STORY OF MFG CHEMICALS UNDERGOES multi-plant control system upgrade

  • 11/03/22


MFG Chemical started a major three-plant upgrade of its manufacturing facilities in Dalton, Georgia, in 2020. In 2018, the custom chemical manufacturer completed a smaller upgrade after purchasing a new position in Pasadena, Texas, which increased MFG's capacity with two new reactors.

The most recent upgrades at the Dalton plants began with a focus on safety, and the more the facilities explored what automation could do for the business, the more the technology was implemented across the board. The upgrades were also motivated by the need for additional capacity and infrastructure to support a growing market. Improvements at the plant included new cooling towers, upgraded reactor piping for enhanced pressure relief, and new safety instrumentation systems, in addition to new process control technology. All three plants upgraded their control, cooling, and relief systems, and the new technology complements the manufacturer's expertise in advanced chemical processes.


Deciding exactly what equipment to automate, what was most important and what added the most value to MFG Chemical’s processes and its customer’s final products, it took a significant analysis of the products it manufacturers. The project's objectives were straightforward: improved safety, increased capacity, and increased efficiency. However, it was the automation, specifically the control of continuous feeds to the reactors, that was critical in opening the door to manufacturing more advanced chemistries. Other control features that simplified the process for operators included automated temperature controls for the reactor, but the biggest upgrade was valve automation. Valve automation reduces the physical stress on the team members and enables valves to be actuated while watching other processes on the DCS. The upgrades included a large number of actuated valves and/or manual valves with limit switch feedback to the DCS. Some of the valves are fully automated with limit switches that feedback to the DCS to identify as open or closed.

MFG Chemical partnered with Premier Systems, a systems integrator that specialises in Yokogawa DCS systems, on all three plant upgrades. The on-site installation lasted from the summer of 2020 to April 2021, but years of planning ahead of time ensured that the process went smoothly, even during a global pandemic. The project only lost about two weeks as a consequence of COVID-19.


The automation system now allows operators to focus on more critical production work, and maintenance operations for some equipment have shifted significantly. The new hardware necessitates new care and calibration programs.

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