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The performance of the specialty and fine chemicals sector is being shaped by the consolidation of small companies and by the formation of new larger companies seeking to focus on core competencies in commodity chemicals or new biotechnology and related areas.

Specialty Chemical Industry

Specialty chemicals are chemical products which provide a wide variety of effects on which many other industry sectors rely, such as adhesives, agrichemicals, cleaning materials, colors, cosmetic additives, construction chemicals, elastomers, flavors, food additives, fragrances, industrial gases, lubricants, paints, polymers, surfactants, and textile auxiliaries. While commodity chemicals make up most of the production volume in the global marketplace, specialty chemicals make up most of the diversity in commerce at any given time.

Specialty chemicals are usually manufactured in batch chemical plants using batch processing techniques. The batch process most often consists of introducing accurately measured amounts of starting materials into a vessel followed by a series of processes involving mixing, heating, cooling, making more chemical reactions, distillationcrystallization, separation, drying, packaging, taking place at predetermined and scheduled intervals.

It is a consumer-driven sector and as such the specialty chemical industry has to be innovative, entrepreneurial, and consumer-driven.  Therefore, specialty manufacturing units are required to be flexible because the products, raw materials, processes &, operating conditions, and equipment mix may change on a regular basis to respond to the needs of customers.

Fine Chemical Industry

Fine chemicals are complex, single, pure chemical substances, produced in limited quantities in multipurpose plants by multistep batch chemical or biotechnological processes. Fine chemicals are used as starting materials for specialty chemicals, particularly pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and agrochemicals.  The industry is fragmented and extends from small, privately owned companies to divisions of big, diversified chemical enterprises.

Primary Process Control Improvements for Fine Chemical Processes

Prior to any advanced process control (APC) project, even in specialty and fine chemical processes, base-level PID tuning and optimization is a critical pre-requisite step. Unless base-level PID control loops are well tuned, advanced process control (APC) cannot work well, since advanced process control (APC) will be manipulating the setpoints of the base-level PID control loops. Therefore, the first necessary step in the overall process control improvement procedure for specialty and fine chemical processes is PID tuning and optimization of primary or base-level PID controllers.The benefits of PID tuning and optimization in specialty and fine chemical unit is the reduction of the oscillation amplitude or increase of the controller action by a factor of 2 or 3. This allows to enable smoother running of the specialty and fine chemical plant with increased stability in all control loops avoiding unnecessary specialty and fine chemical plant problems such as: damage and/or to fast wear and tear of the equipment, plant irregular shutdowns or off spec product properties and/or grades.

PiControl Solutions LLC has experience in PID tuning and optimization for specialty and fine chemical controllers in the fine and specialty chemical industry. We understand and know how to tackle with typical PID control loop problems and have customized PID tuning and optimization software tools to help optimize all specialty and fine chemical unit, controllers. Our unique and novel closed-loop system identification technology makes it possible to tune and optimize base-level PID control loops quickly, efficiently and precisely. With our closed-loop technology, we can perform system identification and PID tuning optimization of the following critical base-level PID controllers easily. Moreover, all process and data analysis and PID tuning and optimization work can be easily performed remotely by PiControl Solutions LLC process control engineers.

Advanced Process Control (APC) Improvements for Fine Chemical Processes

PiControl Solutions LLC has experience in advanced process control optimization for specialty and fine chemical industry.

We understand the economics factors that drive the profit margin and have customized multivariable closed-loop system identification and advanced process control (APC) design and optimization tools to help optimize and improve the specialty and fine chemical units.

Because of the relatively small size of many specialty and fine chemical plants, it is more cost-effective to implement DCS-based APC (advanced process control) rather than model predictive control (MPC) techniques.DCS-based APC (advanced process control) approach is fast, cost effective, all inside the existing DCS/PLC, avoiding the complications of OPC/other data communication links from computer to DCS.

Specialty and fine chemical facilities can have many different process and process control configurations. We focus to analyze the process and provide the right economic advanced control solution for each specialty and fine chemical plant. Our DCS-based APC (advanced process control) methodology has proven particularly successful in this specialty and fine chemical area. Our DCS-based APC (advanced process control) design will result in the following specialty and fine chemical benefits:

  1. Optimization to reduce/eliminate oscillations and to improve the control quality of the primary controls.
  2. Process control quality monitoring, reporting and control parameter adjustments.
  3. Online oscillation detection, operator alerts, adaptive control action and automatic control parameter adjustments.
  4. Sequence control for product grade transitions and for planned changes in process conditions.
  5. Auto-adaptive control for compensating for process and equipment nonlinearities and also those caused by different raw materials/catalysts and process conditions.
  6. Operator advisory to provide smart messaging and support.
  7. OPC communications and signal validation for online analyzers, compressors, fast data logging and monitoring and to assist a host of related applications.
  8. Advanced LIMS (laboratory information management system) to provide the best and user-friendly, yet low-cost laboratory user interface and data management.

Our DCS-based APC (advanced process control) technology works on all types of specialty and fine chemical processes. For specialty and fine chemical units, we ensured 2 – 4% increase in profits.  There are other benefits from our DCS-based APC (advanced process control) technology, such as: smoother plant operation, automated loading and unloading and less work for the operators.

After all DCS work on advanced process control (APC) schemes is complete and all advanced process control (APC) parameters are calculated and optimized, PiControl Solutions LLC will over factory acceptance test (FAT) make sure that the advanced process control (APC) design is complete, correct and operable.  After completion of process control (APC) control project, PiControl Solutions LLC will conduct dedicated process control training for specialty and fine chemical company.

PiControl is an innovative process control software and services company that offers state of-the art, modern solutions at a lower cost, implemented in shorter time compared to competitors.

PiControl Solutions is the only process control and automation company in the world which can perform any advanced process control (APC) project completely remotely. Nowadays, every country uses high speed and reliable internet connection and with a help of medium to high resolution cheap web-cameras or even over widely used remote meeting and screen sharing applications it is possible to do complete design, tuning and optimization, FAT test and start-up of any advanced process control project. Over this low cost online/remote approach huge travel and accommodation costs can be saved and human health and safety can be kept on the high level.

For more information and details, please send us an email: [email protected] or call the Tel: (832)495-6436.