Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation's ethylene plant in Kashima, Japan, has been named 2009 HART Plant of the Year by the HART Communication Foundation. The plant, an Emerson Process Management customer, was recognized for innovative use of the advanced capabilities of HART Communication in real-time applications to improve operations, lower costs and increase availability.

The plant's achievements included reducing maintenance costs by 10 percent and detecting device failures that might otherwise have led to unplanned shutdowns costing as much as $3 million in lost production.

"With HART, we have been shifting from time-based maintenance to condition-based maintenance," said Takayuki Aoyama, instrumentation group team leader at the Kashima plant. "We have also been able to predict and prevent potential problems by monitoring advanced diagnostic information from field devices, such as the statistical process monitoring (SPM) capabilities of Emerson's Rosemount 3051S transmitter."

Takayuki presented examples of these capabilities at the 2009 Emerson Global Users Exchange conference in Orlando, Fla., describing how his team used advanced diagnostics to solve problems ranging from plugged impulse lines to entrained air in a pump intake. He also outlined HART benefits in a video available at www.emersonprocess.com/videos/Experts_Customers.asp.

Other HART-enabled products in use at the award-winning plant include Emerson's Rosemount radar level and vortex flow instruments, Micro Motion Coriolis meters, Fisher digital valve controllers, and AMS Suite predictive maintenance software.

"Because HART-based diagnostics can be used with existing assets, the initial investment was relatively small," said Takayuki. "We have quickly realized the benefits from the technology and will replace older devices with HART technology whenever we can. We look forward to working with Emerson as we extend these benefits throughout our operation."

The HART Plant of the Year Award is presented by the HART Communication Foundation to end-user companies who have demonstrated creativity in using the full capabilities of HART technology. This is the third consecutive year that Emerson products have played a key role at the winning plant. Additional information on this year's award is available at www.hartcomm.org.

The HART Communication Foundation is an international, not-for-profit, membership organization supported by more than 230 companies worldwide. Founded in 1993, the Foundation is the technology owner, standards setting body, and central authority on the HART Protocol and provides global support for application of the HART technology. The Foundation establishes and controls the HART Communication standards, including new developments and technology enhancements that benefit and support the needs of the industry. The HART Communication Protocol is the leading communication technology for intelligent process measurement and control field devices and systems, with more than 30 million devices installed worldwide.