The Verbio Group is a leading maker of biofuel, and so far it is the only European company which produces biodiesel and bioethanol on a large scale. In November 2005, the first phase of Verbio’s biodiesel plant went into operation at the Schwedt/Oder site.
Profibus PA was selected as the plant-wide automation system.
The second phase got underway in 2008 and responsibility for automation development, design and commissioning was again given to the engineering service provider Elcon Automation & Engineering, the same company which had been responsible for deployment of Profibus PA during Phase One.
Verbio´s biodiesel plant (Schwedt) Flexible PROFIBUS installation
Further expansion in the future was already included in Verbio’s initial planning scenario. With this in mind, Elcon built simple expandability into the Phase One automation solution. “We had a pretty good idea what the expectations would be and how many measurement points the new system would have in the future, so we made our plans accordingly. We selected the Fieldconnex fieldbus installation system, because it offers the advantage of highly flexible expansion along with simple deployment and utilization of reserves.
To expand the system in Phase Two, we only needed to install an additional controller in the existing control cabinet. We added additional Powerlinks when we installed new Profibus PA segments. Expansion was simple because the initial system design was based on the full system configuration, and the existing field barriers and segment couplers had ample reserves. If the original layout is done properly, it is very easy to expand an existing Profibus PA system.
Signals from conventional hardware and valves in explosion hazard zones were connected to Remote Process Interfaces (RPIs). These interfaces capture signals, which are not Profibus PA enabled due to the amount of effort involved e.g. manometers with limit contacts, and they establish the link between conventional technology and digital systems.
The project at the biofuel producer Verbio is another example which shows that Profibus PA systems are highly flexible and can be expanded in a minimal amount of time with minimal effort.
The second phase at Verbio in Schwedt/Oder was completed on schedule, and operations got underway without any major difficulties. To deploy a Profibus PA system, users only need a gateway, a power link, a fieldbus barrier and a junction box which provides connectivity for any device. “Profibus PA was designed with the user in mind,” said said Elcon executive Thorsten Bille, “there is no alternative to digital fieldbus communications for anyone who plans to deploy state-of-the-art, future-proof instrumentation.”