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Register below for one of our live webinars that share new approaches to process improvement & optimisation. 


Or watch one of our Pre-Recorded Webinars here...


Using Visualization to Analyze Big Data from Process Plants



Process plants generate thousands of variables of continuous time-series data. This data has enormous potential which is largely untapped by the conventional analysis tools available to most process and control engineers. Fashionable “Big Data” approaches are challenged by process plant data and have limited application for busy engineers since many of the assumptions and simplifications destroy the richness of process data. Geometric Process Control (GPC) – a technology unique to us here at PPCL – avoids these pitfalls and provides engineers with graphical tools to work with datasets spanning their entire plant and create low-cost, equation-free predictive models to develop new process understanding quickly and easily.

This webinar demonstrates our unique approach to analysis on a process with a medium size dataset spanning the process from feed to product, with 750 variables over a year at 10 minute intervals. We’ll discuss how to approach big datasets and explore them visually, using operating envelopes and finding interactions between variables. Covering the entire process including incoming analyses through processing conditions to final quality variables, KPIs and performance variables, GPC enables engineers to explore their data fully and make discoveries that they couldn’t before. We’ll also cover process stewardship, using your discoveries to achieve quality targets and operational excellence long into the future.

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Operating Envelopes for Multi-Step Processes

 

All processes are multi-step, but many where the producing step is much longer than the start-up and shut-down steps have long been characterized as ‘continuous’, leaving all others to be put into categories such as ‘batch’, ‘cyclic’, ‘fed-batch’ and ‘transition’. In reality, all processes are multi-step, which means there are almost always different operating envelopes for each step. The envelopes for successive steps wholly or partially overlap with each other in high-dimensionality space and can now be examined and modelled to achieve both single and multi-step performance monitoring, optimization, operator alarm-setting and process improvement using the same no-maths Geometric Process Control tools which we demonstrated in last month’s webinar on continuous process optimization (recording available at www.ppcl.com/webinars/recorded-webinars).

In this week’s webinar you will see modelling of operating envelopes for a multi-step, multi-variable environment (a stirred-tank reactor with distillation and thus several very different operating phases) and for an oil well drilling example. There will be a discussion-led review of other frequently-encountered applications, such as grade transition in polymer manufacturing, during which all attendees are encouraged to participate by nominating their type of process.

The webinar will be delivered by an experienced chemical engineer and, while of primary interest to process and control engineers, will be fully within the comprehension of managers and other staff remote from real-time process operations who may have the task of creating business cases justifying future investment.

Smarter batch processing is within your reach! Attend this webinar and let us show you how.



Visualizing Operating Envelopes Enables Optimal Operation

 

Whether the goal is better product, more throughput, lower cost or a combination of all three, the key to repeating best operation is understanding your process and how it behaves. Such information is already present implicitly in your plant historian. This webinar demonstrates visual tools which engineers can use to extract and exploit the wealth of information available.

An Operating Envelope is the relationship between variables that gives the best achievement of one or more objectives such as yield, throughput, quality etc. This can be very complex when multiple optima exist and, until now, very difficult to see with more than a handful of variables. In the past, targets would be found individually, discounting the inherent relationship between the variables. Doing this is tedious and it is difficult to move them in accordance with new or modified goals through KPI targets. It would often conflict with other limits such as Safety Alarms, Integrity Operating Limits and Operator Alarm Limits.

Feed-to-product Operating Envelopes make it easy to reproduce best operation by identifying key variables and operating ranges to ensure consistent operation or provide MPC constraints. Additionally, new information can be generated by comparing operation under different external conditions with current constraints and operating limits to question why our operation is where it is. This can be done graphically without needing advanced statistical or analytic techniques. You can even see how that newly proposed KPI and its limits will perform and whether the operating window is sufficient to achieve the required targets.

Watch the webinar now and discover more about PPCL’s fast, practical, no-math approach to extracting the information and insight buried in your process history data.



Better Operator Alarms Make Money

 

Better operator alarms make money for YOUR plant by reducing operational variability, which contributes to a reduction in operating costs and, in cases where throughput is increased, to a reduction in the unit costs of production.

The single biggest cause of poor operator alarm performance is the values at which the alarm limits are set. But search for advice on how to find correct alarm limits and the answer will be “put the limits at the boundary of where you normally operate”. For the practising engineer this advice is next to useless because he doesn’t have a way to locate that boundary across many hundreds of variables.

The key is an Operating Envelope or Operating Window spanning the many hundreds or even thousands of variables, some with alarms defined and some without.

In this month's webinar you will discover a simple visual method of locating the Operating Window and Envelope of any chosen set of objectives and of setting alarm limits around its boundary. You will see the usefulness of being able to see and compare Windows and Envelopes for different operating objectives and the benefits of predicting Alarm Performance with immediate feedback.



Achieving Operational Excellence

Does achieving operational Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) support your business goals? Or are they considered contradictory, unrealistic or even impossible?

Are they unrealistic? How and why do unrealistic targets get created?

In a modern process plant using traditional methods, identifying and evaluating KPI targets is somewhere between difficult and impossible. However, it becomes much easier when leading KPIs are positioned on an operating envelope defined by lagging KPIs.

Geometric Process Control, an innovative new technology developed here at PPCL, provides the way to quickly and easily see such operating envelopes across hundreds of variables. Potential KPIs and targets can be immediately evaluated and compared, and contradictions or difficulties are immediately visible. Performance monitoring and reporting become clear and consistent for everyone involved, allowing process refinement and increasing understanding of how KPIs interact.



Real-Time Fault Detection Applied to Tennessee Eastman Challenge

 


The cost of downtime and degraded production from abnormal events is a major cost in the process industry. Giving your operators additional warning of situations such as column flooding, valve failure or equipment fouling can dramatically reduce production losses. Traditional condition monitoring and fault detection models are time consuming and expensive to create and maintain. Here we present a simple, low-cost method based on process history which can be implemented by a trained engineer in a matter of hours.

C Process Modeller, PPCL’s real-time process monitoring software, provides faster, earlier detection of faults against a standard benchmark. This webinar will introduce our unique and innovative Geometric Process Control (GPC) technology and demonstrate its application to a standard process benchmark for fault-detection techniques, the Tennessee Eastman process, looking at case studies from real process plants.



Targeting Lowest Energy Use in Process Plants

Most process plants today operate with excess energy. This not only increases operating costs but affects the maintenance costs and lifetimes of fired heaters. It also requires excessive cooling capacity to remove the excess energy later in the process. Why is it done? Well, it is usually ‘easier’ for operations to operate with excess energy and after a while that level of energy becomes the norm and the organisation stops pressing for improvement.

But it needn’t be like this!

C Visual Explorer (CVE) is innovative interrogative visualisation software developed exclusively here at PPCL. It has allowed engineers across the world to investigate the historic operation of their plant and identify their best energy usage, giving them the key parameters, targets and MPC constraints to better replicate past best operation into the future. Results reported by some of our users include increased paraxylene production without increasing energy input; tracking non-stationary energy minimums in an LNG refrigeration system with a look-up table of constraints to guide MPC controls to the current minimum; and avoiding historic energy blackspots in a hydrocracker through being able to see non-linearities. All of these delivered substantially reduced energy usage and operating costs as a direct result of the insights provided by CVE.

It is surprisingly easy to achieve results such as these with CVE compared to other analytical methods as CVE usage is entirely visual and designed by experienced process and control engineers for use by experienced process and control engineers. Watch this webinar and we'll show you how it's done.




 


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