Improving Project Performance with Dynamic Simulations and Operator Training Systems

Emerson's Ronnie Bains

Dynamic process simulations can be used across the lifecycle of a capital project from early verification studies of process designs to training the operators to prepare to operate the running facility. For offshore oil & gas production facilities these simulations are even more important given the remoteness, space limitations and transportation requirements for the project and operating teams.

In an Offshore Engineer article, Faster start-up, Emerson’s Ronnie Bains describes how the use of dynamic simulations improve the opportunities to bring the production platform online sooner.

Offshore Engineer: Faster start-upRonnie opens describing the scope of these simulators. They:

…comprise of an integrated control and safety system (ICSS) communicating with a model of the process facility, which is designed to reflect actual plant process dynamics and to provide realistic feedback for the ICSS.

Early in a project, during the design phase:

…the process model can be integrated with the control system configuration at various stages during the ICSS development. That allows it to be used as a tool to provide enhanced verification of the ICSS configuration, in addition to the traditional acceptance testing. This can include verifying alarm and trip settings, providing initial controller tuning values and enhanced verification of control logic.

Data from the simulations can be used to verify points of integration and virtual commissioning to identify and correct issues long before entering the start-up phase of the project. Continue Reading

Improving Process Safety through Human Factors Analysis

Wikipedia defines process safety as focusing on:

…preventing fires, explosions and accidental chemical releases in chemical process facilities or other facilities dealing with hazardous materials such as refineries, and oil and gas (onshore and offshore) production installations.

Emerson’s Julian Annison

Emerson's Travis Hesketh

In a Valve magazine article, Human Factors Can Cause a Disaster—or Prevent One, Emerson’s Julian Annison and Travis Hesketh highlight the role that human factors play in process safety.

They open citing these statistics:

With 75% of industrial accidents traceable to organizational and human factors, managing the potential for human failures is essential if plants are to prevent major incidents that can prove extremely damaging in terms of human lives, company finances and reputation.

The United Kingdom’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines human factors as: Continue Reading

Optimizing Storage Terminal Operations

Across the upstream and downstream oil & gas supply chain, storage terminals play a vital role. Efficiently managing many operations including product transfers, blend operations, fiscal measurements and inventories can mean the difference in profitability & loss.

Emerson's Aaron Boettcher

In an Tank Storage magazine article, Enhancing Terminal Business Performance, Emerson’s Aaron Boettcher, describes the role of terminal management systems in safe, reliable and efficient operations.

Aaron opens noting the historical role of terminal management systems:

…managing the loading operations and efficiently moving trucks through the facility in an automated way.

Modern terminal management systems not only help manage these loading operations, but also:

…provide a single integrated platform to manage the entire terminal business process: bringing in customer orders, executing the loading operation, charging for services, managing inventory, and billing activity back to the customer.

Traditionally the commercial side of managing terminals has been separate from the operational side. By integrating these functions, terminal customers can: Continue Reading

Challenge of Designing PCS-Driven MES Architectures for a Greenfield Facility

Emerson's Jonathan Lustri

Author: Jonathan Lustri

I have previously written about a design strategy where the process control system (PCS) is the primary system driving all procedural batch activity within a pharmaceutical process. In this architecture, the PCS ISA-88 procedural model must execute the both automated procedures and call the manufacturing execution system (MES) workflows to be executed when they are needed by the process. The advantage of this approach is that flexible equipment and product independent workflows can be developed which reduces the cost of introducing new products and results in less engineering and maintenance for the MES system. Another benefit of this approach is more robust coordination between the MES and PCS procedural activities and simplification of the MES procedural model. See the article, Connecting MES to Process Control, for more information on this architecture.

While this architecture has many benefits, there are challenges implementing this architecture. Challenges include project roles and responsibilities, driving common design for similar activities, and client focus on how manual activities will be performed. The PCS-driven MES architecture requires a more holistic view of the process for automation design personnel. In the typical batch automation engineering project, the automation engineer is mostly concerned only about what is automated with instruments and valves. There is some requirement to understand manual activities using manual prompts from the PCS. However, in a PCS-driven MES architecture, the automation engineer must take ownership for understanding the entire process. Continue Reading

5 Questions for Control System Modernization Consultant MC Chow

Let’s continue our 5 Questions for an Emerson Expert podcast series with MC Chow. MC has more than two decades of experience in process automation and safety. He works with process manufacturers and producers to modernize their control and safety systems in order to improve safety, reliability and efficiency.

If you have an Emerson expert you’d like me to interview and questions to ask, leave me a comment below… thanks!

Emerson's MC Chow


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