Could rethinking process engineering boost your competitive edge?

Imagine if process engineers in your organisation had more time to innovate and tackle complex problems, using the right tools. How far could you go?

Posted: March 12, 2019

Engineer, Procure, Construct

Could rethinking process engineering boost your competitive edge?

In times of fierce global competition, changes in demand and commodity costs, the process industries are increasingly looking to Digital Transformation to increase agility and efficiency. This is especially prominent in the Chemicals and Petrochemicals industry where 92% believe their organisation will be left behind by the competition if they do not digitalise, and 83% consider plant digitalisation top or high priority1

While this space is full of Digital Transformation stories from Predictive Maintenance, to Mobile Working and Computational Chemistry, one area in particular stands out as a key opportunity - the Digital Transformation of the process lifecycle and process engineering.

Understanding and managing your process well will ensure that you can cut cost by being more efficient with your energy consumption and feedstocks, ensure that your products are on spec and help you minimise plant downtime.  It is also key for process innovation and gaining a competitive edge. It is not surprising that our digital eyes are now turning this way, with the chemical giants taking the lead.

A company that is already ahead of the curve in this space is Covestro, one of the world's largest specialty polymer companies. In their organisation-wide Digital Transformation program, Digital@Covestro, process engineering plays a key role.  

Covestro implements a unified platform for process engineering to boost innovation

The benefits of process simulation to the organisation are well known in terms of process design, efficiency, safety and operations. However, despite their digital nature, many process simulation tools are not well equipped to support Digital Transformation programmes and emerging Digital Twins. Often, different process engineering and simulation tools are used by different teams across the process lifecycle. 

Without easy and automated information transfer between tools, process engineers end up spending a large portion of their time re-creating flowsheets and transferring process information from one stage to another and across multiple teams (see Figure 1 below). By working in these process engineering silos the overall benefits of Digital Transformation such as increased efficiency, innovation and reduced errors and delays cannot be fully realised.

the process simulation lifecycle from Covestro

Figure 1: The different stages of the process lifecycle supported by process simulation

This is changing at Covestro where rethinking process engineering is part of its Digital Transformation journey. As a result, Covestro is consolidating the multitude of engineering tools used by engineers across the plant lifecycle onto a single, unified platform, AVEVA's SimCentral Simulation Platform, creating efficiency and a reduction of manual transfer of information between one tool to another.

The time saved in this streamlined process enables process engineers to focus more on innovation, improvement and finding intelligent solutions to complex problems, generating further competitive advantage for the organisation.

If you would like to learn more about Covestro's Digital Transformation of process engineering, how the use of AVEVA's SimCentral Simulation Platform helped support their journey and how they are already benefiting from their new system, watch the Hydrocarbon Processing webinar with Dr. Jochen Steimel and Dr. Konrad Triebeneck from Covestro here.

Covestro_process_simulation_webinar

 1. Vanson Bourne, AVEVA, Digitalisation in Chemicals and Petrochemicals, 2017

author
Written By
Rebecca Elgebrandt

Rebecca Elgebrandt is leading portfolio marketing for AVEVA’s Engineering business. With a combined Chemical Engineering and Marketing background Rebecca has over 10 years’ experience in engineering software for the process industries. She is passionate about supporting organisations in their digital transformation journeys to realise the hidden value of their engineering information and maximizing the profitability of their capital projects and operations.

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