STS AIChE May 2018 Monthly Dinner Meeting - Workshops | AIChE

STS AIChE May 2018 Monthly Dinner Meeting - Workshops

Thursday, May 3, 2018,
5:30pm to 6:30pm
In-Person / Local
12126 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77077
United States

Workshop I

Title: Evaluating valve condition: a part of any safe and efficient operation

Speaker: Steven Obermann, Todd Harrison

Abstract: : 

We will be presenting Metso’s thoughts on measuring and monitoring the behavior of the lowly control valve.  Often the control valve assets are found to be the cause of reduced production rate, lower product quality, higher energy consumption, and lost efficiency. We will explain:

• When you should evaluate valve performance.

• How real-time data from the plant can give key insights to valve condition.

• What tools are available to simplify assessment of condition. 

• Once these valves are identified, what options are there to analyze the individual trouble makers

If these workhorses of process regulation are performing properly, reliability is improved and maximum return on capital is possible.


Steven Obermann, Sr. Product Manager, Metso Performance Solutions

Steve is the Sr. Product Manager overseeing the Expertune family of software products. He has worked in the process automation field for 30+ years.  Steve has extensive experience in the refining and petrochemicals sector; having been employed by Texaco, WR Grace, UOP, Honeywell, and Texas Petrochemicals.  His expertise includes process modeling, advance control, optimization, software development, process and control system performance evaluation/benchmarking, project financial analysis and management.

Todd Harrison, EPC Account Manager, Metso Flow Control

Todd graduated with a BS in Industrial Distribution from Texas A&M and a MBA from University of Houston.  Todd has been in the valve industry for the past 17 years.  Within the valve industry he has held various sales and marketing roles in the Texas gulf coast.  Todd is an active member of the Houston ISA.  At Metso, Todd holds the current role of Strategic Account Manager.



Workshop II

Title: Keep Distillation System on Spec at Max Rates 

Speaker: Charles D. Herzog, P.E. 

Abstract: : 

Distillation often represents the final step in the manufacture of oil or petrochemical products before they are sent to the customer.  It is essential for the supplier’s products to meet specification requirements at all times for customers to have complete confidence in the supplier.

When distillation systems are operated at or near the capacity of the equipment, composition controls may not work as intended and the frequency of off-spec incidents can increase. 

This presentation discusses straightforward steps to manage equipment constraints and reduce variation of product composition to ensure consistent on-spec production at both normal and maximum rates.

Some of the topics discussed include:

• Objectively evaluating current distillation operations

• Setting the correct operating target for a product with a hard specification

• Identifying and overcoming disturbances that increase process variation

• Designing a DCS control strategy to prioritize the primary product over the secondary product

• Developing a process model to help operate the system while the analyzer is being calibrated


Charles Herzog served the oil refining and petrochemical industries for over 40 years before retiring from full-time work in 2015.  During his career, Charles has had assignments covering a wide variety of skill areas, including:

a. Process design

b. Ethylene plant operator

c. Startup tech support

d. Advanced process control (Multivariable and DCS-based)

e. Test run management and accounting

f. Ethylene technology, specializing in high purity distillation operations


Charles was one of the pioneers of QDMC implementation in the 1980s at Shell’s OL-5 unit in Norco, La.  His advanced level control algorithm led to the concept of ‘ramp variables’ being designed into MVPC software.

Charles is the sole inventor of the ‘Heat and Material Balance Method of Process Control’, patented by Stone & Webster.  This ‘invention’ is a process control strategy to maintain on-spec, steady operation in high-purity distillation systems, in the presence of equipment constraints.  

Charles holds a Masters of Chemical Engineering degree from Rice University, and is a licensed P.E. in Texas and Louisiana.