A digital automation project at one of the largest integrated petrochemical complexes in China allows 750 operations, engineering and maintenance personnel to collect, analyze and share operations and diagnostics information, including information about critical thermal processes.

Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical Co. selected Houston-based Emerson Process Management to automate the 10-plant ethylene cracker complex, which is expected to annually produce 900,000 tons of ethylene and more than 2 million tons of other related petrochemical products used in the plastics and synthetics industries. The complex was mechanically completed in 2004 and operational in June 2005.

Emerson installed PlantWeb digital architecture throughout the SECCO complex, which contains 47,000 control loops, 40,000 instruments, and some 13,000 intelligent devices networked in the Foundation Fieldbus installation. Fieldbus is an all-digital, open communications approach that connects measurement and control equipment such as sensors, actuators and controllers in processing applications.

SECCO implemented a centralized control room -- the command center for all operations personnel in the facility -- that oversees the main ethylene cracker and nine downstream derivative plants. To reduce risks and raise the safety and production levels of the integrated complex, SECCO included PID control in the Foundation Fieldbus field devices.

SECCO is a joint venture between Innovene (formerly BP), Sinopec, and Shanghai Petrochemical Corp. The SECCO complex is located in Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park, about 30 miles from Shanghai, China.