The Disciplines

Property Modelling

One of the key changes in process design has come through increasing reliable and publicly available methods and data bases that allow the engineer to model essentially all relevant physico-chemical properties of a vast number of pure components and their mixtures. Currently available data and methods stretch far beyond the initial applications limited mainly to the petrochemical industry into a wide range of chemical, biochemical, mineral, polymer and even nature-based components. With this, processes from chemical application through agricultural, food and environmental processes to a large variety of energy applications can be modeled with sufficient confidence in the simulation results. Our training will establish or augment initial thermodynamic basics to make the trainee confident in using the property methods for their applications. Understanding the various methods from first principles will limit systematic errors in property modeling and provide a basis for venturing into new fields property modeling.

Process Simulation

For many years, process simulation experts were considered the Merlins in their companies, keeping the “secrets” of process simulation to a selected well-experienced few, because simulation results could be so easily misleading if the behavior of the articular simulator was not understood and not taken into consideration to interpret the results. While process simulation is still a challenge that needs to be studied and well-understood, modern world-class simulators have come to an amazing maturity and by now have also conquered the well-known difficulties like convergence and stability issues. As we seek competence for our trainees beyond a selected simulator, we will provide them with essential understanding for each unit operation and its implementation in simulating blocks. Adding knowledge about numerical methods and their peculiarities will further help circumventing difficulties in resolution, convergence and stability. Our training will include a conceptual design of an entire production plant, not just a few unit operations. The plant specifics will be selected as part of our custom-designed curriculum and stretch from chemical through bio-based processes to energy applications. The result will also be the design concept for further work in process and design.

Heat Integration

Starting with commonly used pinch analysis, we are using current tools, like ASPEN Energy Analyzer, to optimize the heat exchanger network. Hereby, the optimization process will be done in detail and not just be left to a software suggested solution. Beyond this, we want to present real life scenarios, where plant modifications are considered and incorporated in the development and optimization process. This provides great insight into the interdependencies of design options and OPEX/CAPEX. In addition, a detailed heat exchanger design will augment the heat integration study and provide insights in the interdependencies between heat integration and heat exchanger design and costing. We incorporate state-of-the-art exchanger design tools and software. Our Atelier infrastructure will help to master this task without the need to overburden the trainee the nitty-gritty details of heat exchanger design.

Utility Planning and Modelling

Beyond a steady-state heat integration study, utility systems modeling is a must in getting insights for a proper utility network design. Incorporating various operation cases, dynamic simulation is a must for this type of design work. We will be using SimSci’s new SimCentral simulation tool to both design and rate utility systems for plants and sites (where applicable).

Plantwide Process Control

Process Control, the control systems strategic design and tuning of control systems in processing plants, require insights into chemical engineering fundamentals, like thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, which are often neglected in the training of control engineers. Our training will enable the engineer to develop their own rule-of-thumb estimates, understand the interdependencies in a physical way and help them to isolate variables though design modifications, where possible. Especially in this field of engineering we find that simple “how-tos” will limit the process engineering design to standard setups and limit the creativity and ingenuity of the engineer to solve challenging control applications. We will thrive on designing control systems ingeniously simple and robust, before venturing with the trainees into advanced process control loops and strategies.

Piping and Instrumentation

Within the design process the development of the P&ID represents the documentation of the current plant design, incorporating not only the process itself, but also the other fields like heat integration, utility system design and certainly the aspects of plant-wide process control. With our Process Engineering Atelier, we provide the necessary framework with codes, standards, templates and catalogs and include a documentation standard of our own. Certainly, company specific documentation standards of our client can also be incorporated in the training. Proper documentation standards and work habits also are part of this training unit to ensure effective communication within the company and towards outside clients and contractors. This may be especially helpful for entry level engineer with little and no experience in engineering documentation and communication.

3D Plant Layout

Laying out a processing plant starting from a rough idea through process development to engineering design is a culminating point for any training curriculum. Finally, numbers, symbols and sketches are put together to a virtual plant that will enhance the imagination of what will be the real-world structure. The actual training outcome, however, lays in the questions that need to be answered and the data that need to be assembled to build the 3D Model. Mechanical insights are combined with operational requirements and safety concerns. All these questions that will be raised make the trainee aware of the challenges he/she or, as in most cases, his/her colleague will be facing when putting together what has been modeled, simulated, calculated and designed in parts. As most larger companies outsource these tasks to companies outside Europe, such awareness of the challenges, but also the insight of the job to be done can mitigate the already challenging task of communicating effectively through language and cultural barriers.

Plant Logistics

As one often neglected field of plant engineering we feel very strong about including the design of logistics infrastructure into our plant design curriculum. Logistical aspects do not only relate to major plant safety issues, but also often affect sizable portions of operating costs in a typical chemical plant, also considering that storage, loading and re-loading, and general materials handling make up a significant part of investment cost. Plant logistics as we see it, however goes far beyond plant design. It also includes important aspects of the final plant operations. Shipment sizing and production scheduling are of major concern for operational managers and dispatchers. With this, training in the field of logistics leads us straight to exposing the trainee to operational issues that will finally have valuable repercussions that feed back to design and layout of the entire plant.

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