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The following webinars may be viewed online. Each lasts about an hour. They are taken from our monthly live offerings. To view them in your browser, click 'Read more...' on the right of the page.  

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The alarm system is a key tool for operators to maintain the efficient operation of the process plant. Why are there so many issues? Nuisance alarms and alarms that have been stale for far too long cost us production, as well as potentially contributing to process incidents. How can we make the alarms, and the alarm process, better? Geometric Process Control is the answer, demonstrating the relationship between operator alarms and process behaviour and leading to a revolution in alarm management.

This webinar will demonstrate the fundamental understanding relating operator alarm limits to process behavior, enabling the creation and management of an entire set of alarm limits. This differentiates Modern Alarm Rationalization from the isolated alarm methods currently used across the industry. With this technique, alarm limits and their performance can be evaluated before putting them in place, forcing underlying process issues to be recognized and addressed. This is dramatically different from today’s try-it-and-see approach to “bad actors” and allows a rational process for setting alarm limits that have never activated. The result is much better alarm limits taking up less process engineering time, thereby reducing the number, duration and staff levels of review meetings.

The cost of downtime and degraded production from abnormal events is a major cost in the process industry. Giving your operators even a few minutes warning of situations such as column flooding, pump 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. In this webinar, Dr Alan Mahoney, PPCL's Technical and Operations Director, introduces a simple, low-cost method based on process history which can be implemented by a trained engineer in a matter of hours.

PPCL has pioneered the development and implementation of the only method for modelling process operations as a multi-dimensional geometric object. While this method is simple, it’s far from simplistic. It can integrate more than 100 process variables over thousands of time points, achieving very high detection sensitivity.

In this webinar, we demonstrate how our method works and answer your questions. We start with examining historic events in C Visual Explorer (CVE), a powerful tool that allows process engineers to deeply interrogate large data sources without the need for training in heavy mathematics. Building from individual events into whole classes of similar events, we’ll pinpoint common causes of faults and identify opportunities for making our process more robust and reducing downtime. We’ll then move to C Process Modeller (CPM), a process monitoring tool which models the operating envelope of fault-free operation as a multi-dimensional solid, providing dynamic real-time warning of developing events.

In this webinar from July 2018, Dr Alan Mahoney, PPCL's Operations and Technical Director, shares our insights and methods for higher quality batch processes.

He demonstrates improving the yield of a multi-phase, multi-stage batch process. Dramatic reduction of quality variability and improvement of cycle times for batch processes, product/grade transitions and plant start-ups can be achieved by finding the best historic operating envelope, identifying the processing stages and targeting the key variables that drive process differences. Dr Mahoney shows you how to find these envelopes and identify the key variables which drive achievement of quality goals. We also investigate real-time monitoring of multi-dimensional operating envelope models which goes far beyond following single-variable trajectories and instead considers the ideal relationship between variables at each point in the batch.

The data required to drive these improvements is already available in your plant historian. PPCL’s C Visual Explorer is the vital tool to unlock that information, putting it on an interactive graph so that engineering and operations can investigate it for process discovery, test hypotheses and evaluate the effect of targeted operations. This visual method requires no higher mathematics training, only process knowledge to ask and answer the questions whose answers will drive better and better production.

Process plants rarely operate consistently at their minimum energy input. A number of factors contribute to this, including lack of knowledge of the best conditions and also the ease of operation with excess energy. There is an inevitable drift back to higher energy operation without ongoing monitoring and feedback as part of energy minimisation.

Process engineers worldwide using C Visual Explorer (CVE) – innovative software developed here at PPCL - to investigate historic data from PI, PHD, IP21 and similar have produced some remarkable process improvements in remarkably little time. Results include increasing the product output of a paraxylene plant already at maximum energy input; identifying and steering an LNG refrigeration process to the best of several non-stationary local efficiency optima by adjusting the constraints of existing MPC controls; and providing a hydrocracker operator with a map to avoid several high energy sink-holes that were not previously known, reducing energy usage by 40%.

In this webinar, first delivered by our Technical and Operations Director Dr Alan Mahoney in May 2018, we demonstrate our simple no-maths visual method which requires only the knowledge of the process and its operating objectives and practices which senior process engineers already possess. It uses data already in your plant historian and can identify operational changes to a lower energy operating window. We also discuss maintaining improved operation into the future and real time guidance for the operator and/or existing process control systems.

Process plants generate continuous time-series data for thousands of variables at sub-minute frequencies. This is far beyond what process engineers can analyse with their conventional analysis tools. This data has enormous potential value, containing the records of plant operation and implicitly the relationships between process variables and KPI, quality and performance variables. What led to the best performance and can it be repeated; what led to the worst and can it be avoided?

The currently trending “Big Data” approaches focus on pulling subtle correlations from largely uncorrelated data, but chemical processes have extensive relationships due to balances and governing physical laws. Predictive Analytics provides generalized answers through simplifications which can destroy much of the richness of the data. Such approaches have little appeal to the busy process and control engineers close to the plant who have the domain knowledge essential to the use of any analytical method. They can also be time-consuming and require a statistician to interpret the results.

Geometric Process Control (GPC) provides engineers with graphical tools to work with big datasets spanning the entire plant process. This webinar, first delivered by Dr Alan Mahoney in April 2018, will introduce this technology and demonstrate analysis of a process using a dataset involving a year of data for 750 variables at 10-minute intervals. By connecting data spanning the entire process from incoming analyses through processing conditions to final quality variables, KPIs and performance with the richness of years of historical data, GPC enables engineers to explore their data and make discoveries that are not possible today.

Do your Key Performance Indicators drive Operational Excellence? Or does Operations pay lip-service to some targets that they consider unrealistic?

ARE they unrealistic?
How and why do unrealistic targets get created?
Is an impending abnormal event, such as pump failure, about to sabotage your pursuit of Operational Excellence?

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, PPCL's innovative new technology, provides the way to quickly and easily see such an operating envelope across many hundreds of variables. This makes it immediately obvious to everyone which targets are inconsistent or unrealistic. Performance monitoring and reporting become clear and consistent for everyone involved, allowing process refinement and increasing understanding of how KPIs interact. The approach is radically different but, as with all really good inventions, much simpler than what it replaces.

Setting KPI targets and reporting is necessary, but for use in the control room these targets need to be translated into operating windows. It is easy to get this wrong, and difficult to realize when the window becomes outdated. In this one hour webinar, presented in September 2017, Dr Alan Mahoney, PPCL's Technical Director, shows a better way to address these problems. There can be a new understanding of the relationship between KPI targets, operating targets and process objectives. The webinar demonstrates how to use that understanding to find the best operating window to achieve KPI targets and other operating objectives. Providing the best operating window to operators is the essential first step toward repeating and improving best process operations.

Here at PPCL we have spent 25 years developing GPC (Geometric Process Control), an innovative new method of viewing process operations. Our work with gas production includes production fields, gas treatment and processing, LNG production, landing and re-vaporization. We have worked with LNG producers worldwide helping them to understand their process better by analyzing their data in far more detail than was previously possible. This work has contributed to achieving better operation through better alarms, process optimization and product compliance – improvements directly impacting the bottom line. 

This webinar from May 2017 takes an in-depth look at gas production. We demonstrate our technology using graphical tools to optimize product split in an LNG production train, monitor performance week-on-week and identify targets for process improvement. By connecting historical data completely across the process with quality variables, GPC enables value-finding in your process through data exploration and discovery which are simply not possible with today’s techniques.

This webinar was presented by Michael Bell, Principal Applications Engineer at NOVA Chemicals of Canada in September 2016. The feed preparation section at NOVA’s Ethylene 1 plant receives and combines feed from a multiple of sources while reducing the feed pressure to prepare for thermal cracking in an ethylene furnace. What is unique in modelling this process is that it has multiple modes of operation. This multi-mode problem fits well with CPM and CVE, which allow for the automatic turning off and on of variables to minimize the number of alerts sent to the panel operator by the setting of the “Phase” variable.

Geometric models are a new class of mathematical model and well-suited to plant applications because of their very low cost due to the speed with which the wholly visual nature of Geometric Process Control (GPC) allows them to be created, implemented and maintained. They have been applied to continuous and batch processes in process industry segments ranging from pharmaceuticals through chemicals to oil refining and upstream oil and gas production. 

PPCL’s mission is to reduce variability in plant operations. This starts with the gaining of better process and operations understanding using our offline product, C Visual Explorer (CVE), to view years of process operation for hundreds of variables in a single interrogable graph. This much wider view than was ever previously available considerably simplifies and accelerates traditional process applications such as process analysis, de-bottlenecking, optimisation, alarm rationalization and KPI target setting and monitoring. Operating Windows found by CVE and expressed as independent Operating Limits on process variables are immediately usable by plant operations as a guide to greater achievement of the business objective.

Operating Envelopes are modelled by our online real-time product, C Process Modeller (CPM), updating on a frequency between seconds and minutes and providing alerts to supplement alarms, guiding operations to stay inside the Operating Envelope and providing early warning of impending events, alerting the process operator to take mitigating action.

Michael offers an invaluable account of NOVA's experience with PPCL tools. The webinar includes a Q&A session with process industry professionals addressing some of the issues which commonly arise when considering and implementing the software.

 
 

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PPCL Webinar: Big Data
24th and 25th October

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