Yokogawa Electric Corporation and Shell have jointly developed Platform for Advanced Control and Estimation, a software suite that speeds up and simplifies the process of designing, deploying, and maintaining advanced process control applications.
This software suite brings together the advanced process control technology that Shell has acquired by operating its plants and the real-time control technology that Yokogawa has developed as a control system supplier. This product will help companies to improve their productivity. Yokogawa will launch sales of this software suite on June 5, 2015.
Features of This Software Suite
Advanced process control systems improve product yield and reduce energy consumption by not only maintaining process values such as temperature, flow rate, and pressure within a set range but also keeping them as close as possible to their optimal set points. Thus, such systems are increasingly being used in facilities such as refineries, petrochemical plants, chemical plants, and natural gas liquefaction trains. This new software solution simplifies engineering and improves both operability and maintainability.
This software suite brings the following functionality available within the same platform:
- multivariable model predictive control (a function for modelling the dynamic characteristics of plant responses and controlling multiple variables based on model predictions)
- soft sensing (a function for estimating quality in real time based on temperature, flow rate, pressure, and other process values)
- the ability to perform various types of calculations and customise settings.
The major features of this software suite are as follows:
1. Development of rapidly deployable applications
With the identification of dynamic characteristic response models, plant step response tests are typically executed over long periods of time to determine how the manipulation of devices impacts process values. This software suite carries out this work automatically and displays the results as a model robustness rating. Users can then easily choose the optimum model, greatly reducing the amount of time required for engineering. Models can be recreated easily at any time, which helps maintain advanced control applications in their best state and thus minimizes maintenance work.
2. Excellent operability and maintainability
While the monitoring and operation screens for conventional advanced control applications must be created from scratch for a production control system, a hierarchical set of screens are provided as a standard feature with this software suite, simplifying engineering and dramatically improving operability. These include screens for overseeing the entire system, monitoring target process units, and checking controlled variables and KPIs.
In its displays, this software suite has status marks that indicate whether a process is in a healthy or unhealthy state, so operators can know its status at a glance. These marks indicate the result of changes in operating conditions or changes caused by the deterioration of aging facilities. When such changes occur, the models can be recreated to restore productivity.
3. Integrated platform for improved engineering efficiency
When developing an advanced control application, it is necessary to build modules for multivariable model predictive control, soft sensing, the interface with the production control system, calculation, and other functions, and then combine them. With this software suite, these modules can be built and operated from the same platform, improving engineering efficiency.
Commenting on this joint undertaking, Bert Natalicchio, a Shell vice president responsible for engineering and SMART software, said, "Shell has had a long history in gaining significant benefits by the use of advanced process control and we are fully expecting the Platform for Advanced Control and Estimation to take us to a new level of performance in line with our goal of becoming the most competitive and innovative energy company. Advanced process control allows us to manage production, energy efficiency, product quality and waste minimisation in a coordinated and consistent manner. The relationship Shell and Yokogawa have in the advanced process control space leverages the strengths of each company, resulting in state-of-the-art technology solutions."
Satoru Kurosu, a Yokogawa director and executive vice president who heads the Solutions Service Business Headquarters, said, "This software was developed based on Shell's long experience with advanced control technology and Yokogawa's extensive global track record in providing superior control system solutions, and is expected to help our customers achieve dramatic improvements in productivity. We will continue to provide high value-added solutions that ensure sustainable growth for our customers."