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Xinneng Energy Purchases GE Fanuc's Proficy Process Systems

December 14, 2007

The U.S. company's process control system will be used to manage the production lines in the DME producer's new plant in Zhangjiagang, China.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, a unit of GE Enterprise Solutions, announced that Xinneng Energy Ltd., a leading supplier of energy-chemical products and services, has implemented its new breakthrough process control system, Proficy Process Systems, released last August. Xinneng Energy is located in Jiangsu Province, Zhangjiagang, China.

Based on GE Fanuc's proven process-control technologies, Proficy Process Systems is a fully integrated system that provides customers with improved quality and reliability, increased throughput, performance and efficiency, and reduced total cost of ownership.

Xinneng Energy produces DME (dimethyl ether), a chemical substance that can be produced from methanol. The product has multiple purposes, including use as an aerosol spray propellant, a cryogenic freezing agent when combined with propane, and as a clean-burning alternative to liquified natural gas, diesel, and gasoline.

When Xinneng Energy set up its new plant in Zhangjiagang, the company designed the plant to be able to produce 1 million tons of DME per year on three production lines. Proficy Process Systems will be controlling those lines and will take over two lines that they plan to bring on line in 2008.

The foundation of Proficy Process Systems is a contemporary infrastructure offering the benefits of both traditional distributed control system (DCS) and PLC/human-machine interface (HMI) systems, without many of the historic limitations of those approaches. GE Fanuc's multi-disciplined PACSystems controllers provide users "unparalleled flexibility" in their process control systems due to powerful memory and execution rates, as well as the ability to implement multiple control disciplines and programming languages in a single controller.

GE Fanuc's Proficy software is architected at the core of Proficy Process Systems, allowing customers to leverage proven technologies, such as Proficy HMI/SCADA iFIX or CIMPLICITY, Batch, Historian, and Plant applications. This industry-leading software empowers users with unprecedented visibility, analytics, and connectivity to deliver robust control, optimization, and performance.

Xinneng Energy has installed Proficy Process Systems in a high-availability architecture. The system configuration includes the Proficy HMI/SCADA - CIMPLICITY technology option for its operator consoles, a system server leveraging Proficy Historian technology, and Redundant RX7i processors with reflective memory. By leveraging innovative reflective-memory technologies from GE Fanuc Embedded Systems, Proficy Process Systems provides a controller-redundancy solution with data synchronization rates of two Gbps. Additionally, the architecture includes Ethernet I/O networking, with racked-based remote I/O, leveraging RX3i high-availability remote I/O stations.

"Proficy Process Systems easily met our requirements of an affordable price and a commitment to fully support us during system installation," said General Manager Yuantong Ma, from Xinneng Energy. "And, because this is built on proven technologies, we can count on the stability of the system, as well as limited maintenance. These features spelled success for us."

Meeting Market Needs
On a global scale, increasing the share of natural gas as a world energy is a good reason for DME emerging as potential fuel. Supply limitation coupled with increasing energy demand is another market trend that makes DME attractive in Southeast Asian countries, including India and China.

"Xinneng Energy is in a great position to increase its business by being on the forefront of implementation of Proficy Process Systems," said Steve Hogge, Control Systems Commercial Director—GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, Greater China. "It is estimated that the first big market for DME is Southeast Asia, including countries such as Japan, China, Korea, India, and Taiwan. And GE Fanuc is pleased to be there on the forefront to help them succeed."

The architecture of Proficy Process Systems is highly scalable, both in system size and functionality, allowing users to cost-effectively implement applications of any scope. The system's engineering workstation provides an integrated development environment that centralizes project-engineering, including:

  • Control strategies and alarm and I/O configuration
  • Process graphics and displays development
  • Historian configuration
  • System change management

The operator console provides an intuitive user-friendly environment for process operations and information access. In addition to state-of-the-art graphical components for process monitoring and control, the operator console also includes alarm monitoring and management tools for process and system diagnostics and troubleshooting.

"Companies in continuous process industries, such as Xinneng Energy, are facing unprecedented pressures to perform amidst the growing challenges of global competition, aging and end-of-lifecycle installed control system infrastructure, and increased regulatory pressures," said Steve Ryan, GE Fanuc Director of Process Solutions. "Proficy Process Systems is designed to provide the power of DCS control with the freedom and flexibility of a PLC-based system. "

Proficy Process Systems features a common global namespace that provides simplified configuration and maintenance for the user. Based on technology co-developed with GE Energy, objects and tags in the system are defined once and then referenced and used commonly throughout the system. This global namespace capability can reduce system configuration time by 30%. The broadcasting technology used by the global namespace between the controllers and the operator consoles provides for inherent system redundancy.

The system is also packed with powerful control features, including a controller-based factory acceptance test/site acceptance test editor, comprehensive set of function blocks for advanced regulatory control, batch control, sequential control, device control, and alarm-strategy development. In addition, user defined function blocks can be created for the freedom and flexibility to define control algorithms and embed knowledge as necessary. Customers, OEMs, or system integrators can lock these blocks to protect their intellectual property. Proficy Process Systems, when combined with the domain expertise of our system integrator partners and/or GE Fanuc Professional Services, is a powerful, robust, and cost-effective process solution to meet today's needs.

Additional information about Proficy Process Systems, as well as a registration form to order an introductory CD about GE Fanuc Process Solutions, are available from GE Fanuc.

About GE Fanuc
GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, a joint venture between General Electric and FANUC LTD of Japan, is a high-performance technology company and a global provider of hardware, software, services, expertise, and experience in automation and embedded computing, with products used in virtually every industry, including manufacturing automation, defense, automotive, telecommunications, healthcare, and aerospace. GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms is a worldwide company headquartered in Charlottesville, VA, and is part of GE Enterprise Solutions.


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