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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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General

GENERAL

Q. How can I obtain technical support?

A. A “Technical Support” button can be found at the top of most worksheets in this system. Pressing this button takes the user to a Troubleshooting/Technical Support section where solutions to specific problems can be found. A direct link to EP Monitoring’s technical support staff (via email) has also been provided. Technical Support can also be obtained by phone at (281) 585-8724.

Q. Does this system maintain a historical database (so I can tell what happened over the weekend)?

A. Whenever the software updates , an image of the Summary Sheet is stored on the Archive Sheet for later viewing. These images are time stamped so the messages produced by the software over an extended period can be examined. The Archive Sheet will store up to 300 images. Once the limit is reached the oldest one is deleted as each new image is stored.

Q. Under what conditions does the system make changes (how does it “think”)?

A. For specific algorithm refer to the Demonstrator, “Introduction” worksheet, under the heading “Details Of System Algorithm” or use the “Algorithm Details” button provided on the “12D2” worksheet.

Q. How often should the system be updated (collect new data and generate new suggestions)?

A. The system can be updated hourly, daily, or when new samples arrive. For best results, the system should be updated once an hour, and again, any time a decision is needed for a particular operating scenario. The engineer can update the system each morning and press a button on the “Summary” page to print daily instructions for operations if it is his desire to maintain more control of the process. Also, the updating or refreshing of messages can be automated. Procedures are given on the Instructions Sheet to set up the software to automatically update and print messages to the operator at timed intervals.

Q. What if operating parameters change over time?

A. This system can be used as a continuous improvement/learning tool. If conditions change and the engineer realizes the column can be operated with less reflux (for instance) than previously thought, he can decrease the minimum operating limit on reflux. From that point on the new minimum will be considered when making decisions.

Q. Does this system use modeling?

A. Not exactly. This system is a rule-based expert system that simulates what your best distillation expert would do if they could continuously monitor column performance and make recommendations round the clock . This is ordinarily done once a day by engineers or process supervisors if they have time to carefully sort through data and the control board information, in addition to many other responsibilities to which they may be assigned . DistillationMizer does this process monitoring on an ongoing basis for all columns for which it is configured. This frees up engineers and process supervisors to attend to other value adding activities. Thus, DistillationMizer™ is a logic model, not a math model. It does not calculate an optimum setting for a column , based on mechanical specification s of the column and physical properties of the process materials, but hunts for it through a series of successive operating moves directed by a rule-based optimization algorithm. Math models break down when column conditions change, such as end of run conditions , tray damage, etc. A logic based system is viable throughout all normal process life cycle changes.

 

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