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Innovative batch management at one of the world’s largest integrated producers of Nylon 6,6

ABB helps transform INVISTA Kingston’s batch process with the latest DCS technology

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Photos courtesy of INVISTA Kingston

INVISTA’s site in Kingston, Ontario was Canada’s first and the world’s second Nylon 6,6 polymer plant when it started in 1942. The facility was originally approved as a defense project in support of the war effort, manufacturing parachute fibers for use during World War II. Fast forward almost eighty years, the site continues to manufacture Nylon 6,6 products for use in airbags, carpet, automotive and electrical parts.

For INVISTA to continue meeting market demands, a project was initiated to modernize its vintage Moore distributed control system (DCS). The Kingston site had relied on their legacy DCS to optimize the production of Nylon 6,6 for nearly three decades, and while it served them well, the system was at the obsolete phase in its life cycle and needed to be upgraded to continue business growth and embrace the company’s vision for transformation.

INVISTA selected ABB in the early stages of the project due to ABB’s engineering team’s ability to speak the batch process language, their demonstrated competency to do the third-party DCS replacement, their creativity to maintain the same footprint and the simulation of the process in a brownfield installation. 

To effectively develop and execute a tailored DCS modernization strategy that would provide operational benefits including improving batch production profitability, consistency, and traceability, the project was a collaboration endeavor, engineered and managed by the ABB office in Burlington, Ontario while the Industrial Automation’s team in Cleveland, Ohio supported the intricate batch process control solution.

“One of the major contributors to the realization of this project was the collaboration between ABB and INVISTA. We established a core project team that worked together as a single collaborative group throughout all phases of the project. INVISTA's detailed understanding of the process requirements and ABB's implementation expertise with 800xA, including Batch applications and a customized Scheduler/Recipe management interface made for a successful DCS replacement project.” explains Jim Luffman, Senior Project Manager at ABB.

With a vision to transform and not just replace the DCS, ABB worked with INVISTA to determine the best options for their facility, from the total system replacement, simulation, integration of high-performance graphics library and virtualizing system servers for the installed 800xA system and the Batch Expansion.

The use of the simulator was pivotal to the DCS design. The simulator provided realistic field responses to operators without connecting to real I/O. In a safe and virtually risk-free environment, operators were able to connect remotely, at any time of day, to practice running the familiar batch process from the new ABB Ability™ 800xA technology. It also allowed them throughout the development stage to robustly test and enhance the system, honing in on what mattered most for INVISTA’s batch process.

With tight production requirements, the installation and commissioning needed to come online seamlessly. In July 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team successfully removed and replaced the old DCS. 

Main Data

 Customer: 

INVISTA

 Site: 

Kingston, Ontario, Canada  

Customer need:    

Upgrade vintage DCS system at obsolete phase in lifecycle 

 Scope: 

  • ABB Ability™ Distributed Control System 800xA 

  • DCS modernization strategy 

     

Commissioning year 

 2020 

Investing in a new system has proven instrumental in the continued success of the INVISTA Kingston site. ABB’s 800xA Batch Management system offers a high level of flexibility and scalability. The batch DCS has allowed for greater interaction and transparency into the DCS logic for control technicians; they can now drive down into the details of the sequence control, which really improves their understanding of the logic and their ability to troubleshoot when issues occur. The use of ABB’s High Performance Graphics library has also greatly simplified the complexity of displays and provided contextualized information for enhanced situational awareness. 

“We have had a lot of positive feedback from our technicians on the new DCS. They see the benefits of a simplified system that is more robust and gives them the tools they need to better understand their process. The technicians are the toughest customers, so to see a new DCS system that meets their needs and helps them do their job better has been really rewarding” says Matthew Northey, Project Lead at INVISTA Kingston. 

Thanks to the ABB solutions now installed at the Kingston site, INVISTA has a control environment designed for its present and future needs, that can meet the challenges of a complex batch operation, scheduling, maintaining consistent product quality and reducing plant costs. 

Related links

ABB Ability™ Distributed Control System 800xA DCS
ABB retains no. 1 global market position in Distributed Control Systems (DCS)
ABB Ability™ System 800xA High Performance Graphics
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