Johnson Matthey: Batching production of SCRF catalysts coating – Line 1

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 developed new type of the washcoat named SCRF, which was promising more affordable solutions, as SCRF doesn’t include the expensive platinum. They wanted to build a test line which would confirm applicability of the new washcoat. 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.

Despite our experiences in the batching industry, the challenge by this project was rewriting PLC logic from Structure Text to Ladder Diagram, as these were customer’s requirements due to easier maintainability of the ladder logic. At the same time, we knew there is no room for errors and bad solutions with this customer.

In the company Inea we rewritten already tested and proved approach of phase logic in the Allen Bradley PLC to the required form and tested it well. Batch manager Wonderware InBatch and Wonderware AchestrA/InTouch Scada system proved applicability and reliability once again. Whole solution was designed to comply with officially approved batching standard S88 from the beginning.

First we conceptually designed the batch process with units, connections, segments, equipment and phases, and then program those in the PLC. In parallel with the real process we developed also 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 functional specifications were written concurrently. After successfully completed FAT testing with some initial problems of the new developed system, we started the commissioning of all devices and processes included in the production, which took relatively long time also due to customer’s unreadiness. At the end all things went well, the customer was pleased with the implementation in the United Kingdom after Macedonia and they promised us new similar projects.

The process was complemented couple of times, especially the Powder addition part, with which they had quite a lot of mechanical problems, and that is why Inea considered and implemented costumer’s new requirements.



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