Every operations manager would like to improve the performance of their asset in a safe manner. You need to steer your plant operation through rapid business changes, and maintain products within the specified targets while always maintaining safe plant conditions. Further optimisation of your operation is not feasible with the current tools, and you know that Advanced Process Control (APC) has been successful in making further improvements in similar processes. How do you go about adopting APC for your facility?
Do you know enough to get started on an APC project at your plant?
The daily activities of an operations manager leave little time for exploring technologies that can further optimise their plant. Like any new technology, much needs to be understood about APC technology. Such as investment amounts, return on investment, and investment risk before considering APC for your plant. To introduce a new technology to the plant, operations managers would need to prove that the technology is well developed, widely applied, and has proven benefits. While a lot of information is available on APC, there would still be many questions that need to be answered before embarking on a journey of APC implementation. Could APC be applied to your plant? What sort of benefits can be achieved? Is there a risk of failure?
“This PID loop has never worked in Automatic”
means that engineers need to investigate the configuration and check.
Take the low-risk approach to APC projects
Many similar questions have been answered by APC consultants over the years, for many different industries. The most convincing argument is for consultants to calculate the potential benefits of an Advanced Process Control (APC) implementation on your plant. This type of benefits calculation could be conducted quickly and to a good level of accuracy. Once the benefit calculation is completed, a return-on-investment calculation can be prepared based on approximate project costs, which can be used to gain project approval. Typical return on investment is in the order of months, sometimes even days. Almost all APC projects are technically feasible and economically attractive.
The benefits are calculated to a high level of confidence and quite often, consultants can guarantee these benefits, minimising or even eliminating investment risk for operating facilities and providing comfort for first-time adopters of APC technology. A pre-APC base case is developed, and a post-audit is conducted after project completion. The post-audit report provides simple and clear calculations showing the achieved benefits, which often exceed guaranteed benefits. The clarity of calculated benefits, return on investment,and the benefit guarantee provided by the consultant ensure that all stakeholders and the consultant have a common target to achieve the guaranteed benefits, making this a low-risk investment.
Guaranteed benefits speed up project approval and early realisation of benefits
There are many competing funding requests at an operating plant. The approach of guaranteed benefits will help your funding request stand out as a worthy, low-risk investment. Providing decision makers clear information on benefits of an APC project and better still, guaranteed benefits, helps speed up decision making. Typically, return on investment of APC projects is very short, this means quick decisions lead to a faster APC implementation and ultimately companies benefit from early realisation of benefits.