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5 Benefits of Advanced Process Control

By Michael A Taube on 25 June 17 Blog

The complexity of a petroleum processing and refining facilities grows. Those involved in the industry also know that so do the challenges in seeing them operate consistently at maximum efficiency.  The more subsystems involved, the easier it becomes for problems or inefficiencies in one aspect to become systemic issues dragging the entire process down. One problem can cause extended unusable product production.

To keep up schedules, quotas, and profits, site management, and operations has to maintain total control over the system.  With the right skills applied, this is where advanced process control and automation systems make a difference.  A custom-designed solution, created to fit the specific fingerprint and needs of your operations, can provide robust system-wide oversight, and maintain much higher overall levels of optimization; in other words, better on-time schedules, meeting quotas and maintaining, often increasing profit.

Why Advanced Process Control Systems in Petroleum Processing?

Here is a list of reasons as to why advanced process control (APC) systems provide benefits to petrochemical processing:

  • Detailed process modeling determined optimum results.

Any advanced process control (APC) system is custom-fit to the needs of each individual plant or operation for which it is designed.  This means putting together finely-tuned models of that facility’s processes, along with algorithms for calculating optimal operating conditions and parameters.  Beyond being a necessity for the control systems, process modeling gives you even more hard data on exactly how well your plant could be performing, if all parameters are properly controlled.

  • Reduce process variability.

One of the biggest goals of an APC is to minimize the amount of variability that’s allowed within any given sub-system.  The tighter the controls, the more finely-tuned the entire process, the entire plant can become.  This is generally accomplished by comparing the calculated model optimal figures with the real-world results to identify areas of inefficiency and take corrective action in-line as the process continues. 

  • The potential for real-time optimization.

Once properly implemented, APC can often enable true real-time optimization, often from a relatively simple control setup.  Processes can be overseen and managed in unprecedented detail while providing interfaces for tweaking and optimizing specific segments as necessary.  This can often result in significant long-term improvements to efficiency.

  • Improved long-term planning and scheduling.

On the larger scale, such systems begin to make it possible for a plant to look much further ahead in its planning and scheduling.  Jobs can be scheduled months or potentially even years ahead of time, with the assurance that they can be accomplished thanks to the advanced process control systems keeping everything on track, month after month.  This can then also translate into improved forecasting for shareholders and other investors.

  • We all need better product quality at lower costs.

Finally, ACS can help enable the overarching goal of any petroleum processing operation:  Producing better quality product at lower overall costs, particularly energy costs.  As the trend to operate with fewer personnel continues, advanced process control is almost a necessity.  A tightly-managed, optimized, statistically modeled system will be more reliable across the board.  Further, greater guarantees can be made to customer and clients, backed by hard machine science and modern automation systems.

Improve Your Plant’s Efficiency with SD Consulting

SD Consulting has more than twenty years’ experience working directly with the petroleum industry, implementing custom solutions to reduce costs while improving quality and safety.  Contact us today to learn more about our custom consulting services.

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