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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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Justification

JUSTIFICATION

Q. What is my breakeven and what kind of R.O.I. can I expect from using this technology?

A. EP Monitoring prices the DistillationMizer™ software technology at levels that ensure customers typically break even if only fractions of a percentage reduction in energy consumption is achieved. Customers using our product have reported double digit percentage decreases in energy costs that have attained for them triple digit or greater returns on their investment. We have three Six Sigma studies our customers will allow us to share, indicating an energy reduction of 19.5, 8 and 7%. Other Six Sigma studies have indicated savings in the neighborhood of 5.9%.

Q. Will this system increase yields?

A. Most definitely. Yields will increase as column loading decreases and impurities in the product approach design concentrations. In processes where temperature contributes to polymer formation, yields will also increase as column loading decreases.

Q. Can this system minimize variation in the process?

A. This system has proven to be very effective at minimizing variation in the process. Given identical situations, the system will always make the same suggestion. Requiring board operators to follow those suggestions minimizes variation caused by individual methods and beliefs.

Q. Why can’t a good engineer or board operator do what this system does?

A. This system can simultaneously monitor up to seven distillation columns. On each column, nine operating variables are evaluated against minimum and maximum parameters. With this information, the system searches through symptoms of fourteen different loading scenarios, then makes suggestions for better efficiency. Instrumentation is monitored for conflicts, with appropriate messages provided. The system can also be set up to automatically make suggestions for changes in operating parameters as feed rates and commodities prices change.

Q. Why can’t I just build a system like this “ in-house ” and save the cost of the license?

A. Do you have time? Approximately 9,000 man-hours have been invested in the development of this technology. The size of the file is approximately 5.5 MB. This software has been designed to be user-friendly so what is seen in the graphical user interface can be somewhat misleading . 7,084 logic tests are involved in each decision for a given distillation tower. This system has been proven in plant operation for over 7 years at multiple plant sites with multiple companies.

Q. My operations are running fine. Why should I be interested in your product?

A. People we've talked to freely admit that they over-reflux their columns. We also know this is true from our own personal experience over the years working in chemical and petrochemical plants. With fuel prices ever increasing, more people are looking for ways to save energy costs. Our product does this with next-to-nothing in development time on your part, and with a price that ensures very high returns.

Q. Can this system be set up to adjust operating parameters based on commodities prices or feed rates?

A. Yes. This system can be set up to automatically adjust operating parameters with changing feed rates or commodities prices. This adjustment can be made independently on each stream (overhead or base). The prices of up to eight commodities can be entered into the system. Two can be used to set parameters for the overhead stream and two for the base stream (if necessary). For more information please refer to our demonstrator.

Q. Why can’t the engineer just set up a column to run at optimum conditions and hold that until rates change?

A. If a single individual were to be assigned to monitor a given distillation column 24/7 , optimum conditions could probably be maintained. In the real world such intensive monitoring is hardly ever achieved. DistillationMizer™ was developed for this very reason. It automates the normal monitoring that human experts might do if they were sufficiently available and if were affordable to engage them in intensive process monitoring. There are fluctuations that occur in column operations involving changes in feed rates, feed composition, ambient temperatures, prices for fuel and materials separated in the column , and so forth . In addition, inefficient moves are made in process operations in response to any or all of these potential fluctuations and over time departure from optimum operations inevitably occurs. DistillationMizer™ stands watch over distillation columns and keeps prompting energy efficient moves in order to save your company money round the clock.

Q. I already have an Advanced Process Control system. How can your system benefit me?

A. It depends on which APC system you have. Most are designed primarily to maintain consistency in the process (from a quality standpoint) but fall short when expected to optimize the process. This system was designed primarily to cut energy usage. Our system can work alongside your existing APC system to provide more efficient operations. Suggestions are provided for adjustments to overhead and base composition targets based on varying feed rates and commodities prices. The system can also be set up to monitor settings on internal constraints within the APC itself. Instrumentation and analyzers can be checked for accuracy as well.

Q. Why should I waste money installing this system on reboilers with a duty of 5 or 10 MM BTU/hr?

A. With our current pricing model based on the design reboiler duty (pay less for small columns and more for larger columns), our customers often find that even on towers as small as 5 MM BTU/hr the software pays for itself in less than 3 or 4 months. Interestingly, we have seen some of the greatest energy savings on smaller users. Human nature tends to place the greatest importance on the larger users, leaving the smaller unattended.

Q. Why use Excel (why not have the DCS perform this function)?

A. The typical DCS is not designed to wade through complicated strings of logic, whereas Microsoft® has spent years developing Excel to efficiently perform complex logic tests and complete virtually unlimited calculations quickly (why “reinvent the wheel”?).

 

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