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Emerson enhances blend solution to help refiners optimize in-line blending units

Emerson Process Management announces a new release of SmartProcess Blend which incorporates a new Blend Order Management System as well as an enhanced on-line and off-line optimizer for control of continuous in-line blenders. Emerson’s SmartProcess Blend package is a complete, integrated suite of applications native to the standard DeltaV™ distributed control system (DCS). Simplified implementation and ease-of-use are key features of SmartProcess Blend system.

“Blending is critical to refinery profitability,” commented Marcelo Carugo, global refining industry lead for Emerson. “Planners try to maximize the most valuable blends from available components. The problem comes when the components you’re using are not what you expected them to be, so the planned recipe will produce off-spec products and adjustments must be made on-line during the blending process.  Furthermore, equipment downtime and human error can lead to off-spec product that requires re-blending and further derails the production schedule and increases costs.”

“Schedulers provide some margin for unplanned events but blending is often too complex to determine the optimal corrective action manually,” continued Mr. Carugo. “What you consume in the current blend affects what you have available for the next one, so deviating too far from the planned recipe can have big penalties.  In addition, when correcting an off-spec blend, operators tend to play safe and overcompensate, creating quality giveaways and suboptimum blends utilizing more of the expensive blend stocks.”

The new SmartProcess Blend Order Management application provides a multi-language, web-based user interface to link the refinery’s blend schedulers to the blend operators. Planners and operators are able to view a blend order, test it with current data and run the off-line optimizer from the Order Management tool.  Using the DeltaV DCS environment, operators can review approved orders, select one for execution and automatically run that blend using closed-loop optimizer control.

The new SmartProcessBlend Optimizer applies closed-loop optimization to the blend control process.  Using non-linear blend models combined with on-line analyzers, an optimizer continuously calculates the optimum ratios that make the batch on-spec at the lowest possible cost or as defined by user-defined penalty functions. Penalties can be set based on component cost, deviation from planned recipes, and/or deviation from target qualities.

SmartProcessBlend manages the lifecycle of a blend, from planning and scheduling, to optimization, to on-line control of the final blend properties. The system is designed as a set of generic templates that are configured to meet the specific refinery’s blending needs. The system is capable of handling complex blending requirements such as those required for reformulated gasoline – with multiple headers, up to 25 components and up to 25 quality specifications. It can also be used for simple, recipe-based ratio blending like asphalt with fewer components and quality specifications.

SmartProcess Blend can be combined with Emerson’s expert blending consultancy to provide a turnkey solution that ensures optimal use of available components and tank rationalization - maximizing profit for both greenfield or existing refinery blending units. Emerson’s turnkey capabilities include design, construction, and installation of fully instrumented, skid-mounted in-line blenders, analyzer houses and sample systems.

Emerson’s broad range of flow meters, vibration, temperature and pressure transmitters, radar level gauges, and valves complement the SmartProcess system to provide an easy standardized path to integrated turnkey blending solutions.

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