Products Enero Simulations First-Principles Dynamic Simulations

Developing a first-principle simulation requires a thorough understanding of engineering fundamentals and a wealth of experience:

  • Without proper understanding of process fundamentals, the equations representing the process might be inaccurate
  • Simulation validation allows Enero engineering consultants to judge when shortcuts should be taken or avoided
  • Certain processes involving the presence of compressible gases (steam, air, flue gas) are harder to simulate because they are prone to numerical instabilities and require the expertise that comes with first-hand experience of difficult simulation problems which Enero Solutions possesses

Enero’s first-principle simulators are based on rigorous mathematical representations of real process units and fundamental engineering theories:

  • Heat Balances
  • Mass Balances
  • Heat and Mass Transfer Processes

Thousands of blocks with multiples of non-linear differential equations are often necessary to represent a real process unit. These non-linear differential equations are solved simultaneously using numerical analysis techniques. 
Enero Simulators are commonly used for the following needs:

  • Engineering Simulators
  • Advanced and Regulatory Design and Process Control Testing
  • Training Simulators

Engineering Simulators

A process simulator is a critical tool for evaluating the characteristics of a plant; it is also the best and most cost effective method of evaluating plant behavior (during the design phase) under upset conditions such as a plant trip. Simulators can uncover issues such as:

  • The engineering group might have made assumptions about certain process characteristics and these were found to be invalid
  • Piping characteristics are often disregarded in less rigorous simulations yet it is well-known that these might have an impact on processes

Benefits and Advantages

    • Power plants or large manufacturing plants can easily justify the cost of a process simulation when compared to the cost of even just one unplanned plant outage.
    • Simulation can be used as a tool to evaluate the dynamic capabilities and the level of control of a process during the design phase of a new plant. What-if scenarios can be studied at a minimal cost and with minimum risk.
    • The loss of skilled operators reduces the capability of a plant to identify production problems.  An engineering simulation is an effective tool for assisting in root cause analysis work.

Advanced and Regulatory Process Control Design and Testing

Dynamic simulation is an effective tool for designing, troubleshooting and tuning advanced and regulatory control logic prior to downloading the final code in the plant DCS or PLC.
Continuous improvement and maintenance of APC packages is made easier by using a simulated process to recreate problem events, comparing the simulated response to the process data provided by the plant historian.

Enero Solutions first-principles simulation enables us to better understand the specific process dynamics of a unit and to develop Advanced Control algorithms for a specific application. For example, advanced control strategies and tuning parameters engineered by Enero Solutions using first-principle simulations and a process model are so accurate that, in most cases, no tuning or control logic modifications are required during startup.

Two options are available for testing new APC control logic using an Enero Simulator:

  1. The control logic and the virtual plant are both modeled in the same simulation file and process data from the first-principle simulation is trended. Data from the trends is later exported to EXCEL, Word, Notepad or Wordpad.

  2. The virtual plant resides in the simulation program and the control logic resides in the plant DCS. Process data is interfaced to an external control system through an OPC server or Enero’s analog interface. In this scheme, the process variables (PVs) are sent by the Simulator to the DCS and the controller output (CVs) is sent from the DCS to the simulators, as illustrated in the figure below:

 

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Training Simulators

Until the early 1990s, an operator had to manually intervene and operate a process when a large disturbance occurred, during plant startup or during a production change for example. In order to consistently achieve best-in-class plant operation, control systems have evolved into process management systems where control strategies are designed to ensure continuous automatic operation. The operator now monitors the performance of the control system and alerts management of potential improvement opportunities. This is where training simulators play a crucial role:

  • Empowered with a greater understanding of process dynamics and characteristics, plant operators can be more proficient at responding to plant upsets and have improved confidence in startup procedures
  • The loss of skilled operators has an impact on the ability to identify production problems and to respond to large process disturbances. With a simulator, operators can improve their skills at responding to a process upset by opening a pre-defined process event with a different sequence of actions
  • Training operators on virtual processes allows for a faster commissioning process
  • Provides new operators with a thorough training outlining all possible plant upsets. A more knowledgeable operations team means a safer, more reliable and profitable plant, reducing the risk of operator error which could result in process downtime or equipment failure