“Providing reliable data on critical process parameters to assure product quality and to enable continuous improvement of our UD production facilities”. Herman Bruns, Operations Manager Fiber Solutions at DSM Dyneema in Heerlen, explains the objective, when management decided to upgrade their UD production equipment with state of the art Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. Bruns and his colleague Marcel Storcken of Process Technology, were key stakeholders in the project team that was made responsible to realize this objective within their company.
On UD lines, DSM Dyneema’s UHMwPE super-strong fibers are converted into sheet material, a half product that is later on used for ballistic purposes. Unlike the fiber production lines in Heerlen, that are already operated via SCADA systems , the DSM UD lines so far worked as standalone machines that to a large extend, are con-trolled manually by operators. As a result it was difficult to always assure proper machine settings and proper product quality. Furthermore a lot of paperwork was involved on the work floor.
Connect to MES
For data recording purpose, DSM already used a Manufacturing Executing System (MES). This system however was not connected to the UD lines. All data input was done by hand. Main purpose of the project was to connect the MES system, via a new SCADA system to the machine control level. Thereby allowing automatic transfer of production line settings and process values, without involving operators.
For the design and implementation of this project, involving a new SCADA layer, new Human Machine Interfaces (HMI), new sensors for registration of additionally defined, critical process parameters and all communication devices to connect the above systems, DSM Dyneema contacted their preferred supplier ELTRA. Bruns explains: “We already have a long term relation with ELTRA, who is the original supplier for the electrical and control parts of all our UD lines. Already in the specification stage of this project, DSM and Eltra engineers closely cooperated to make an extensive and detailed functional specification of the new systems. This specification was then used to decide on the project scope to be ordered. This took time but this was recovered twice over later on, during the realization stage.”
In the design stage Siemens Simatic automation equipment, was specified to realize the new system architecture.
On the SCADA level, two Simatic WinCC servers are installed as redundant pair. On this level also a Simatic Net OPC Server is installed to enable communication to the Simatic IT system on the above MES level. On the PLC level, individual PLC’s are provided with new Ethernet communication. New panel PC’s with Simatic WinCC Flexible software are installed as HMI’s. Due to the nature of the UD process, independent operation of each individual machine in the line should remain possible. That is why control of each machine remained at HMI level and not on the above SCADA level. Finally additional sensors were installed on the individual UD machines, to enable continuous monitoring and recording of the process parameters that are deemed critical for agile quality control.
Finally, after the modifications on PLC- and SCADA-level, the communication to the MES layer was realized and the completed project was successfully taken into use. After completing the project in Heerlen, Eltra was asked to implement the same modifications on all UD lines of DSM Dyneema’s plant in Greenville USA. This approach was a deliberate choice. Bruns: “We first wanted to do this complex modification “in our own backyard” with our supplier and our own engineers nearby. Through this experience the team grew confident to repeat the same job abroad. This turned out very well”.
Looking back on the project, both Bruns and Storcken have enjoyed working with Eltra and are more than satisfied with their performance. Storcken: “Besides sound controlling the “hard” project parameters such as quality, time and budget, I especially liked their soft skills. An open and friendly atmosphere is created in which the customer can feel that his demands are understood and taken into consideration”. Bruns especially values the knowledge of the DSM Dyneema UD machines and the Siemens systems. “With Eltra we get specialist knowledge how to apply the Siemens equipment to best suit our needs. As far as project management is concerned their attitude is simple: they say what they do and do what they
Both agree the project to be exemplary for DSM. “If needed, we would do it the same way again.”