To develop optimisation tools, a typical flow is based on: (1) feasibility study and analytical tool development (2) shadowing tool development (3) real-time tool development
- Why would you need a shadowing tool? Any 24h/24h industrial process is generally highly reliable. When optimisation results in operator manipulation and transients, the reliability might be affected. A shadowing tool simulates what the optimisation result would be if an operator would decide to follow the optimisation advice. The operator can also choose not to follow the advice. Anyhow, operational management will learn about the process changes and will receive valuable information regarding expected process transients and technical control loops that have an impact. After a certain period (which depends on the process at hand), the data will be analysed and this leads in turn to a reliable assessment of the advantages and disadvantages a real-time tool could bring.
- Shadowing tools predict parameters for optimal process conditions, but do not send signals to control systems. The output of the shadowing tool is made available to process engineers; they can choose to follow the advised parameter changes. A human intervention remains necessary to control the process.
- After some time of shadowing, an evaluation is made regarding the expected optimisation results. The evaluation leads to a conclusion on the feasibility of a real-time tool