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Download: Agrium Integrated Plant Wide Open Communication with MatrikonOPC Server for Modbus

"Matrikon's commitment to new product development, technical support, and the overall variety of Matrikon products truly makes open connectivity very easy, regardless of the brand of DCS or PLC systems installed."

Chris M. Gabriel, Distributed Control Systems Specialist with Agrium Kenai Nitrogen Operations

Like many plant floor operations, Agrium Inc. was faced with the task of implementing a communications infrastructure that would allow the ability to access process control data from different data sources. These data sources included Foxboro I/A and Siemens-Moore APACS DCSs. The main problem was that data from the DCSs was delivered in a proprietary format, making the system cumbersome, inflexible and costly to modify. Matrikon was able to step in and turn what was once a closed system into an open system using the OPC standard – all at a lower cost than it would take to maintain the current closed system.

Agrium Inc. is a leading global producer of fertilizers and other agricultural products and services. Agrium is one of the top nitrogen producers in the world. Chris Gabriel, a Distributed Control Systems Specialist with Agrium’s operation in Kenai, Alaska, headed up the project to integrate an open connectivity standard throughout the five plants that comprise Agrium’s operation in Alaska.

The initial project included Matrikon’s OPC Data Manager, OPC Redundancy Broker and OPC Server for Foxboro I/A. Matrikon’s wide product offering enabled Gabriel to connect multiple devices from different vendors all using Matrikon’s products. Matrikon’s dedicated support team also provided Gabriel with the resources he needed to ensure the project was a success – reading and writing 300-400 tags between five different plants utilizing two different DCS systems.

Since the initial integration in 2002, Agrium has gone on to add Matrikon’s OPC Server for Modbus, which is used to access remote SCADA information.

"We have been extremely satisfied with Matrikon's products," says Gabriel. "Their commitment to new product development, technical support, and the overall variety of Matrikon products truly makes open connectivity very easy, regardless of the brand of DCS or PLC systems installed. The redundancy features that Matrikon provides at the application and server level makes our system very bulletproof. I will not hesitate to use Matrikon on my next OPC installation."

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