Process Automation & Control

Massive Porter Ranch Gas Leak a Cautionary Tale

February 12, 2016

Months of chaos, fear, and the smell of rotten eggs came to an end at Porter Ranch in Los Angeles on Thursday, once crews digging a relief well finally pierced the deep, underground casing of the d

March 2016 CEP Preview

March 16, 2016
This month, CEP looks at big data analytics in a special section, as well as covering PID for process engineers and aerobic fermenter optimization.

AIChE Journal Highlight: Tribute to Founders: Roger Sargent

September
2016
Journal Highlight
Widely recognized as the intellectual leader, father, and pioneer of process systems engineering, Roger Sargent has played a role in shaping the chemical engineering discipline. A tribute to Sargent in the September issue of the AIChE Journal...

June 2016 CEP Preview

June 14, 2016

This month a special SBE supplement looks at commercializing industrial biotechnology.

Abqaiq Plant Virtual Plant RTO Implementation

Conference Presentation
AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
April 29, 2013
Abqaiq Plant Virtual Plant RTO Implementation Abstract Abqaiq Plant is the largest worldwide crude stabilization plant with $200MM energy consumption...

Process Control for Microreactors

August
2001
Instrumentation
Don  Humbert, Lech  Znamirowski, Olgierd A. Palusinski, Sarma Vrudhula
Field-programmable analog arrays coupled with microreactor technology promise to change the way plants are built, as well as the methods by which their processes are designed and controlled.

CEP: Process Automation Corner - Process Simulation and Process Control

September
2013
Process Automation Corner
Terry McMahon
Chemical engineers have been practicing process simulation since the advent of the profession in the early 20th century. It was called process design and inevitably involved simplifying assumptions, including that steady-state process conditions had...

Understand Advanced Process Control

June
2016
Back To Basics
Perry Nordh, P.Eng.
Multivariable processes are controlled by a hierarchical structure of control layers. Field devices and regulatory controls manage individual variables, while advanced process control and production control systems coordinate multiple variables to optimize operation.

Choose the Right Gas Sensor

September
2009
Instrumentation
Sandra Barnes
Selecting a sensor for continuous monitoring involves many considerations. This article discusses the types of sensors available, their applicability and limitations, and how to choose an appropriate sensor to protect people and equipment.

Improving the Control of Process Flows

Conference Presentation
Southwest Process Technology Conference
October 10, 2014
This presentation will introduce an unusual flow control algorithm that out-performs the PID algorithm when used for flow control. The algorithm was...

Dewaxing Challenging Paraffinic Feeds in North America

Conference Presentation
Southwest Process Technology Conference
October 9, 2014
With the more difficult and highly paraffinic feedstocks on the market along with more stringent diesel specifications, the need to provide an...

Processing Shale Oils in FCC: Challenges and Opportunities

Conference Presentation
AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
April 2, 2014
Shale Oils such as Eagle Ford and Bakken are fast becoming a major feed source for US refineries. The rapid introduction of shale oils to the...

Project Execution Using the Stage Gate Process

Conference Presentation
Southwest Process Technology Conference
October 4, 2013
In recent years more and more projects are being executed effectively using the “Stage Gate” process. This presentation provides an overview of the...

Implement an Effective Loop Tuning Strategy

January
2013
Back To Basics
Norman Ito, Timothy Olsen
Use these loop tuning guidelines to improve process control and enhance product uniformity Many undergraduate chemical engineering programs teach the Ziegler-Nichols tuning methods, developed by John G. Ziegler and Nathaniel B. Nichols in the 1940s...

Account for Uncertainty with Robust Control Design - Part 2

December
2014
Instrumentation
Sachi Dash, Rakesh Joshi, J. Ward MacArthur, Konstantinos Tsakalis
Robust control can be applied to design controllers that can handle process uncertainty. Learn how to use identification experiments to obtain estimates of this uncertainty.

Account for Uncertainty with Robust Control Design - Part 1

November
2014
Instrumentation
Sachi Dash, Rakesh Joshi, J. Ward MacArthur, Konstantinos Tsakalis
The dynamic behavior of your process can never be modeled perfectly. However, process controllers can be designed to handle this so-called uncertainty.

CEP: Process Automation Corner - The U.S. Process Automation Enterprise Looks to the Future

March
2014
Process Automation Corner
Terry McMahon
The outlook is bright for the process automation enterprise in the U.S. through this decade and into the next. Process automation skills and know-how are honed through challenging projects and are perfected by maintaining these systems at peak efficiency. Without constant renewal based on new and different challenges, these skills tend to atrophy and become obsolete. Fortunately, after more than a decade of decline, the U.S. process industries are entering a period of highly advantaged resource and energy availability.

CEP: Process Automation Corner - Real-Time Analytics for Pharmaceutical Quality Control

December
2013
Process Automation Corner
Terry McMahon
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), under the leadership of Ajaz Hussain, then the Associate Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), launched the Process Analytical Technology (PAT) Initiative a decade ago, it set in motion a multifaceted search for a more scientifically based approach to pharmaceutical manufacturing and quality assurance. Hussain’s call for more PAT in the industry’s manufacturing operations was really more of a challenge to current practices than a proscriptive program. The pharmaceutical industry has responded with a renewed emphasis on understanding the scientific basis of its processes, and toward that end has made significant investments in personnel and tools.

Advanced Process Control: Beyond Single Loop Control

June, 2010
This book fills the gap between basic control configurations (Practical Process Control) and model predictive control (MPC). For those loops whose performance has a direct impact on plant economics or product quality, going beyond simple feedback or cascade can improve control performance, or...

Design and Control of Distillation Systems for Separating Azeotropes

March, 2010
Hands-on guidance for the design, control, and operation of azeotropic distillation systems Following this book's step-by-step guidance, readers learn to master tested and proven methods to overcome a major problem in chemical processing: the distillation and separation of azeotropes. Practical in...

Optimize Process Regulation

December
2001
Instrumentation
Phillip D. Schnelle
Laboratory feedback proportional-integral control integrates statistical process control with automatic process control to minimize process variability.

Using Automation to Produce Quality Pharmaceuticals

October
2011
Instrumentation
Joseph S. Alford, P.E.
Automation can pay large dividends in the form of reduced process cycle times, lower operational costs, and more-consistent processes for manufacturing high-quality pharmaceutical products.

The World of Wireless

February
2010
News Feature
Matthew McKeon-Slattery
As wireless technologies have advanced, old limits have been overcome and new challenges have sprung up. Further growth is likely to be driven by specific application and cost-reduction needs. <br>

Tracing Process Problems

April
2002
Instrumentation
John E. Hoots
In water chemistry control, fluorescent tracing technology can quickly and effectively determine and deal with the root cause of a problem.

Reduce Thermal Risk in Industrial Synthesis

October
2001
Safety
Richard C. Wedlich 
Knowing the safe operating conditions for a reaction allows us to select appropriate safety measures and thereby lower both the likelihood and the severity of a thermal runaway.

Practical Process Control: Tuning and Troubleshooting

December, 2009
Practical Process Control (loop tuning and troubleshooting). This book differs from others on the market in several respects. First, the presentation is totally in the time domain (the word "LaPlace" is nowhere to be found). The focus of the book is actually troubleshooting, not tuning. If a...

The Chemical Industry Phoenix

June
2012
Process Automation Corner
Terry McMahon
Seven years ago, I wrote a column for another publica­ tion entitled “The U.S. Chemical Industry: R.I.P.” This pillar of American economic strength, which a few years earlier was the leading exporter among U.S. manufac­turing sectors (with net exports of $15–20 billion annually), was shriveling due in large part to policy blunders and regula­tory mistakes.

Easily Assess Complex Safety Loops

March
2001
Instrumentation
Lawrence  Beckman
Many safety instrumented systems rely on dissimilar redundant field devices, and this can complicate required analyses. These equations will enable field personnel to handle such situations readily.

Control and Optimize Nonlinear Systems

February
2003
Instrumentation
Andrew C. Burden, Pradeep B. Deshpande, Roberto Z. Tantalean
Turbocharging a contrained model predictive controller (CMPC) with fuzzy logic allows CMPCs to be applied over nonlinear systems

Tune Control Loops for Minimum Variability

January
2002
Instrumentation
Lanny A. Robbins
The Robbins tuning rules can reduce the variability of control loop response to about 60% of that observed with Ziegler-Nichols tuning rules.

Matching Your Process Constraints Using Dynamic Simulation

December
2003
Information Technology
Iban Grau, Jose J. Macias-Hernandez, Miquel A. Alos
A rigorous dynamic process simulator can be used to evaluate alternative control strategies for an exothermic reacting process in order to improve its safety and product quality.

Step into the Virtual Plant

February
2002
Instrumentation
Gregory K McMillan, Mark S Sowell III, Michael M Mansy
The ability to warehouse process and control system knowledge offers a vast potential for improved operations by sharing a common source of information and avoiding data duplication.

Use Model-Predictive Control to Improve Distillation Operations

January
2008
Instrumentation
Robert J. Conroy, Umesh Mathur, Robert D. Rounding, Daniel R. Webb
This methodology, based on steady-state and dynamic simulation, can be used to develop the necessary models— and avoid disruptive and costly step testing to the extent feasible.

Optimize Control Room Communications

October
2001
Instrumentation
Brad A. Walker, James E. Lenhart, Karen D. Smith
Faced with more distractions than ever, operators need an environment that is conducive for dealing with abnormal, as well as normal, situations. Effective control room design can help.

Analyzing APC Performance

August
2002
Instrumentation
To reap the most benefit from an advanced process control (APC) system, users need to know how to analyze and monitor the APC's performance.

Effectively Control Column Pressure

January
2001
Reactions and Separations
Andrew W. Sloley 
Maintaining proper pressure can play a crucial role in the stable operation of a distillation column. Here’s how to select the most appropriate pressure-control scheme.

Ease Control Valve Selection

November
2002
Fluids and Solids Handling
Kiran Nair, Liyakat Jaffer, Meredith Chapeaux, Sheetal Patel, Trevor Bishop
With so many types and options available, choosing the right control valve can seem daunting. Selection can be simplified by considering the process fluid, the service requirements, how the various valves function, and seeing how each valve will...

Save Energy Through Automation

January
2010
Instrumentation
Douglas C. White
Identifying the right automation investments — those with low costs and high impacts — can result in millions of dollars in energy savings for petrochemical plants. <br>

Take the Tedium Out of Writing Process Descriptions

February
2001
Instrumentation
Michael J. Gentilcore
Setting up a special function and a shorthand system on a spreadsheet can improve the descriptions needed for implementing a process control system, while minimizing the monotony in writing them.

Applying Bus Technologies in Process Control

December
2002
Instrumentation
Ed Smigo
Fieldbus technologies have become increasingly popular in process control applications. This article highlights the practical applications and economics of various buses, so that an engineer can choose the best one for his or her process.

Teach Yourself the Basics of Aspen Plus

January, 2011
Aspen Plus is on of the most popular process simulation software programs used industrially and academically. Though the software is available at many corporations and universities, there are no textbooks which are dedicated to teaching the step-by-step use of the software. This book is designed to...

Reactive Distillation Design and Control

October, 2008
After an overview of the fundamentals, limitations, and scope of reactive distillation, this book uses rigorous models for steady-state design and dynamic analysis of different types of reactive distillation columns and quantitatively compares the economics of reactive distillation columns with...

Distillation Design and Control Using Aspen Simulation

April, 2006
As the world continues to seek new sources of energy, the distillation process remains one of the most important separation methods in the chemical, petroleum, and energy industries. And as new renewable sources of energy and chemical feedstocks become more universally utilized, the issues of...

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