about closer cooperation between Honeywell Process Solutions and UOP at the last Honeywell User Group meeting.  Although the specific role of Honeywell Process Solutions is not specifically called out in this press release, it is easy to imagine that HPS’ new Lean Execution of Automation Projects philosophy (LEAP) may have been part of this pre-engineered solution, along with new configurable Experion I/O, late binding concepts, and maybe some pre-engineered templates for the process automation system designed in cooperation with UOP.   It would certainly be interesting to know more, since ARC has been writing about the powerful potential between HPS and UOP for a few years now.  It seems that potential is starting to manifest itself.

From the press release:

Located in Shandong Province on China’s East Coast, the new unit will use Honeywell UOP’s C4 Oleflex™ process to produce 170,000 metric tons per year of isobutylene, a key ingredient for making high-octane fuel and synthetic rubber used in tires, healthcare supplies and other consumer products.

“UOP’s fast-to-market solution with key, pre-engineered components enabled this project to go from kick-off to start-up in just 20 months – about 10 to 12 months earlier than a typical project of this size – allowing Shandong Luqing to start producing isobutylene sooner,” said Mike Millard, vice president and general manager of UOP’s Process Technology and Equipment business unit. “With the lowest cash cost of production and the highest return on investment, Oleflex technology makes Luqing a more competitive player in the market for isobutylene.”

“Shandong Luqing is proud to operate the first dedicated C4 Oleflex unit in China,” said Wang Heqing, general manager at Shandong Luqing. “Using UOP’s fast-to-market design, we were able to begin production much faster to meet the growing demand for fuel and petrochemicals, while gaining a strong foothold in the market.”

In addition to licensing, UOP provided the engineering design, catalysts, adsorbents, equipment, staff training and technical service for the project.

Shandong Luqing Petrochemical

Shandong Luqing Petrochemical

Press Release: Fast-To-Market Technology From Honeywell Helping Meet Growing Fuel And Petrochemical Demand in China

Nov 23

Yokogawa Wins Control Systems Order for One of the World’s Largest Methanol Plants

Yokogawa Corporation of America recently won a major contract to automate the Natgasoline LLC methanol plant, which is currently under construction in Beaumont, Texas.  The new facility will feature an integrated control and process safety system from Yokogawa (Centum VP and ProSafe), as well as a Plant Resource Manager (PRM) plant asset management and intelligent field device management application.  From the press release:


Yokogawa Electric Corporation announces that its subsidiary, Yokogawa Corporation of America, has received an order from Orascom E&C USA to deliver control and safety systems for the Natgasoline LLC methanol plant. Currently under construction in Beaumont, Texas, this facility will have a capacity of approximately 1.75 million metric tons per year when it starts production in 2017, making it one of the world’s largest methanol plants. Based on nameplate capacity, it will be the largest methanol plant in the U.S.

For the process control and safety of the Lurgi MegaMethanolR process technology and auxiliary facilities throughout this plant, Yokogawa will deliver the CENTUM® VP integrated production control system, ProSafe®-RS safety instrumented system, Exaquantum™ plant information management system, and Plant Resource Manager (PRM®) software package. Yokogawa Corporation of America will be responsible for the engineering and delivery of these systems, and will provide support with installation and commissioning. The delivery of all systems will be completed by August 2016.

Yokogawa won this order because of its excellent track record in completing projects and demonstrated ability to deliver comprehensive, integrated solutions that help optimize operations.

“Yokogawa entered the U.S. market in 1957 and we have grown our business across diverse markets, but have had particular success in oil & gas refining and offshore production, LNG liquefaction and chemical manufacturing. We are proud to win the first order for a new U.S. grass roots methanol plant that exceeds a million metric tons per year. This project allows us to build on our already extensive track record in executing and maintaining methanol production in North America,” says Daniel Duncan, President and CEO of Yokogawa Corporation of America.

Though the chemical industry in the U.S. has long relied on imported methanol, the amount of methanol produced in the U.S. is steadily increasing due to the ready availability of methane produced from domestically sourced shale gas. Leveraging its project experience, Yokogawa will capitalize on this opportunity to expand its control business in North America and other key markets.

Press Release: Yokogawa Wins Control Systems Order for One of the World’s Largest Methanol Plants

Nov 23

Dow Oyster Creek Gets ABB Control Room of the year Award

ABB has awarded its annual Control Room of the Year award to Dow’s Oyster Creek Hydrocarbons Command Center, which is part of the company’s Freeport, TX operations.  From the press release:

The global award recognizes installations that best exemplify the modernized control room environment to actively promote operator effectiveness, safety, and production efficiency through the innovative use of 800xA control technologies.

“We are delighted with this recognition; the design of the Hydrocarbons Command Center was the result of our shared vision and close collaboration with ABB,” said Peter Holicki, senior vice president, Dow Operations. “Together we set out to create a work environment where our operators had access to the very best tools and technology, in a workspace designed around their needs, to help them do their jobs safely and efficiently.”

Dow’s Oyster Creek world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit will start up in late 2015 and is one of the units that will be controlled by the Hydrocarbons Command Center. The site is part of Dow’s larger Freeport, Texas operations, which is the largest integrated petrochemical manufacturing complex in the Western Hemisphere.

The Hydrocarbons Command Center uses ABB’s System 800xA Process Automation System to control all facets of production at the plant. The control room was designed to provide site operators with the latest ergonomic working environment, where they can ensure that site production processes run effectively and safely, and have all needed functions readily available at their fingertips. System 800xA integrates information from all systems in the plant, and presents that information to the operators in easy to access formats for better decision making and improved overall performance. It also integrates and controls other plant systems and equipment, including electrical systems, variable speed drives, instrumentation and analyzers.

Dow Team Wins ABB Control Room of the Year Award

Dow Team Wins ABB Control Room of the Year Award

Press Release: ABB recognizes The Dow Chemical Company with “Control Room of the Year” award


Nov 19

Honeywell To Automate Finland’s First Liquefied Natural Gas Import Terminal

The LNG market pushes forward yet again.  Honeywell announced recently that they will be the primary process automation and tank gauging system supplier for Finland’s first LNG import terminal.  ARC sees LNG and other aspects of the gas market as good areas of growth over what will be another couple of challenging years in the upstream oil and gas market.  The project win includes Terminal Manager and Safety Manager systems, SmartRadar tank gauging devices from Enraf, and Enterprise Building Integrator, which will include fire detection, access control, facilities management, and more.  From the press release:

PORI, Finland, Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Honeywell (NYSE: HON) today announced it will provide its Experion® Process Knowledge System (PKS) automation controls and tank gauging systems for Finland’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal to efficiently supply natural gas to marine vessels and industrial facilities in Finland, helping to replace other fuels that have higher emissions.

The cleaner-burning natural gas will help these vessels and facilities meet emissions regulations in the Baltic Sea and Nordics. Honeywell technology is currently being used in about 40 similar LNG import and export terminals around the world.

Additionally, Honeywell’s Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI) will connect and power comfort, safety and security systems within the terminal itself, creating a productive environment for workers. With tight integration between Experion PKS and EBI, operators will have one interface to access and manage all process and facility technology, which improves site-wide visibility and efficiency.

“Honeywell’s technologies offer Skangas Oy an all-in-one solution that will help make their new facility efficient and productive from day one,” said Pieter Krynauw, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Process Solutions’ Projects and Automation Solutions business unit. “This fully integrated technology will help the terminal maximize its operations with accurate and on time information, precise measuring technologies, safety and security.”

This will be the third LNG terminal for Skangas, one of the largest suppliers of small-scale LNG in the Nordic countries. The company operates similar facilities in Sweden and Norway to provide customers with natural gas for shipping, industrial and heavy-duty land transport needs. The Pori LNG terminal will have a capacity of 30,000 cubic meters and will be completed in the second half of 2016. Honeywell’s tank gauging systems will be used on tanks provided through the Spanish engineering company FCC Industrial E. Infraestructuras Energeticas S.A.U.

“Demand for LNG in Finland continues to rise for industrial, shipping and heavy-duty land transport companies,” said Tommy Mattila, Sales and Marketing director, Skangas. “It is critical that this terminal operates at the highest level of efficiency.”

Honeywell technologies that will be used at the facility include:

  • Experion® Process Knowledge System (PKS), the heart of the Integrated Control and Safety Systems (ICSS), which offers more than traditional distributed control systems (DCS) by unifying people with process, business requirements and asset management by enabling integration of all process control, safety systems and automation software.
  • Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI) is a building management system that provides a single point of access to information and resources that help monitor, control and protect a facility. EBI will connect fire detection, intrusion detection, access control, video surveillance, and heating and cooling equipment at the new Skangas Oy terminal, and seamlessly share data with Experion PKS.
  • Terminal Manager automates all operations at a bulk liquid terminal, including key monitoring and controlling functions such as product receipt, gate access control and loading.
  • Safety Manager integrates process safety data, applications, system diagnostics and critical control strategies, and executes defined safety applications in a fully redundant architecture.
  • SmartRadar FlexLine is one of Honeywell’s portfolio of high-end radar tank gauges for the assessment of tank contents, tank inventory control and tank farm management.
  • Portable Enraf Terminal is a portable device that enables access and reading of Honeywell Enraf tank gauges regardless of weather or operating conditions.
Honeywell Tank Gauging Systems to be Used at Finland LNG Terminal

Honeywell Tank Gauging Systems to be Used at Finland LNG Terminal

Press Release: Honeywell To Automate Finland’s First Liquefied Natural Gas Import Terminal 

Nov 19

More News from Rockwell Automation Fair: New Release of Integrated Architecture Portfolio

Another news release from Rockwell Automation coinciding with Automation Fair today — a new version of Integrated Architecture.  Integrated Architecture encompasses a very large range of automation products and applications from Rockwell Automation, allowing for seamless integration of all these applications and hardware offerings into a single common system.  Integrated Architecture contains the “glue” that’s necessary for everything to work together in a common environment and to realize the “Connected Enterprise” strategy from Rockwell Automation.

From the press release:

CHICAGO, Nov. 18, 2015 — Smart manufacturing is driving a demand for connected machines and equipment. Adding more devices and connections, however, can make machines and systems more complex. The expanded next-generation Integrated Architecture portfolio from Rockwell Automation reduces complexity while helping users meet future capacity and throughput needs as they design systems for a Connected Enterprise.

The portfolio includes a newly released next-generation Allen-Bradley controller, graphic terminal, servo drive and distributed I/O system, as well as the latest release of the Rockwell Software Studio 5000 and FactoryTalk software offerings.

“We’ve invested significantly in the Integrated Architecture portfolio to help our customers prepare their production environments for future growth, and help machine builders simplify machines and get them to market faster,” said Dan DeYoung, market development director, Integrated Architecture, Rockwell Automation. “With this new portfolio and our ongoing collaboration with our PartnerNetwork members, customers have the tools to more easily design, operate and maintain smart, high-performing systems.”

The new additions to the portfolio include:

The latest release of the Studio 5000 software includes three new applications: Studio 5000 Architect, Studio 5000 View Designer and Application Code Manager. These applications, along with the Studio 5000 Logix Designer application released in 2012, bring more functionality together into one environment to simplify and speed system development. In addition, the latest releases of FactoryTalk ViewPoint Mobile software and FactoryTalk VantagePoint Mobile software allow users to more easily engage with their production information on mobile devices.

The Allen-Bradley ControlLogix 5580 controller provides up to 45 percent more application capacity and includes an embedded 1-gigabit Ethernet port to support high-performance communications, I/O and applications with up to 256 axes of motion. The new port and additional capacity cuts the amount of control and communications hardware required, reducing system complexity, costs and required panel space.
The Allen-Bradley Kinetix 5700 servo drive is a single-platform alternative to using multiple servo drives for large custom machines with high axis-count and power requirements. This can reduce cabinet-space requirements by up to 70 percent and wiring requirements by as much as 60 percent.

The Allen-Bradley Bulletin 5069 Distributed Compact I/O system with two 1-gigabit Ethernet ports scans 10 times faster than previous versions for greater productivity. The system can connect to as many as 31 modules without the need to expand.

The Allen-Bradley PanelView 5500 graphic terminal provides a modern design and enhanced integration with Logix controllers using the Studio 5000 View Designer application. This integration improves programming efficiency because engineers can enter configuration information once and use it for the entire automation design.

The expanded portfolio also incorporates a number of security features to help manufacturers and industrial operators protect their facilities, assets and intellectual property.

Press Release: Rockwell Automation Launches Next-Generation Integrated Architecture Portfolio to Enable The Connected Enterprise

Nov 17

Rockwell Automation Announces Mobility Co-Innovation with Microsoft

Mobile devices are proliferating rapidly in today’s plants, and modern HMI and visualization is increasingly designed to provide good support for mobile devices, from tablets to smartphones.  Rockwell Automation recently announced a partnership with Microsoft as part of Rockwell’s Connected Enterprise vision to ensure that mobile devices provide the proper functionality for applications in automation and control.  This includes proper security in peer to peer communications as you can read in the press release:

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 12, 2015– Industrial workers are increasingly turning to mobile devices to improve productivity and collaboration. However, interfaces need to be tailored to the specific device that is being used, especially to design, operate and maintain industrial automation systems. To meet this user preference, Rockwell Automation and Microsoft Corp. are announcing a mobility co-innovation project designed for industrial environments where a wireless network connection is not always reliable.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here:
Industrial workers are increasingly turning to mobile devices to improve productivity and collaboration. A new mobility co-innovation project, designed for industrial settings by Rockwell Automation and Microsoft Corp., will be demonstrated at the Automation Fair event in Chicago, Nov. 18 and 19. (Photo: Business Wire)

The co-innovation brings together leading IP technology from Project Thali (@Thaliproject), an open-source solution incubated by Microsoft. It also includes JXcore from Nubisa Inc., and complements the expanding mobile foundation toolkit from Rockwell Automation. The toolkit enables Rockwell Automation offerings with a consistent web-based user interface for a specific device; tablet, smartphone or desktop and now includes a prototype app, dubbed Project Stanton (@Project_Stanton). Both the product toolkit adopters and a new app prototype will be demonstrated at the Automation Fair event in Chicago, Nov. 18 and 19.

“Project Stanton represents the most forward and innovative thinking in the industry when it comes to mobility and a modern, mobile-first architecture,” said Sujeet Chand, chief technology officer, Rockwell Automation. “Microsoft, Nubisa and Rockwell Automation have made significant investments to deliver unprecedented value to industrial users through innovation and leveraging computing power in mobile devices to overcome the existing boundaries and limitations in anytime, anywhere access to valuable information in an enterprise.”

“Microsoft has partnered with Rockwell Automation to look at some of the most difficult challenges in industrial IoT,” said John Shewchuk, Technical Fellow, Microsoft. “Rockwell Automation is one of the leaders in the field and so it has been great to work on Project Stanton. Our joint work has been instrumental in setting the direction for the Thali Project work to provide secure peer-to-peer communications and improve industrial productivity.”

The mobility developments support The Connected Enterprise vision: the convergence of operations and information technology that will deliver the next wave of manufacturing productivity. Enhanced by the emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things and advances in enabling technologies – including mobility, data analytics, and remote monitoring – The Connected Enterprise creates opportunities for unprecedented benefits in productivity and global competitiveness through greater connectivity and information sharing.

“The Connected Enterprise is an imperative to face future competitiveness challenges at many levels,” said Chand. “Not only is this vision important to meet ongoing macroeconomic challenges, but it is critical for almost every type of manufacturer to drive new heights of competitive differentiation. Our co-innovation with Microsoft is one way that customers can build their Connected Enterprise.”

Press Release: Rockwell Automation Announces Mobility Co-Innovation with Microsoft

Project Thali

Rockwell Automation Project Stanton Twitter Page

Nov 17

Rockwell Automation Posts Q4, Year End Results

The weak market seems to be affecting everybody, unless you are on the positive side of the FOREX equation right now.  Just about all of the major process automation supplier results are reflecting the challenging market.  These are cycles we have seen before, although the conditions affecting the cycle vary greatly.  In 2008, it was the global financial meltdown.  Today, it’s lower oil prices and currency translation effects, combined with weaker performance in China and other developing economies that have fueled growth so strongly in the past, even during recession times.

Rockwell Automation is in a better position than some process automation suppliers because their installed base is well spread out between industries like oil and gas, which are not performing well, and more batch-oriented industries like pharmaceuticals and food and beverage, which are performing better.  The company’s large business in factory automation also helps.

Total organic sales for Rockwell Automation declined by 2.3 percent for the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year.  For the full year, organic sales were actually up by 1.1 percent versus FY 2014.  Overall sales were down by 9.8 percent for Q4 2015 compared to Q4 2014.  Overall full year sales were down 4.8 percent in FY 2015 versus FY 2014.

From the commentary by CEO Keith Nosbusch from the press release:

Commenting on the results, Keith D. Nosbusch, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Both sales and earnings were below our expectations in the quarter. Sales softened through the quarter and September was especially weak, particularly in the U.S.

“For the full year, we overcame significant headwinds from heavy industry end markets and delivered organic growth of 1.1 percent. I am pleased that segment operating margin expanded 120 basis points. Strong productivity, particularly in the Control Products & Solutions segment, was a key contributor. I am also pleased that we were able to grow our earnings per share despite lower sales.

Nosbusch then acknowledged the continued difficult market conditions that will persist through next year, which is consistent with ARC’s opinion as well.

Commenting on the outlook, Nosbusch added, “We are experiencing weak market conditions as we enter fiscal 2016. Heavy industry end markets including oil and gas have not yet stabilized, and we see continued softness in key emerging markets. In our largest market, the U.S., the strong dollar is adversely affecting producers and OEMs. As a result, our customers are being more cautious with capital expenditures and operating spending. We therefore expect a particularly weak start to the fiscal year and don’t believe we will see year-over-year growth until later in fiscal 2016.

“Based on these factors, we are projecting fiscal 2016 organic sales to be flat to down 4 percent year over year. Including the impact of currency, we are initiating fiscal 2016 sales guidance of approximately $6.0 billion and Adjusted EPS guidance of $5.90 to $6.40.

ARC believes that Rockwell Automation, along with the other major process automation suppliers, are well positioned to ride out this downward cycle in the marketplace.

Investor Presentation for Year End/Q4

Press Release: Rockwell Automation Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2015 Results


Nov 17

Rockwell Releases New Version of PlantPAx

ARC has several people attending the Rockwell Automation Process Solutions User Group (PSUG) and Automation Fair this week in Chicago.  Lots of news releases this week from the event, and the first is the latest version of the Rockwell Automation PlantPAx process automation system.  The latest version includes pre-built process control strategies, new design and documentation capabilities, built in model predictive control (MPC), and other features.  ARC has always considered PlantPAx to be a true DCS, and this latest version continues to expand on those capabilities.

The latest release of the PlantPAx modern distributed control system (DCS) from Rockwell Automation helps industrial producers across multiple industries modernize their plants and reduce time-to-market. New system capabilities include a more productive design environment to enhance automation productivity; easier adoption of new enabling technologies to improve user experience; and enhanced control capabilities to help meet operational goals.

“The latest release of our modern DCS platform focuses heavily on improving automation productivity,” said Jason Wright, PlantPAx system marketing manager, Rockwell Automation. “The system now includes pre-built process control strategies to help users greatly reduce the effort and risk to deploy new applications, which helps improve their time-to-market.”

Increased Automation Productivity: To provide operators with reliable and accurate system configuration, the PlantPAx system now includes expanded estimation, design and development guides. The updated documentation and design capabilities help dramatically increase automation productivity; decrease the time required to deploy a maintainable and modern system; and reduce life-cycle costs. New pre-built control strategies developed within the Rockwell Automation library of process objects provide a consistent user and maintenance experience.

Improved User Experience: Leveraging network improvements and built-in mobility, the PlantPAx system delivers an improved, reliable user experience. Expanded industrial Ethernet switches support Layer 3 topologies, enhancing scalability for a variety of applications. Smaller control systems can now be integrated into larger enterprise networks with a common, fully supported network infrastructure. The network switches include embedded Cisco technology to integrate and translate operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT). This makes it easier for process operators to configure and manage system networks.

The PlantPAx system also now includes a mobile component that enables users to create displays and interact with process data across any HTML5-compliant mobile platform. The software is responsive to the user’s specific device, allowing operators and plant managers to access and view performance metrics and data analytics in their preferred format.

Enhanced Control: New built-in control features – such as integrated PlantPAx model predictive control (MPC), alarm management and batch management – now operate in a common environment, helping to improve plant efficiencies and operational performance. Control-based PlantPAx MPC provides the ability to predictably manage external and complex process disturbances, and maximize process performance up to process constraints. This allows continuous improvements within the process while reducing waste and variability.

The updated system also leverages the recently introduced batch application toolkit to help reduce the risk, time and cost of implementing batch control systems. Containing documentation, application examples and sample code, the toolkit gives engineers a starting point to build and maintain a consistent batch control system. It also provides flexibility to customize system elements for increased functionality.

With the expanded capabilities of its modern DCS platform, Rockwell Automation continues to improve enterprise integration, scalability and open communication via EtherNet/IP and local support for its customers.

Press Release: Rockwell Automation Reduces Time-to-Market and Improves User Experience With New PlantPAx System Release

Nov 04

​​Emerson Reports Full Year and Fourth Quarter 2015 Results

Emerson reported its full year and fourth quarter financials yesterday.  Like many suppliers out there, the company is dealing with a challenging market, but there are bright spots.  Overall sales were down 9 percent for the year and 15 percent for the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year.

Here is an excerpt from the press release where the Process Management results were discussed:

Foreign currency translation had a 6 percent unfavorable impact (on Process Management). Order rates during the quarter continued to be meaningfully affected by capital and operational spending reductions by global oil and gas customers. Upstream oil and gas markets remain under the most pressure while downstream markets, particularly power, continue to provide opportunities for growth. Underlying sales in North America were down 4 percent. The U.S. was up 2 percent with downstream activity providing support. – See more at:

According to the guidance issued during the earnings call, overall sales for FY 2016 are expected to decrease by 6 to 8 percent due to persistent challenging market conditions.  Currency translation has had an effect an will continue to do so in 2016, with sales excluding currency fluctuation expected to decrease by only 2 to 5 percent.

Press Release: ​​Emerson Reports Full Year and Fourth Quarter 2015 Results – See more at:

Emerson Q4 Financial Tables

Presentation from Fourth Quarter Earnings Call

Nov 04

Yokogawa Releases First Half Results

Yokogawa released its first half results for the fiscal year today.  Overall sales for the company, of which the Industrial Automation and Controls business is the majority, were up close to ten percent versus the same period last year.  Even with sales up, Yokogawa recognizes there are still numerous challenges in the market . Despite decreases in capex for major end users, Yokogawa believes the long term trends of economic growth and the long term demand for energy will drive capex in the future.  The Industrial Automation and Controls business within Yokogawa was the only business segment to experience a sales increase in the first half.  Test and Measurement and Aviation and Other businesses saw slight declines.  The depreciation of the Yen was also cited as a factor in revenue increases.  The forecast for the fiscal year is unchanged from the guidance that Yokogawa issued back in August, with overall sales predicted to increase by over 5 percent for this fiscal year versus last year.  Yokogawa also reports that orders will be up by 5.7 percent for the fiscal year versus last year.

Press Release: Yokogawa Consolidated Financial Results for the First Half of the Fiscal Year Ending March 31, 2016

Yokogawa Presentation: Current Situation and Future Direction

Yokogawa Presentation: First Half Financial Results

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