The reason a refinery invests in analyzers is to provide precise measurements that can be used to better control the process, thereby reducing process variability and, ultimately cost. There are many measurements taken now, but often the quality of those measurements is questioned, which reduces the instrument’s effectiveness as a prime contributor to reliable control. There are two issues here. One is the issue of precision; the second is the filtering of all the data to extract the information content (effective drinking from the fire hose). Computer firepower is clearly capable of the task and chemometrics software is designed to do the algorithmic heavy lifting and has been well-proven in laboratory settings.
We work to expand the use of chemometrics, particularly as part of the maintenance and reliability challenges for multivariate process analyzers (gas chromatographs and spectrometers). In some cases, our purpose is to demonstrate feasibility and effectiveness of a particular instrument or technology to provide robust answers in a timely manner. More often, we are called on to make an existing instrument more robust and to identify the best means and priorities of implementation. The eventual purpose is to monitor the health of process instruments in real time and to schedule the maintenance of all instruments in the system based on projected downtime.
In this activity, we seek to use as much of the existing company structure as possible fitting in with legacy analyzers, computer systems and historians. The concept is not full revolution, but rather intelligent evolution. Key features and areas of impact would be:
- Improvement to facility and global asset maintenance.
- Decrease in per-instrument analyzer technician time leading to a significant lowering of costs through predictive, service scheduling.
- A corresponding improvement in process availability by both fully-utilizing and minimizing downtimes.
- The ability to centralize maintenance of analytical equipment and automate the access to centralized company expertise.
In addition, the gains in precision add to the bottom line. Given that 8% of a crude oil is consumed as energy in the refining process, a relatively small improvement in efficiency translates into a sizeable savings: working smarter with less.
Infometrix is the leader in chemometric solutions for the refining and chemical manufacturing industry. Please give us a call to discuss your needs.