Case Study

Upgraded Process Control Ramps Up Production Efficiency At Axalta

Upgraded Process Control Ramps Up Production Efficiency At Axalta

As part of a general upgrade at coating manufacturer Axalta the process control system for resin reactor 5 was recently upgraded too. Siemens’ innovative Simatic PCS 7 facilitates more efficient production, increased flexibility and in particular the guaranteed quality that has made Axalta a leader in its field for more than 145 years now.

Simatic PCS 7 showcases efficiency and quality at Axalta

Impeccable quality has been coating manufacturer Axalta's hallmark for 145 years now, and was previously known as DuPont Performance Coatings. The company recently upgraded its largest resin reactor's process control equipment at its plant in Mechelen to safeguard its reputation for quality. And with stunning results.

The recent migration is part of an overall upgrade to the plant, which started in 2007 already. The automation system of the resin section as a whole as well as the tank farm have been systematically overhauled. Reactor 3 and the tank farm have already been attended to and were switched over to Simatic PCS 7. In 2010 the request was received to migrate the obsolete process control equipment of reactor 5, the largest resin reactor in the plant, as well.

Stimulating simulation

Because resin reactor 5 could only be out of service for 17 days to ensure that resin customers would not run out of stock, the migration had to be planned in minute detail. The first step was to opt for automation modules from Siemens' standard library as far as possible. Then the configuration for these modules was tested extensively during a virtual FAT using Siemens’ SIMIT simulation software. The outcome? A seamless commissioning process that met all the customer's quality requirements and was completed comfortably within the required time.

+12%

From now on, for the purpose of dispensing control for the reactor, Axalta will make use of Simatic Batch, which is an element of the PCS 7 process control system. Batch manages all the parameters and configurations of the many batches of reactor 5, and so ensures optimum production. What is more, the full production process – from loading the feeder tanks to filtration of the resin end product to the stock tank – is automatically managed by Simatic Batch requiring minimal intervention by an operator. The outcome? Increased production of no less than 12%: from 8 to 9 resin batches per week.

Safety Matrix first

What is more, at operator level the Safety Matrix of PCS 7 provides for a clear summary of safety functions and interlocking. Not only does the system offer a user friendly way for configuring safety applications, but it also sends out alerts when problems crop up. It even permits remote release of interlocking once the problem has been resolved.