For batch processes, comparing between batches to achieve a high degree of consistency has always been a challenge. In a Chemical Processing article, Batch Processing Gets a Boost, Emerson’s Dawn Marruchella shares results from some beta sites where the real-time batch analytics capability is been proven out before the DeltaV version 12 release occurs in 2013.
The field trial results of one of the sites, Lubrizol Rouen, were described earlier in an article, Online Analytics Improves Batch Operations. The update in the most recent article summarized described some specific issues identified:
…including overcoming a plugging problem due to batch-to-batch variations in component densities, and identifying a problem with the reactor cooling system.
Process manufacturer DSM-Martek applied the batch analytics on a DHA nutritional oil process. They were:
…able to make process improvements based on the new data generated by the batch analytics software. For example, engineers analyzed all key control loops within the process and adjusted tuning settings for temperature and dissolved oxygen to enhance process control.
…also found that product quality crucially depended on an interaction among several process parameters, including inoculation conditions, the extent of antifoam addition, and dissolved oxygen level.
Another process manufacturer, MillerCoors, found
…by comparing one line that uses the software with one that doesn’t, the company has identified important control issues with the way a critical feed is being added to the process. It also has found that a trigger initiating a process step led to an overall reduction in line efficiency. Likewise, it was able to pin down the difference in the rate of operation of two similar production units to variations in steam pressure.
The potential savings as their [companies with batch processes] experience grows and batch failures are reduced could be enormous. In a pharmaceutical process, for example, the loss of one chromatography batch could mean tens of millions of dollars…
For more on the techniques applied in batch analytics, see the earlier post, Online Statistical Techniques in Batch Operations.