Process Engineering: Batch control sets the standard

It has been nearly a decade since the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society (ISA) introduced S88, its first standard for batch control systems.  Its still integral in optimizing operations today.

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Siempelkamp’s Batch.Objects allows users to build their systems by working from a library of standard templates and PLC control modules to construct a project within a development environment. “The system is more plug-and-play,” Weatherhead says. He estimates a three-to-one reduction in development time using Batch.Objects, as well as reduced cost of ownership.

Weatherhead says the main benefit of using Batch.Objects is standardization. “A project that is built around standards, such as ISA’s S88 standard, is a great step towards simplifying development and providing a solid framework which will improve long term maintenance” he says. “Our system also makes use of the ISA S95 standard.”

SP88’s Craig says S88-aware systems can also improve operator training because the modules work the same way every time. This results in better procedural control, which can boost throughput – and possibly yield.

Fink says Rohm and Haas uses Mimic simulation software from Mynah Technologies, Chesterfield, Mo., in conjunction with the DeltaV Batch automation system to train operators. The training can be done on the actual system hardware, or on dedicated hardware.

A standard for the future
“S88 is more broadly used than we originally guessed,” Craig says. He says makers of specialty chemical and consumer products were the first to embrace the control standard. But pharmaceutical manufacturers might now be the biggest proponents, he says.

 “Most any control system introduced or upgraded in the last 10 years is, to some degree, compatible with S88,” Craig says. “Nearly all of the batch control systems are based on the standard.”

Although the S88 standard will effectively be complete in the next year or two, Craig says a corresponding standard might be written for continuous process control. “You can think of a continuous process as a very long batch process,” he says. “Start-up procedures can get you into trouble.” It might be easier for manufacturers to avoid such trouble if start-up and shutdown procedures were automated.

P&G’s Chappell is a charter member of the SP88 committee. He also is chair of the SP88 Make2Pack working group, which is sponsored by the WBF, SP88 and Open Modular Architecture Controls (OMAC). The Make2Pack project will develop conceptual models and terminology for industrial automation that can be applied to the total manufacturing process. The initial focus will be on packaging and converting machinery, and batch processing equipment.

“The group will develop a standard way to do automation,” Chappell says. “I expect the effort will apply to all manufacturing automation,” such as continuous processes, not just batch.

In the mean time, Craig says several papers have been written about applying S88 to continuous processes, especially in the food and beverage industry.

“It’s all in there,” Emerson’s Conner says of the DeltaV Batch. “Continuous processors also have the capability to configure recipes and use the modules.”

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