performance engineering

The Value of Performance Engineering

What It Means to Push the Boundaries of What’s Possible

November 18, 2019
At AspenTech, when we talk about performance engineering, we talk about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible: Pushing the boundaries of existing concepts, designs and asset constraints to create new higher performing designs and operations. Upstream companies, refineries, chemical plants and EPCs that utilize this approach to accelerate innovation and foster collaboration to simultaneously optimize across multiple dimensions capture unparalleled value. 

At every stage of the engineering lifecycle, from feasibility studies and conceptual design through construction, startup and operations, there are opportunities to innovate, connect people from different parts of the organization to uncover ways to operate more efficiently and effectively, ultimately increasing profits. This cross-disciplinary teamwork that takes a big-picture, integrated approach to optimization delivers superior business results, including reduced CAPEX and OPEX, faster time to market, greater energy efficiency and higher profit margins.  It helps EPCs and owner-operators reach beyond existing boundaries to create higher-performing designs and operations.  

Broader Collaboration Delivers Greater Value

As an example, during conceptual design there are several different design alternatives need to be considered. Typically, a process engineer develops a process alternative using simulation, shares the results with equipment expert who sizes the equipment and shares the information with an estimator. By the time the estimate for the proposed design comes back to the process engineer weeks have passed. The team goes through iterations in a time-consuming sequential path, considering a limited number of alternatives. As a result, organizations lose out on the opportunity to improve the design quality.

In contrast, the concurrent conceptual engineering approach enables process engineers to quickly analyze an alternative for energy, economics, equipment performance while optimizing for maximum yield and ensuring safety and environmental compliance all inside the simulation environment. The specialist disciplines review the options only on exception basis rather than evaluating every alternative. This accelerates the screening of options, increasing the opportunity for better quality design which saves capital and energy, improves safety and environmental impact and maximizes the return on investment.  

Performance Engineering in Action

AspenTech’s performance engineering solution enables concurrent engineering, rapid innovation and collaboration across disciplines to deliver capital savings, optimize equipment and process design and maximize operational performance. Our customers are taking advantage of this solution at all stages for the engineering lifecycle. Here are a few examples of their success: 

Process Development: 
Lubrizol was able to bring a new product to market 18 months ahead of schedule by using integrated modelling to accelerate process development. Dow achieved a 25% reduction on batch cycle time (and a corresponding 25% increase in throughput) by leveraging models and physical properties to improve polymerization production process.

Conceptual Engineering: 
ExxonMobil reduced the time for concept selection from 6-12 months to 3-6 months and brought new upstream projects on stream earlier, delivering millions of dollars in benefits using concurrent conceptual engineering and cost estimation. 
Huntsman saved $50 million USD with NPV10 in energy costs, using a site-wide utilities model and demand side and supply side energy optimization to identify key energy reduction projects.
Air Products captured over $10 million USD in operating cost savings per year by using models to optimize its hydrogen fleet in operations with online models.  

Download the new white paper, Optimize Asset Design and Operations with Performance Engineering, to learn more. 

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