How is the use of simulation changing to enhance plant operations?

March 19, 2018 Tim Shire, New Solution Strategy and Launch

The time-scales over which simulation has been applied are generally shortening. Traditionally simulation has been used heavily for designs and revamps, but this only occurs occasionally. Simulation use has expanded to include keeping LP models updated, typically on a monthly cycle, monitoring unit and equipment health, and optimization of operations. These additional uses move simulation use closer to real-time, and requires automated operation with limited supervision and intervention.

Real-time optimization applications unlock additional value by maximizing the operation of the unit, but may also lead to an additional set of simulation challenges, including;

  • Data quality – Wrong data input will provide poor results
  • Model maintenance – Maintaining good simulation models requires robust maintenance procedures just like any other piece of plant equipment
  • Work processes – If a model is being used, maintained and acted upon there needs to be formal work processes to codify these actions

In the past, addressing these challenges has relied heavily on the skills of simulation users, and voluntary adoption of good practices and collaboration. This has led to a wide variation in the efficacy of simulation use in industry. Increasingly though, simulation technology itself is now being designed to address these issues.

In order to get the most out of simulation technology, it’s vital any issues with data quality and model performance are addressed in order to provide consistent, dependable results that add value. For organizations struggling with a lack of personnel or limited simulation skills, the cloud now offers potential for remote experts (either from other company sites/HQ, or from the software supplier) to supervise, validate and update the models, ensuring the results are always correct. If current challenges are addressed by plants, the resulting always-correct digital twins, connected to real-time data, can be more easily integrated into business processes and decision support tools. Ultimately, this will automate analysis procedures, freeing up engineer bandwidth from firefighting and data processing to do more proactive forecasting and optimization, for more profitable ways of working

Share this

Related blog posts


The big three questions to the Head of Asset and Digital Transformation

Jan 28, 2020

Jon Allwood, Head of Asset and Digital Transformation

When speaking to leaders in the energy and chemical industry there are three questions that define the conversation. They are keen to know the challenges of digitalization, what's the most disruptive change and what's new. Our Head of Asset and Digital Transformation gives his view.

Read full article

Are you lagging or leading?

Feb 23, 2017

Jerry Isch

Effective workplace safety programs measure behaviors and activities both before and after incidents or accidents occur.

Read full article

How are big data and cloud technologies shaping future careers in the energy and chemical industry?

Oct 26, 2017

Duncan Micklem, Strategy Director

The speed of business has been rapidly re-writing the job description of an engineer in the oil and gas industry in recent years. The world is becoming more and more short-term oriented. The proliferation of big data being transmitted in real-time at ever rising velocities has compressed the timelines for decision-making. The pressure to deliver immediate results in terms of safe, reliable and profitable operations has intensified.

Read full article

Get the latest updates from KBC

Sign up to our newsletter to receive our latest innovations, viewpoints and be informed about any upcoming events.