The HART® Communication Foundation has selected the Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. ethylene plant located in Kashima, Japan, as the recipient of the 2009 HART Plant of the Year Award.

The award is given annually to recognize the people, companies and plant sites around the globe that are using the advanced capabilities of HART Communication in real-time applications to improve operations, lower costs and increase availability. Mitsubishi Chemical is using the HART Communication capability of over 800 interoperable field devices integrated with their DCS and asset management systems through multiplexers and HART-enabled I/Os to access real-time continuous process variables and diagnostics.

By accessing this real-time intelligent data they are able to diagnose abnormal process conditions and track equipment health 24 hours a day. As a result, peak production performance has improved with an estimated operational savings for the plant of USD 20,000-30,000 per day. Diagnostics are also used to uncover device failures before they affect the process. It is estimated that two or three device failures have been detected that would have caused unplanned shutdowns.

In addition, trending and analysis of secondary process variables throughout the plant provide process insight that has allowed plant engineers to analyze, troubleshoot and resolve a number of operational problems including plugged impulse lines, an unstable flow profile, and an inefficient compressor pump.