Ten Years of Automation with Remote I/O at BASF
BASF production building
After several years of planning and construction, the installation and commissioning of the control and instrumentation equipment for the BASF SE Emulsion Plant I in Ludwigshafen began in 1999. At that time the new facility for the production of acrylate emulsions significantly expanded the capacity for these products at this BASF site.
“The most advanced technical appliances in the field of chemical process management were installed and have proved extremely reliable over the past 10 years,” says Christian Magin, Process Control Engineer in charge of the Emulsion Production department.
Some 750 machines and devices must be controlled and regulated such that the system technology is used in the best possible way ensuring a consistent product quality. The products based on these emulsions are used for adhesives and paints, for example.
BASF and ABB worked in close cooperation to implement the then largest PROFIBUS automation project in the world. It features more than 400 redundant Remote I/O stations, each containing up to 48 high availability I/O modules. ABB Symphony with the Maestro UX control level was selected as the distributed control system (DCS) with SymBatch recipe control and the Melody process level. The interface used for vertical integration was the ABB Production Manager (PM).
By eliminating the numerous marshalling cabinets that had previously been necessary, the complete complex control technology was reduced to only a few cabinets in the control room.
In conjunction with the Remote I/O signal conditioning modules supplied by Pepperl+Fuchs, the process control technology used by ABB achieved a high degree of system automation.
At the time, BASF opted for the fast PROFIBUS DPV1, which efficiently connects more than 16,000 process signals via Remote I/Os acting as intelligent junction boxes (IJB) to the process control system controllers employing redundant, two-wire bus lines.
The reduced wiring requirements and the elimination of a large number of marshalling cabinets led to significant cost savings. Furthermore, the technology offers immense operating benefits thanks to central engineering and the option of requirement-oriented maintenance. Conventional wiring was used only to connect safety-relevant signals to the safety control system.
Around 100 decentralized, intelligent junction boxes (IJB) were used to connect the sensors and actuators. The IJBs are located in explosion-hazardous Zones 1 and 2. They are equipped with numerous Remote I/O modules in which the data streams are collected from the field and transmitted to the process control system via the PROFIBUS DPV1. More than 30 km of PROFIBUS cables were laid to connect the IJBs.
Remote I/O acting as an intelligent junction box
The possibility to employ centralized, integrated engineering of the entire system is also an advantage. This includes, in particular, the configuration and monitoring of all PROFIBUS lines. In order to meet these requirements, the field device tool (FDT) technology was used for the first time in this project.
Pepperl+Fuchs has supported this technology from the outset. It is integrated in Remote I/O. The resulting IJBs operate as system-inherent modules and can be expanded and reconfigured within the Symphony engineering system during operation. The HCiR (hot configuration in run) principle was implemented for the first time here. It has proved to be extremely stable to this day. In fact, new measuring points and new Remote I/O stations have regularly been added to the system.
The process control technology at the BASF SE Emulsion Plant I in Ludwigshafen has been operating successfully with redundant PROFIBUS DPV1 for almost 10 years. The cost benefits during installation and the simple operation of the system have been sustained in practical application. Online expandability plays an important role here. The C&I Operation Support teams has decided to continue to rely on Remote I/O technology because it unites many important features that ensure reliable system operation. Maintaining the system integrity of the installation has been assured within the framework of a life cycle strategy involving all system technology suppliers.