Engineering & Mining Journal




Process Control Training—Simulators Are Only Half the Story

By: PERFORMANCE ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL Views: 536Downloads: 11
Author: Performance Associates International, Inc.Whitepaper/Case Study

With reference to greenfield plant projects, using process simulators similar to the designed plant Human-Machine Interface (HMI) or Distributed Control System (DCS) has become common practice. These simulators represent a “virtual plant” based on process modeling of the circuit chemistry and thermodynamics, and on the physical nature of the plant, including equipment, valves, piping, etc. The virtual plant allows trainees to troubleshoot problems, optimize process variables, react to alarms, etc., all based on the process simulation model.  Performance Associates’ experience is that this complex simulator training is valuable, but only after more in-depth training on the process and control logic. To truly optimize a process plant, prior to simulator training, the control room operators must have detailed knowledge of the following:Process objective of each process system, comprising a group of unit operations.Process objective of each unit operation.Process chemistry and the variables affecting it.Important characteristics of each unit operation, the variables affecting it, and the impact on downstream unit operations.Plant control loops, interlocks, and alarms.Safety issues related to the process and control schemes.Operating procedures for start-up and shutdown under various scenarios, as well as important operator tasks.Additionally, trainees must be intimately familiar with the applicable fundamental scientific concepts, such as pressure, temperature, heat exchangers, electricity, PID control logic, combustion, etc. With this fundamental and plant-specific foundation, the process simulator can be fully exploited for training. 

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