June 2004

Special Report: Process/Plant Optimization

Implementing expert online operator advisors

Follow these guidelines for successful projects

Kern, A.G., Tesoro Corp.

Expert systems for process operators first became viable about 10 years ago. The approach at that time was to hire a consultant, purchase special software and engineer a fairly complicated and customized solution. Unfortunately, this combination of new technology, high cost and customized deployment meant that, in most cases, it was difficult to support the system and evolve it as shortcomings and improvements came to light. As a result, most such systems fell into disuse rapidly. At Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura Refinery, expert systems for process operators have been pursued as a technology development topic since 1997. A continuing effort has been made, at each of several stages, to res

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