When your global business owns unique raw materials, including the only high-grade hectorite mine in the world, you need an efficient process automation system. With dead code routinely interrupting their batch processing, and the inability to get support for control issues with their older SIMATIC TI 505 controller, Elementis Specialties needed a solution to improve operational efficiencies.

Elementis Specialties began taking a deep look at its current control systems, including the integration of its MCC cabinet, as well as the effectiveness of the warning system that alerts operators of any process issues. They needed a solution that could be supported and one that would eliminate dead code during the drying process which hampered productivity. They reached out to Western States Controls for assistance.


A thorough process assessment gave our team of engineers a course for action. We replaced the TI 505 with a Siemens SIMATIC PCS 7 distributed control system and an R1 redundant Profinet network setup for improved communication. Siemens PCS 7 is highly scalable with powerful functions including alarm management to make life easier for the plant operator when an issue occurs. We also installed an Anybus® Communicator™ to ethernet devices to more reliably communicate with the MCC cabinet. This would help prevent the dead code in their system.

Additionally, we were able to address several other issues during the installation process, including wiring and hardware. We uncovered some RTD concerns as well brought on by wet mud getting into the dryer chamber, which was easily resolved by tightening the control loops.


Upgrading to the Siemens SIMATIC PCS 7 control system gave Elementis Specialities the reliability they were looking for. Their mineral processing operations are running more efficiently, and if they do encounter a problem, they can get the support they need. Their batching process is faster, sending more product to the dryer than ever before. All told, their operations have seen an increase in productivity and more reliable communications.

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