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Advantages of chemical manufacturing process simulation

Fred Hencken,
Process simulation software systems offer chemical manufacturers many benefits

Process simulation software systems provide several advantages to chemical manufacturing companies to optimize chemical processes and increase productivity.

Process simulation software is used to model physical systems using a combination of thermodynamic models, unit operation models, and empirical chemical data. These systems offer key advantages to chemical manufacturing facilities:

  • Reduced risk: The systems emulate complex processes and predict system performance without risk to valuable process equipment or upsets in plant operations and production activities.
  • Improved efficiency: The systems identify inefficiencies in the chemical process for which corrective actions would, for example, increase production, reduce consumption of chemicals, or reduce rejected product volumes.
  • Increased safety: The systems increase process safety by using process models to emulate multiple process upset conditions and predict system responses to those conditions. This allows facilities to identify potential risks ahead of time and proactively design safety systems.

As an example, OBG recently designed a solution using process simulation software, which provided these advantages for a chemical manufacturing company.

Converting dated mass and energy balance to new process simulation model

A major chemical manufacturing facility producing bisulfite chemicals needed an updated mass and energy balance to reflect current plant operations. The existing mass and energy balance for the chemical process was an Excel- and Mathcad-based calculation initially developed decades ago. This mass and energy balance was not user-friendly, nor easy to update.

OBG converted the prior mass and energy balance to a process simulation model in CHEMCAD, a process simulator, and verified the model’s performance against the existing mass and energy balance. The new model allowed the chemical company to better understand their process and easily identify inefficiencies and improvements.

For the first time, this company could use a model to easily test numerous process changes and improvements and understand its system performance before adjusting the process equipment. The company could also now simulate a variety of process upset conditions and proactively avoid potentially unsafe operations.

The use of process simulation software is a distinct advantage for today’s chemical manufacturers, large or small, to reduce risk, improve efficiency, and increase safety.

The same benefits apply to older and newer process systems, allowing chemical companies to identify process inefficiencies, test process modifications with no risk, and simulate upset conditions so that proper safety systems are employed.

About Fred Hencken: Fred Hencken has six years of professional experience in the design and analysis of chemical manufacturing and industrial wastewater systems for a variety of clients. He specializes in the simulation of new and existing processes.

Fred Hencken
(484) 804-7215