APC and RTO projects can provide significant economic benefits to an operating company. These projects have the potential to improve operating efficiencies, increase processing capacity, and improve unit operating stability and safety. However, in order to actually achieve these benefits, there are two necessary components: a well-designed and executed controller, and on-going maintenance of the applications.
Maintenance can be performed by two parties:
- In-house resources
- A combination of in-house and external resources
The potential economic difference between a well-executed and maintained application, and an average application, is easily greater than $1,000,000 / year for a typical large process unit. Therefore, it is important to commit the engineering resources necessary to maintain these applications. An effective maintenance program requires expertise as well as resources.
AMT excels in all phases of APC applications, from scoping, to design, to implementation, to controller maintenance. Working as a team with local resources, we can add the expertise (or additional manpower) required to supplement existing on-site resources.
AMT strongly believes that the performance of advanced control applications can be improved and their economic benefits significantly increased through a partnership with local plant staff. A key factor in maintaining advanced applications is ensuring local personnel have key skills in implementing and maintaining successful controllers.
- AMT provides consulting services and local engineer training in a program designed to enable the refinery or chemical plant to properly support its advanced control and optimization systems.
- On-site consulting is provided to determine the order in which applications should be maintained or re-engineered (i.e. triage the list of applications) and services provided to lead the refinery or chemical plant team in this work.
- Routine site visits are made to provide on-site expertise and to regularly review application performance first hand.
- Remote support is provided via email, telephone, and remote conferencing and application sharing technologies.
It is quickly evident that an APC application without maintenance can lose significant benefits over its lifespan. However, this money can be easily recovered through a maintenance program that pays for itself over the first few months of service.