NOVA Chemicals is a world-class commodity chemical company, with main offices located in Calgary, Alberta and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The petrochemicals company operates two commodity chemicals businesses: olefins/polyolefins and styrenics. NOVA Chemicals’ products are used in a diverse range of goods such as; grocery bags, packaging, automobile instrument panels and medical devices. They are publicly traded on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges.
As part of an upgrade project, the company was looking for a simple and reliable way to collect and transfer data from their new on-line gas chromatographs to their process DCS (Distributed Control System).
Unable to find a satisfactory solution on the market, they opted for a custom solution to get the needed results. For help, NOVA turned to MatrikonOPC, and implemented the
OPC Client for ODBC.
The Process Analyzer/Q.C. Laboratory Team for NOVA Chemicals, with support from their Process Control group, were responsible for the concept and design of their network of process analyzers. The project was initiated because their
aging equipment was not able to keep up with the ever-increasing expectations of Operations. The Team sought to take advantage of the reliability and enhanced performance achievable with laboratory-style gas chromatographs, over the conventional process analyzers typically used in this role. The Team was able to customize the installation to obtain CSA ‘Special Acceptance’ but the problem of storing and conveying the data to the Honeywell DCS still had to be resolved.
With the help of MatrikonOPC's Client for ODBC, NOVA implemented a custom solution to complete the communication link to the DCS.
The solution was simple and resulted in an Ethernet network of analyzers that pushed data through Matrikon’s OPC Client for ODBC to the DCS OPC servers. A custom NOVA developed “watchdog” program guaranteed that regular updates from the network were being received at the DCS display.
As a result, traditional limitations associated with on-line gas chromatographs’ 4-20 ma data communication have been eliminated, opening the door to significant benefits from Advanced Process Control to faster start-ups / upset recovery due to the instruments’ expanded range of reporting. Following a one-year trial the project was deemed a success! NOVA now has 7 of these process analyzers on-line with excellent performance.