Case 8: Chemicals manufacturing facility at Vapi Gujarat

Simulation of continuous distillation columns

Situation:

A chemicals manufacturing company was in the phase of modernising its 25 year old plant. The current
train of distillation columns were not performing optimally leading to problems of high steam
consumption and slippage of high boilers with the top distillate. This led to significant downstream
processing and high operational costs for the facility.

Approach:

Panorama was of the view that the column operation could be improved significantly with changes in
the operational parameters of the column. We adopted a simulation based approach for determining
the appropriate changes.

The following steps were undertaken:

  • Collecting on- site data
  • On site interaction with plant supervisors and managers for understanding the process details
  • Interacting with the plant operators for understanding the operational problems faced on a day to day basis
  • Understanding from the maintenance point of view, what are the critical instruments that participate in controlling the process parameters
  • Simulating each column using the actual site data collected

Result:

  • Improved the performance of all columns taking into consideration the available utilities
  • Rectified and stabilized the operational parameters by inclusion of necessary instruments
  • Reduced the steam consumption over 170 kg/hr by changing operational parameters
  • Improved the composition of key component from 94 % to 97 %
  • Reduced the composition of high boilers in distillate composition to minimum