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    Process Control and Instrumentation

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    Refineries and petrochemical units of late have been placed under increasing uncertainties/volatility in feed supply and end product markets. Barring a few “well head” refineries, which process mostly same quality of crude throughout the year, the rest process a wide variety of crude oils. For example, the API of the crude supplies to a refinery varies from 19 to 40 and the sulfur content from 0.1 to 4.7 wt %. Moreover, the cracker plants of petrochemical complexes procure naphtha from different parts of the world that varies in ratio and total paraffin content. On the other hand, downstream processing is becoming very stringent, with refiners required to cater to different grades of fuels; for example, diesel varying in sulfur content from 10 to 5000 ppm, gasoline with different octane ratings, etc. The hydroprocessing industry does this job routinely by producing market-sensitive products from different qualities of feed on any given day. This is an inevitable but “perfect” balancing act. Automation of manufacturing plants, DBN (Debottlenecking) the units to operate them at their maximum capacities, operating processes, and machinery at respective “best and safe operating zones” are essential ingredients to cope with market volatility and realize maximum profits. This is possible only when various instruments that are used for measuring process variables, which are in turn used for controlling the processes, are accurate, precise, reliable, and robust enough within the operating horizon of the manufacturing process. The developments in process control and instrumentation, leveraging computing advancements over years, have made it feasible. In other words, the level of “process maturity” has been raised to a newer benchmark with error-free, self-diagnostic, predictive, and adaptive controls having an elegant man-machine interface.


    Dependent variable, independent variable, manipulated variable, primary element, controller, final control element, advanced process control, near infrared, distributed control system, process alarm management

    Author Information:

    Raman, L.
    Reliance Industries, Ltd., Gujarat

    Murthy, N. S.
    Reliance Industries, Ltd., Gujarat

    Committee/Subcommittee: D02.04

    DOI: 10.1520/MNL5820131212614