February 2017

Process Optimization

Performance testing: The key to successful revamps

Process unit revamps often do not result in a refiner achieving its desired objectives. This is typically not the result of mechanical defects with process equipment.

Lieberman, N., Process Improvement Engineering

Process unit revamps often do not result in a refiner achieving its desired objectives. This is typically not the result of mechanical defects with process equipment. More commonly, errors are made in the process design phase of the project, even though the processes, such as crude and vacuum distillation, delayed coking, fluid catalytic cracking and visbreaking, have not changed in any fundamental way in decades. After 50 years of revamping refinery process units, the author has found that the key elements in producing a process engineering design that successfully achieves the refiner’s objectives are: Relying on prototypes Conducting a unit performance test Recognizing the limits of

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