Hydrite Chemical Company produces and distributes products for the food and beverage industry, fluoride for water treatment plants, and numerous cleaning and sanitation chemicals for customers in a wide range of industries. Hydrite works with many partners to offer their customers high-quality products.
Hydrite processes many materials in hazardous areas and the processes are therefore subject to stringent safety requirements. In the company's plant in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, USA, most of the plant is designated as Class I, Division 1. Other areas in the plant are classified as Class I, Division 2. All of the devices in the plant must have the appropriate approval. Hydrite's plants are ISO 9001:2000 certified, which ensures that the products are of a consistently high quality, and all processes are reproducible.
Chemicals are manufactured in batches. The process is controlled part automatically and part manually, as needed. There are typically several raw materials tanks with contents coming from drums, sacks, or bulk containers. The correct proportions must be carefully controlled according to the recipe. The time from the start of the batch process until its completion may last a few hours to several days. Once the process is started, any interruption or failure can spoil the batch. In the production of the product itself, process control must take into account emissions as well as byproducts and waste products.
Paul Anderson is an electrical control and instrumentation engineer at Hydrite Chemical Company, and he had the task of modernizing the plant in Wisconsin. This modernization process involved acquiring new operator workstations. A comprehensive set of specifications was drawn up, the key requirement being an open, nonproprietary system. A future-proof choice would enable future changes to the system topology to be implemented easily. The operator workstations needed to:
- Comply with the current standards for use in hazardous areas
- Be extremely robust
- Withstand the adverse conditions of a corrosive environment in a chemical plant
- Guarantee a long mean time between failures (MTBF)
Paul Anderson sought a long-term relationship in order to maintain and service his systems on an ongoing basis and to upgrade them in the future.