Rockwell Automation increases production, reduces energy for global minerals supplier


A world-leading supplier of high-performance minerals to the polymer coatings markets increased production and reduced its energy consumption while avoiding costly capital investments by utilising intelligent Rockwell Automation software.

The company engaged industrial automation and information technology leader, Rockwell Automation, to help achieve new levels of operational consistency and stability throughout the drying process, while at the same time reducing energy consumption.

Rockwell Automation implemented its Pavilion8-based model predictive control (MPC) industrial analytics solution to one processing line, which consisted of filtration, drying, pulverising and production classification.

Pavilion8 is a modular software platform and the foundation for Rockwell Automation’s industry-specific solutions. Leveraging a powerful modelling engine at its core, Pavilion8 includes modules to control, analyse, monitor, visualise, warehouse and integrate that are combined into high-value applications.

“With the solution installed and commissioned in only three months, the company realised a production increase of more than 10 percent,” said Grant McHenry, regional commercial manager for Pavilion8.

The minerals company leverages a wide range of minerals including calcium carbonates, clays, and kaolins to make technical products that are essential for many industries. Its principal markets include construction and building, lawn care and landscaping, paints and coatings, plastics and films, and sealants and adhesives.

“One of the first steps to implementing Rockwell Automation’s solution at the site was to set up a system to collect real-time operating data,” McHenry explained.

“Rockwell Automation initiated a process study, analysing the company’s data and defining the variables for the controller matrix design.

“Simultaneously, Rockwell Automation engineers, as part of Rockwell Automation’s ValueFirst customer engagement methodology, provided a comprehensive benefits analysis with goals and objectives to support the company’s business strategy.”

Rockwell Automation’s engineers then designed a control application to meet the unique site requirements. The team performed tests to determine the effects of changes in control variables on the system. Once complete, they implemented the Pavilion8-based dryer control application. Users access the solution through Pavilion8’s intuitive, browser-based interface that enables secure anytime, role-based access to operators, process control engineers, and plant management.

The results included:

  • 12 per cent increase in production
  • 6 per cent reduction in natural gas use/ton
  • 50 per cent decrease in process variability

In addition, Rockwell Automation’s FactoryTalk Analytics browser-based interface enabled corporate-wide visibility into plant performance.

The immediate success of the project prompted the company to expand the deployment of the Pavilion8 dryer control application to two adjacent dryers.

Learn more about Pavilion8 and how Rockwell Automation’s scalable model predictive control can help your business here.

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