Solving Customer Challenges

One Step Forward…, Two Steps Back!

When a leading composite materials company worked to improve the performance of key processes, the downstream impact of their handiwork consistently proved to be anything but optimal. Each change had a ripple effect. Among them was increased variability in the performance of other critical process loops. The plant’s traditional performance metrics focused narrowly on production output. With so many control loops it was nearly impossible for engineering staff to stay on top of the issues let alone isolate the associated root-causes.  With a need for better insight into plant-wide control loop performance, they turned to PlantESP.

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Do Process Disturbances Upset Your Profits?

As a member company of a worldwide group leader in cement production, Essroc Italcementi Group understands that process disturbances have a direct and negative impact on profitability. Disturbances oftentimes result in inconsistent production quality and reduced throughput. What’s more, disturbances can cause staff to operate control systems in manual mode rather than automatic. That places additional strain on a plant’s resources and reduces its overall efficiency.

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Are Your Advanced Controls Full Of Hot Air?

In the highly competitive world of process manufacturing even the cost of steam can be an important financial consideration.  Although only a source of low-density energy, waste steam is virtually free as it’s collected from other industrial processes across the production environment.  Compared to the typical cost of steam production, waste steam comes at a fraction of the cost of producing intermediate steam and can prove a valuable contributor to profitable plant operations.

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Are Slow Cycle Times Eating Your Profits?

Although not a financial services company, Evonik Industries fully appreciates the time value of money.  That’s especially true in terms of how the company manages the cycle time of its batch processes.  A long cycle time often corresponds with erratic control.  Evonik sees an opportunity for improvement through leveraging Control Station’s LOOP-PRO PID tuning technologies to improve control and to strengthen bottom-line financial performance.

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Is Process Drift Fueling Inefficiency At Your Plant?

In the highly competitive market for alternative fuels, Glacial Lakes Energy LLC understands that inefficient processes can have a negative effect on plant profitability.  Drifting processes hinder quality and reduce throughput.  Additionally, the inability to control production within tolerances often demands greater energy consumption.  Such inefficiencies put a manufacturer at a distinct disadvantage, especially when the competition includes “Big Oil”.

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A Stable Desuperheater Is Super Profitable!

Basin Electric Power Cooperative is a regional power generation and transmission company that services nine of the US’s plain states.  As a consumer-owned cooperative, Basin Electric provides critical utility services to small communities too numerous to count. Like others in the power sector, Basin Electric is constantly on the watch for innovative ways of making a profit.  In one of their more recent moves, Basin Electric looked to Control Station’s process optimization technologies and seized an opportunity to improve key production processes.

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Can You Cope With The Pressure?

As global demand for oil continues to rise upstream energy producers find themselves under increasing pressure to retrieve crude from existing, proved reserves.  Traditional sub-surface oil recovery methods that are most effective at first “tap” become less productive over time.  Retrieval rates drop as wells are depleted, and producers are consistently tasked with finding new ways to reach deeper – such as water injection.

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Is Poor Control Wearing You Out?

In the power industry, the cost of replacing a single pump can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in terms of new equipment cost, manpower, and system downtime.  Changes to certain processes – if abrupt – can shave years off the expected life of valuable power production equipment.  Even small variances in process stability shorten the Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) for most process instrumentation.  At such a high cost, it’s understandable when plants manager worry about wear and tear on their production equipment.

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Enhancing Heat Rate – One Loop At A Time!

Optimizing heat rate is a critical success factor for most coal-fired power plants.  Too little heat and the plant wastes the energy produced from bituminous coal and other costly production inputs.  Too much heat and safety is put at risk – both the safety of production staff and of the plant’s production assets.  Although optimizing a power plant’s injection water systems does not result in obvious financial gains, it plays an important role.  Little improvements have a way of adding up to something big.  When looking for ways of improving its heat rate, a large mid-American power company put Control Station’s LOOP-PRO to work on lots of seemingly insignificant systems including the injection water system.

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Can Your Process Handle The Pressure?

Phenol is a vital raw material in the production of high-impact resins that are used in construction, transportation and other industries.  Located along the Ohio River, Haverhill Chemicals produces a broad range of chemicals in technologically advanced operations.  The plant includes operations of both phenol and bis-phenol A production units.  When the performance and stability of critical production processes began to erode, engineering staff struggled with answers.

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Are Oscillations Making Your Process All Wet?

It’s said that too much of a good thing is a bad thing.  A leading oil and gas producer learned that too much variability in their gas pre-heater was negatively impacting the platform’s profitability.  Unable to consistently control the process’ moisture content, this producer was forced to absorb the higher costs or be at risk of raising the moisture level to a point where downstream combustion processes failed. The choices were simple: Either continue to waste resources during pre-heat unnecessarily, or take control of the situation.

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Feed Your Way To Consistent Product Quality!

Typically, Mill Feeders aren’t the first thing that come to mind when looking for performance improvements at a cement mill, especially at one with annual capacity of four million tons.  But it was one area where engineers at a leading cement manufacturer looked when digging deep for productivity enhancements.  The Feeders are located at the start of the mill’s production process – usually a good place to start.

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Wild Is A Good Thing…At The Zoo!

The best time to visit the local zoo is early in the morning around feeding time.  That’s when the animals are out and about, and it’s when they showcase their wild side. Although fun to experience while on vacation, this type of wild behavior is anything but acceptable in a manufacturing facility.  Wild is unstable and unsafe.  It’s unprofitable.

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Are Your Tunings Refined?

A leading petrochemical company faced a dilemma with power generation at one of their refineries.  Oscillation in a critical steam flow loop persisted in spite of relentless efforts to stabilize it.  The loop was vital to one of the refinery’s distillation columns and its inefficiency was resulting in significant energy loss.  Although refinery staff used multiple software tools to assist with diagnosis and optimization, the loop’s oscillatory behavior prevented those tools from producing an accurate model of the process and thwarted tuning.

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To Master The Kilowatt Master…

Professionals in the process control world understand that “less” can often mean more. That is especially true when referring to reduced cycling within a given production process.  Reducing oscillations and otherwise tightening constraints around the control objective can present a significant challenge.  It also presents an opportunity to dramatically improve a plant’s profitability.

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