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How Advanced Process Control Improves Optimization

By Michael A Taube on 6 October 17 Blog

If there’s one keyword which concerns every petrochemical plant, it is: optimization. Profit margins are tight, and getting tighter.  Increasing need for reliability in petrochemical products means fluctuations in product quality cannot be tolerated, or else a plant risks losing customers or having to reprocess off-spec product.  The key to remaining profitable – and growing your operation – is to find ways to optimize without sacrificing safety or quality.

This last point is a particularly sticky one.  Too often, in our opinion, do operations take a short-sighted view, sacrificing elements such as mentoring, training, safety, and maintenance for the sake of quick profit boosts.  It might improve the quarterly report, but there will be a heavy price paid down the line – sometimes disastrously high, as in cases such as the Deepwater Horizon incident.  “Do more with less” is just not working as a management principle in the HPI.

That’s why we at S&D Consulting specialize in advanced process control (APC), automation systems, and real-time optimization.  By improving the day-to-day functions of your plant, we can substantially boost your profits and without risking long-term viability.

How Advanced Process Control Improves Your Bottom Line

Fundamentally, advanced process control is about improving a plant’s profitability by maintaining processes at desired operating conditions, while taking process constraints into account in light of the daily changes required for operation.  APC and automation are a major component in this, because the applications and automatic system monitoring, and adjustments are what allow these optimizations to occur.  

A proper APC implementation begins by getting a full overview of a plant’s operations:  beginning with their raw materials, going through the entire system of conversion processes, and looking at the resulting products and\or waste materials.  Often, there’s room for optimization just by looking at the inputs and outputs:  Could the inputs be acquired more cheaply, or are cheaper substitutes available?  Could the waste products be put to productive use, sold, or further refined into something useful? With the knowledge gained via testing and subsequent knowledgeable programming, applications, and configurations, advanced applications are applied that can create optimum operations.

Then, the APC and automation processes begin.  Applications, monitoring devices, and control systems are put in place on all major components, backed up by intelligent computer scripting of the tolerances.  The APC then watches over the process, making adjustments as needed to keep everything within tolerances, minimize the cost of operation, allow reaching production targets.

This significantly reduces manpower needs, while improving overall product quality, equipment, and systems reliability – yet without sacrificing quality or safety.    

Advanced Process Control Can Overhaul Your Systems

Want to truly do more with less?  Contact S&D Consulting to learn more.

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