In the chemical industry, manufacturers often need to change operations or accommodate new products to meet customer demand. However, the extensive integration efforts required to connect manufacturing equipment and automation systems often complicate engineering, slowing projects and impeding speed to market.
In a recent Q&A session with Chemical Processing magazine, Emerson’s Juan Carlos Bravo spoke about Module Type Package (MTP), an emerging technology designed to require less engineering and make new equipment integration nearly plug-and-play. The User Association of Automation Technology in Process Industries (NAMUR) MTP protocol is likely to be a game changer for delivering faster projects and more nimble manufacturing.
Moving away from traditional integration
Juan Carlos explains that the big challenge with traditional systems is
“they are not equipped for plug-and-play modules. In the past, an engineer would have this big list of signals and have to have conference calls with different OEMs and vendors, engineer a plan, and then put it together. If you make changes, that will likely extend the project timeline and increase project costs.”
MTP offers organizations a way to streamline equipment integration in projects. It uses a single file package containing standard configuration and documentation. Engineers simply load that package into an MTP-ready system and the equipment is configured.
Making the most of personnel
One of the primary benefits of MTP is that it helps streamline projects for plants struggling to retain a wide base of experienced personnel. As more and more experts retire, there are fewer people who know all the protocols necessary to integrate all the equipment in a project. With MTP, that’s changing. Juan Carlos explains,
“Now, with MTP, you can have a more junior engineer do the work, because the wizards help map. You can use your experienced people to mentor or work remotely. Or use them in areas that are critical, instead of just doing tedious mapping of modules.”
More benefits in fewer hours
Juan Carlos shares the example of a large ethylene cracker project with 350 modules, each with 200 signals. The project was long, and configuration was cumbersome because everything needed to be mapped manually. Had MTP been available, Juan Carlos explained, the integration of those modules would have been much faster.
“With MTP, we can reduce this by half because not everything will have to be done manually.”
Moreover, eliminating manual configuration removes barriers to integration which makes engineers more likely to expand the data they’re bringing into the control system.
“You’re bringing more information into a control system that you can reuse for analytics or deep machine learning or for the finance department. In the past, you feared performing the engineering to bring in all these elements would overwhelm the system or push the project over budget.”
Emerson’s MTP-capable products like the DeltaV™ distributed control system, PACSystems™ programmable logic controllers, and AMS machinery health prediction devices not only support MTP, but also offer seamless integration to further reduce the time and expense of configuration and validation. DeltaV and PACSystems automation systems and AMS Asset Monitor are tested together to automatically normalize the MTP standard for successful integration.
You can read the full Q&A with Juan Carlos at Chemical Processing. To learn more about MTP, you can visit Emerson’s MTP Solutions site. Also, feel free to comment below on how your organization plans to use MTP to simplify engineering.