Process Control

Apply ceramic coatings to extend radiant tube life in process heaters

Bacon, J., IGS-Cetek

Process tubes in refining applications are typically steel alloy (ASTM A335 P22, P5 or P9), which contain 2.25%, 5% and 9% Cr, respectively. These grades oxidize at operating temperatures, and scale will grow continuously on the surface, often reaching 2 mm in thickness in higher-temperature/high-heat-flux units. The layers of scale are very insulating and represent a significant barrier to conductive heat transfer to the process.

Managing dark data and visualizing your digital twin

Today’s tools are often specialized for a certain type of task; however, they often lack the connectivity that would enable the easy comparison and cross-reference of asset information. Engineering tools are well suited for design and build phases, but may be less suited for use in operations and maintenance.

Five key innovation concepts to impact frontline engineers in 2020

McIntee, A., KBC, a Yokogawa Company; Finnan, K., Yokogawa Corp. of America

Gas processing, liquefaction, oil refining, bulk petrochemicals and chemicals plants represent a large population of frontline engineers and technical managers. Their professional lives will become increasingly impacted by the growing adoption of disruptive digital technologies and digital platforms.

Industry Perspectives: The Main Column—Hydrocarbon Processing's new podcast series

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

In December 2019, Hydrocarbon Processing's launched its new podcast series: The Main Column. The podcast series will feature the latest in hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) trends, technology developments, engineering and operations.

Editorial Comment: Adopting digital technologies to enhance operations

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

What is the future of refining and petrochemical operations? One trend that has been the focus of many articles, whitepapers and conference presentations is the digital transformation of the hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI).

Cybersecurity visibility and resilience: Keys to protecting HSE/margins in operations

Garibi, C., Siemens Oil and Gas

As digitalization accelerates in today’s downstream refining and petrochemical facilities, operators need to stay ahead of ever-growing cyber vulnerabilities in the operational technology (OT) layer—prime targets for threat actors—that may not be covered by traditional IT safeguards. Unfortunately, too often, that is not the case for a variety of reasons.

APC maintenance scheduling—Part 1

Mayo, S. M., Rhinehart, R. R., Madihally, S. V., Oklahoma State University

Advanced process control (APC) projects are supervisory programs that are often thought of as a layer of control above the base regulatory control for a process. The benefits of APC include increased throughput, reduced variation, constraint avoidance, etc., and can be combined to represent a daily economic-equivalent benefit for the application—the same anticipated benefit that led to the justification of the APC installation. Several articles report that after 18 mos–24 mos, more than half of APC installations are performing at either pre-installation levels or have been removed.1,2,3 Although diverse reasons exist for the performance shortfall, a primary reason is that the process characteristics drift from those that generated the controller model.

Optimal gas analysis decisions improve ethylene plant operation

Kamphus, M., McMillen, D., Emerson Automation Solutions

One of the most common and important building blocks in the petrochemical industry is ethylene, constituting a huge and fast-growing worldwide industry. Ethylene is an intermediate chemical used to manufacture many commercial products—approximately 200 MMt will be produced in 2020.

Digital: Technologies are advancing industry beyond alarm management

Hollifield, B., PAS Global

Let’s face it, alarm management is a fully mature body of knowledge. Since the mid-1990s, industry has improved thousands of alarm systems, transforming them from overloaded nuisances to valuable operator tools for abnormal situation detection and response.

Digital: Better maintenance through better data

Eichelberger, N., Accruent

When I talk to professionals in the refining and petrochemical businesses, they are always interested in how new technologies can improve operational efficiency, make plants safer and increase profitability.