PROFIBUS PA in rape seed oil production, an impressing success story
Lead by their engineering consultant and system integrator, Elcon in Recklinghausen in Germany, the German subsidiary of a large international commodity company decided to build their third processing plant on site with PROFIBUS. This plant processes rape seed oil into various products for use as biofuel, animal feed, vegetable oil, as well as cosmetics. Pressing of rape seed oil is a continuous process, where efficiency is determined by the residual oil content. Driven by competitive market conditions and low energy prices the management of the company focuses on product yield and process performance. The decision to utilize PROFIBUS was combined with the clear expectation to optimize commissioning, availability, and maintenance of the plant and thus to outperform the oper-ating data of the other two plants significantly.
Elcon proposed to use PROFIBUS PA fieldbus technology for sensors combined with Remote I/Os for larger actors. This leading and well proven communication technology is very much standardized compared and able to transfer digital signals to and from the field devices drift-free and with highest resolution. It enables shortened installation and commissioning time requirements and improved maintenance possibilities. As a result, installation and commissioning was completed in an unexpect-edly short time, which was very much appreciated by the management.
The given objectives have been accomplished: Fieldbus technology in general and PROFIBUS PA in particular succeeded not only to meet the management’s requirements but also to convince and inspire the plant engineers how to utilize the new technology. Both operator and maintenance per-sonnel realized very directly the significance of digital data for a better understanding of plant condi-tions as well as process details. For instance, digital technology provides them with much better in-formation about temperature variations and thereby a more in-depth understanding of process con-ditions. So, both PROFIBUS and Elcon did a very good job! And – from the financial point of view – PROFIBUS PA helped the company improve accounting: The increase in accuracy per year corresponds to the volume of 20 tank wagons liquid product! A large potential profit.
Elcon and Pepperl+Fuchs