EC: ProcessApex 2012
Software - Applications, monitoring: ExperTune's ProcessApex provides real-time diagnostics and advice for process unit operations, based on the expert advice of Greg Shinskey and others. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.
ProcessApex has introduced a new way to monitor plant performance, in real-time. Operators, managers, and engineers can optimize the plant with direct measurements of business-related parameters such as yield, cost per ton, and efficiency. It can be applied to many types of unit operations, such as heat exchangers, distillation columns, dryers, and fired heaters.
ExperTune's latest software offering works by tapping in to the huge amount of data locked up in plant data historians. It then extracts relevant data, then applies the engineering expertise of Greg Shinskey and others. The result is in-depth and highly relevant information about the plant's performance, including specific advice about opportunities to improve plant operation.
The distillation column assessments, for example, monitor the expected parameters, such as energy consumption, mass balance, and yield. ProcessApex goes much further than that, however, by suggesting the optimal control scheme for the distillation column. ProcessApex performs its work with minimal configuration. Also, it recognizes that many plants may not be fully instrumented, and adapts itself so that it can maximize evaluations with the data available.
It also automatically adjusts and compensates for measurements taken in a variety of engineering units, performing the unit conversions as needed. ProcessApex benchmarks performance between within or between plants, with no additional configuration required. It immediately identifies the best and worst performers. ProcessApex is server-based and completely web-driven, with a thin client used for both configuration and reporting.
Dashboards and reports are pre-configured, providing immediate access to the most important process information. Advanced users can customize dashboards and reports without the need for any query tools or scripting languages. The ProcessApex system can also be extended to additional unit operations. The bottom line is that ProcessApex provides business results using real-time engineering evaluations of plant unit operations.
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After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.