Pilot Line and Simulation for SCRF Catalytic Coating Production
Johnson Matthey, located in Royston, UK, is a world-leading global coating company for catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters (DPFs). With numerous sites worldwide, they are a major supplier to global automotive brands whose internal combustion vehicles still represent more than 95 percent of all road vehicles in use today. Emission reduction—catalysis and diesel particulate filtering—is an integral part of limiting the negative environmental impact of these vehicles.
Develop, implement, and test a pilot production line for the applicability testing of a new SCRF washcoat for catalytic converters. On the line, the raw chemicals for the washcoat are first mixed, then applied to a ceramic honeycomb monolith using a vacuum.
Since some of the raw materials used are expensive and/or delicate, such as platinum group metals, the quality of the system had to be assured and tested before any actual materials were used in the process.
Using AVEVA™ Batch Management and AVEVA™ InTouch HMI, we designed the batch model and prepared the SCADA user interface for the process. Due to the large number of pipes, valves, and tanks, the schematic overview of the system was simplified to only show the presence of material, with the more detailed information available elsewhere.
The schematic was constructed modularly, so it would reflect various changes in the system the customer did afterwards when adjusting the recipe and process of the washcoat mixing.
An integral part of this project was the simulator, due to the requirement of no material being wasted. The entire system was modelled and computer simulated to ensure proper operation and fix any issues before ever entering production. We simulated all the vats, pipes, valves, materials, use cases, and any potential errors that may arise. The factory acceptance test was executed and approved by the customer fully in simulation, and only later applied to actual physical machines on site.
The entire process was developed to be fully compliant with the S88 batching standard.
The production line was successfully commissioned and the applicability of the SCRF coating was proven to be viable. This resulted in the same process being standardised and replicated at other manufacturing sites, which have coated millions of catalytic converters since launch.
“This was the first line for testing washcoat recipes, so the system needed to be flexible, adaptable, and run reliably in a highly sensitive environment to ensure no precious materials were wasted in production.”
Technical Authority, Automation