(130c) A General Digital Applications Platform

Authors: 
Pantelides, C. C., Process Systems Enterprise Ltd.
Pereira, F., Process Systems Enterprise Limited
Stanger, P., Process Systems Enterprise Ltd.
Yan, Y., Process Systems Enterprise Ltd.
Deep process knowledge captured within physics-based models is a key element for the successful digitalization of process industries. Digital applications making use of models derived from first principles are increasingly being used in industrial practice, particularly in the area of process operations. They include both open-loop applications, such as model-based soft sensing and monitoring of equipment degradation, and closed-loop ones such as Real-Time Optimization and nonlinear Model Predictive Control.

However, most non-trivial digital applications involve much more than a mathematical model being solved in a simulation or optimization mode. They often require multiple model-based calculations being scheduled over time and exchanging data with each other, while potentially being subject to occasional failures. They also involve extensive communication with external data servers, such as distributed control systems, plant historians, commercial databases and user dashboards. Moreover, the data involved in all such communications may be subject to systematic and/or random errors, and may even occasionally become unavailable.

This paper describes a recently developed general software platform for resilient and sustainable digital applications, taking account of the above considerations. The platform significantly reduces the cost and increases the reliability of development, testing, deployment and maintenance of diverse applications within a unified software architecture. Industrial examples illustrating the flexibility of the proposed design are presented.