Refining

 

The refining industry continues to thrive on high demand and high prices, with global refinery utilization currently approaching 90 percent. Capacity constraints, increasing use of heavier crude feeds, and high margins are driving a number of large-capacity and upgrading projects in the Asia and around the world. The changing product slate in Europe is guiding a number of upgrading projects that favor production of diesel over gasoline, heating oil, and fuel oil. EU regulations are creating an unprecedented demand for biodiesel fuels. Oil producing countries in the Middle East are developing plans for new integrated petrochemical refineries, powered by the desire to maximize value and enhance margins.

We expect the market for our services and expertise to remain strong for the foreseeable future. The prospects for new refining capacity, upgrading, crude slate heavy-up, and a continuing move into petrochemical production should continue to grow. Our sulfur recovery, energy conservation, optimization and process enhancement skills are in high demand as we address emerging environmental regulations. Our clients continue to look for our experience in day to day running as well as long term planning of their refineries. We provide Primary and Advanced Process Control and Online Optimization consulting and project implementation from our large resource base in China, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia and Australia.

Usually, when the market is favorable and the margins are good, refining facilities tend to downplay the necessity for process enhancement and optimization. We are committed to changing this mentality and to demonstrate added value for our services by utilizing our customized benefits calculations. We believe that optimization should be an on-going process whether margins are lean or not. We are one of the few consulting companies to have customized benefits calculations for almost any service we provide.

One of the biggest value-added benefits SmartControl can bring you is our skill and expertise in choosing and implementing the most appropriate process control tool and software for your specific needs and characteristics. We stay away from complex black-box type software products. We also avoid complex software applications needing excessive specialized support. We will use the simplest, yet powerful/sophisticated most effective approach giving you robust control action, high software reliability and high application on-stream factor.

Where the process is truly multivariable, we will recommend and implement MPC products like DMC or RMPCT. Where the process has a strong diagonal control matrix, we may recommend a DCS-based traditional APC scheme using our proprietary PICOTS software for quickly and accurately identifying process dynamics.

What distinguishes us from other process control vendors and companies is that we are not only a technology company, a software developer and implementer (an OEM “original equipment manufacturer“ since we develop our own software technology and products) but we also use control software from other companies like DMC, RMPCT etc. We chose the most appropriate, best product and methodology based on the process characteristics and plant needs. We pride ourselves in that we can use all of the following: DCS-based APC, full-blown MPC or a rule-based control product ReciCon based on needs and characteristics.

Many refineries can benefit immediately through the use of our software and technology. Following is a brief summary:

 

  • PID tuning (primary and advanced control) optimization to reduce/eliminate oscillations and improve the control quality of the primary control layer.

  • DCS/PLC-resident or host-computer-resident APC (advanced process control) control schemes.

  • PID and APC control quality monitoring, reporting and control parameter adjustments.

  • Online oscillation detection, operator alerts, adaptive control action and automatic control parameter adjustments.

  • Sequence control programs for product grade transitions and for planned changes in process conditions.

  • Auto-Adaptive control for compensating for process and equipment nonlinearities and also those caused by different raw materials/catalysts and process/operating conditions.

  • Online optimization to consider market conditions, chemical prices and process conditions.

  • Remote access, monitoring and support to improve effectiveness of engineers and operators.

  • Operator advisory to provide smart messaging and support this is like having an experienced operator or engineer watching the whole plant/process all the time and then providing the operator with excellent support based on years of experience and knowledge.

  • OPC communications and signal validation for online analyzers, compressors, fast data logging and monitoring and to assist a host of related applications.

  • Advanced LIMS (laboratory information management system) to provide the best and user-friendly, yet low-cost laboratory user interface and data management.