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Process Control & Material Handling


An outdated relay panelboard and multiple control rooms are replaced with a distributed PLC-based control system and plant-wide communications network.
Technologies PLC 5/80C 1771 I/O FIX32 Ethernet ControlNet RSLinx Visual Basic Technical Goals Control 850 devices Manage 1,200,000 product flow paths Log every operator & I/O state change Evaluate time-critical process regulation Provide redundant architecture Provide auto-failover system Production Benefits Centralized control Increased product quality Less material waste System verification Simple setup and operation Rapid product changeovers

Eastman Chemical Companys Texas Eastman Division (Longview, TX), one of the largest polyethylene plants in Texas, produces approximately 9 million pounds of material per day, which is then sold to manufacturers of polyethylene film, paper coatings, and injection molded products. Eastmans material handling system, which moves processed polyethylene pellets throughout the plant, is comprised of approximately 186 multiple storage bins, 74 product transfer systems, and eight extruders. The system contains 850 devices. The previous material handling control system consisted of a relay panelboard and multiple control rooms containing wall-mounted switches, lamps, and meters. Colored lines on the control room walls depicted possible routes from extruders to storage bins and storage bins to railcars. Control room personnel operated field devices using switches on the wall after verbally confirming diverter, merge manifold, and gate positions with other personnel in the plant. The system was not reliable, flexible, or fast enough for Eastmans rapidly expanding needs. Tegron was enlisted to help replace the outdated control system. Eastman wanted the new system to have the ability to log every I/O event, diagnose problems in the process, and transmit data to a plantwide historian.

The system consists of nine logic control panels, representing more than 2300 digital and analog I/O points, and seventeen Allen-Bradley PLC-5 racks connected via ControlNet to two PLC-5/80C controllers. Ethernet sidecars were installed on the PLC-5s for messaging and communication with human-machine interface (HMI) workstations and the data server. Tegron provided a custom Visual Basic data server, allowing operators to select a specific route from more than 1.2 million possible material flow paths. A fast messaging system was developed between the data server and the PLC using Rockwell Softwares RSLinx software, which allowed the data server to tell the PLC-5 all the job parameters and devices. Tegron also created a virtual network within the PLC, which allows operators to run paths while the PLC emulates the I/O parameters. On the HMI side, graphics and logic were developed to allow the operator to monitor and control preselected flows. The PLC-5 system isolated HMI data to support fast-as-possible update of, and response to, the operator. The system resulted in several benefits for Texas Eastman: increased information flow among the PLC, HMI, and data server; ability to log all of the I/O events; real-time diagnostics; and organized panelboard.
(A 1999 update of Controlling the Manufacture of Polyethylene, Control Engineering, Mid-December, 1997, 1997 by Cahners Publishing Company.)

5912D Old Highway 80 Longview, TX 75604-6010 903.759.1088

Eastman decided to implement its improvement plan in three phases. The system included installing two Allen-Bradley PLC-5-based control systems and stateof-the-art ControlNet networks for I/O communications.