Johnson Matthey: Batching production of catalysts coating – Line 7

The leading manufacturer of the catalysts, Johnson Matthey, located in a town Royston in United Kingdom, is active also in chemical industry and catalysts coatings and enrichments processing, among others. They had a need to extend the SCRF coating production due to bigger demand, as SCRF doesn’t include the expensive platinum. The catalysts production begins with mixing of the metals as copper, zinc, aluminium, various minerals, platinum, rhodium, iridium and other additives with water. Such washcoat is then applied to the ceramic block channels with the help of the vacuum. The ceramic block is made of magnesium, iron and silicate minerals.

Irrespective of our extensive experiences in the batching industry, the challenges by this project were extent of the wanted production and tight time frame. The production consists of more than 20 units/tanks, and the time frame was less than a year.

In the company Inea we used many times tested and proved approach of phase logic in the Allen Bradley PLC in the combination with batch manager Wonderware InBatch and Wonderware AchestrA/InTouch Scada system. Also this time the approach was improved with the new features and even higher degree of standardization. Whole solution is based on officially approved batching standard S88.

The project stages were known – first we had to conceptually design the batch process with units, connections, segments, equipment and phases, and then program those in the PLC. Our solution includes the simulator of the whole process, which is very useful for testing and debugging. The simulator was also used for the FAT testing with the costumer, and they further use it as learning and experimenting environment. In parallel with the PLC development we designed the batch model and wrote the test recipes in the InBatch environment, prepared Scada screens of the process and wrote functional specifications. After successfully completed FAT testing we carried out commissioning of all devices and processes included in the production in relatively short time. All participants, with of course Inea included, were publicly praised due to quick and quality realization of the project.

The process is being complemented and improved all the time, regardless of being a new process, and that is why Inea is always in cooperation with the costumer.

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