Improving Project Execution with Dynamic Simulation


Emerson’s Andreea Savu and Vicente Rios opened up the workshop sessions at the Emerson Exchange conference here in Denver with the presentation, Early identification of control and process design and implementation issues for main ICSS projects by using an MPDS (Multi-Purpose Dynamic Simulator) system. Their abstract:

A high fidelity Multi-Purpose Dynamic Simulator (MPDS) can be developed to support a number of activities through the different phases of a main ICSS project. The MPDS can provide an accurate representation of plant, a realistic platform in a non-intrusive simulated environment. It is proven that the use of the MPDS provided a number of benefits for main projects, not just limited to training of operations personnel (Operational, Engineering and Marine Technicians) but also used as a tool to support commissioning/start-up of the main production system.

Andreea opened describing dynamic simulators which can also be used to support a number of activities through the different phases of a main integrated control and safety system (ICSS) project, thus the concept of a Lifecycle (Multi-Purpose Dynamic Simulator) MPDS. The MPDS is a set of computer programs that model/ replicate the time varying behavior of a system.

She showed an example of the structure of a high-fidelity MPDS:

Andreea summarized the components of a high-fidelity MPDS which comprises of an ICSS database communicating through OPC with a simulator. The ICSS database is provided by the main ICSS project team, when partially ready, and can contain both PAS and SIS, depending on the project.

In certain cases, for preparing the database for an MPDS, some minor changes/ conversions need to be done and also develop some additional support modules (healthy values, local panels simulation modules, serial communication modules, and so on).

The simulator can consist of a set of integrated high fidelity models for different parts of the process, developed using one or more simulation platforms (Petrosim / K-Spice / Hysys / LedaFlow/ VMGSim/ Indiss) and emulation of complex control packages (anti-surge compressor control, combustion heater control) or emulated external package for the safety instrumented system (SIS).

The MPDS can be used for the ICSS checkout. It can also be used as a second line “ICSS” check out during its operator training system (OTS) Pre-FAT and FAT. While testing the MPDS the inconsistencies in the design and ICSS database can be identified and the corrections fed back to the main ICSS team.

Andreea noted that in previous projects they have used tables/ log files similar to the below one, to track the issues that they have found in the system, categorize them and solve them, according to certain priorities.

Some of the issues they have found in the ICSS checkout process include:

  • Missed start-up overrides or not properly configured in the sequences steps
  • Missed effects in the SIS Cause and Effects diagrams or incorrect logic E.g. missed PSV’s from cause & effect matrix
  • Insufficient time to execute certain actions E.g. a flow needs to get to a certain value in a fixed time, otherwise a valve trips
  • Complex control loops not considered for all situations E.g. Duty/ standby functionalities for pumps not considered for after trip conditions
  • Sequences that need correction in accordance with the process dynamics E.g. Sequence getting stuck because one condition is not true in a certain time scale
  • Redundant or incompatible conditions for the same device (Permissive/ Interlocks/ SIS)
  • Redundant alarms
  • Missing or wrong communication points between ICSS and external packages

Given some of the discussions about the need to improve capital project performance MDPS can play a critical role in maintaining schedule and budget.

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