Jaxon Energy Hydrotreater - Jackson, MS

Jaxon Energy teamed up with Corso Systems to develop a new control and information system for its Jackson, MS hydrotreating plant. Jaxon implemented Rockwell Automation's FactoryTalk software suite for robust operator control of the plant and secure remote access to real-time information.

"We have worked with other integrators in the past, but Corso took the time to understand our needs, and proposed a solution that was custom designed just for us. The system made our lives easier and enabled us to do more than we could in the past."

- Randy Soule, Co-Owner, Jaxon Energy

The Process

Hydrotreating is a process removing contaminates from light end distillates generated as part of petroleum refining. Distillates are subjected to pressures and temperatures then filtered through catalyst agents with hydrogen gas to remove contaminants. The cleaned petroleum oil is fractionated into diesel and gasoline products. Contaminates are thermally destroyed in oxidizers resulting in no remaining residue or byproducts.

Most refineries choose not to upgrade these stranded light end petroleum distillates due the low volume produced at any single facility. The Jaxon Energy business model aggregates stranded distillates from multiple refineries or other producers to achieve economically viable volumes of raw material.

The Challenge

This plant's sister facilities have a DCS as the foundation of their control systems. Due to the high initial investment, ongoing difficulties in maintaining DCS systems, and the volatile economic landscape of the oil industry, Jaxon Energy decided to move to a PLC-based system for this facility.

The new system had to offer similar functionality to the DCS system in the operator interface, enable safe operation of the facility, provide powerful data collection and analysis tools.

The control system, in conjunction with proper catalysts had to be flexible enough to handle almost any usable raw material to produce a wide range of finished products..

Changes to Jaxon Energy's operational model with this facility required remote access to all components of the system, for both operations management and maintenance planning. In addition, Jaxon Energy's business model required remote access to product quality information, operating parameters, and dissemination of raw vs. finished material reports to their suppliers and customers.

The Strategy

"This was a big project and we made a lot of changes with this facility. Repeating what we had done in the past simply wasn't going to cut it."

- Randy Soule - Co-Owner, Jaxon Energy

To save on investment, startup, and ongoing maintenance costs, Jaxon Energy decided to use a PLC and HMI based control system built on the Allen Bradley and Rockwell Automation product lines, leveraging the FactoryTalk software suite. In addition Corso Systems designed a custom, web-based solution for material tracking and QA/QC information. This gave operators a way to log quality data and enabled plant management to understand their process on a deeper level and make smarter decisions. This platform also gave Jaxon Energy a fully integrated system with more power than the DCS they had used in the past, at less than half the cost.

One of Jaxon's design requirements was to use standard instruction sets and graphics for their process equipment. This requirement was met with Rockwell's PlantPAX framework. PlantPAX enables standard graphics, including detailed interlock status directly in the HMI, standard logic in the PLC, and gave Jaxon Energy a familiar, yet more user-friendly, look and feel to systems in use at their other plants.

FactoryTalk Historian & VantagePoint was chosen as a powerful information and analytics system, meeting Jaxon's requirements for Excel reporting while adding remote access to their information. Remote access to the HMI with full visual capabilities was accomplished using Rockwell's FactoryTalk ViewPoint software.

The final piece of the puzzle was a custom solution built by Corso System on the ASP.NET MVC platform, giving Jaxon the ability to track incoming raw material shipments, in-process material, and finished product shipments. The system tracks the amount of material in any portion of the process, while also enabling LIMS functionality to track material conditions and quality.

The Results

Jaxon Energy is able to operate the plant 24x7, processing up to 60,000 gallons of product a day, with only two operators on each shift. Remote access to all of the plant's systems enables Jaxon to manage operations from their Reno, NV headquarters, reducing overall operating costs..

Moving away from DCS controls saved Jaxon over 50% on initial investment costs, with reduced start-up/commissioning duration & increased functionality.

The PLC/HMI, FactoryTalk Historian & VantagePoint, combined with the product tracking/LIMS system, give Jaxon a fully-integrated solution. Raw material is tracked from the supplier, all the way through to the final customer, with automatic Bill of Lading generation, production reporting, and quality evaluation notifications for key engineering staff.

"Corso Systems raised the bar on what we expect from our partners."

- Ron Bell, Director of Operations, Jaxon Energy

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