ULTRAMAX-Advanced Process Management

 

 

 

Performance:

Optimization means to maximize (or minimize) a Performance Index that reflects an economic (or equivalent), balanced composite of multiple objectives while providing safety from violating Constraints.  The customer places constraints on any variable to represents absolute requirements, capacities, safety, etc.

Ø     ULTRAMAX delivers the highest cumulative process performance of any operations optimization technology today for processes that run sequentially, such as production equipment.  This means highest cumulative profit impact, if those were the objectives.  This means fast optimization and being close to the optimum, even as optimum conditions change due to changes in uncontrolled inputs (for licenses dedicated to a process).  This applies under most practical conditions – unless the process was adjusted optimally at the baseline adjustments. 

Ø     ULTRAMAX gets quickly as close to the optimum as about the noise of the Performance Index and Constraints.  Noise is the variations in outputs for constant inputs, due to unexplained causes. 

Ø     Implementation: It takes about one week to train and plan the optimization strategy.  If the license is dedicated to process and is integrated, it takes about 2 weeks to integrate with DCS.  It takes 2 weeks of regular (old) operations to collect data for the Process Capability Analysis.  Then Production with Sequential Optimization is started.  Noticeable improvements are frequently obtained in about 2 weeks (50 to 200 re-adjustments, or more for very large applications, unless there are problems with the process).  The time to converge to near-optimal operations depends on how far from optimum the optimization was started.  If production performance is still not satisfactory, the method induces plant personnel to discover bottlenecks to be resolved, sometimes noise reduction which calls for the use of engineering solutions such as Six-Sigma.

Features:

1.     ULTRAMAX uses Sequential Empirical Optimization (SEO) technology.  Empirical means that is based on data, not on first-principle engineering models – thus it always represents reality limited in accuracy by the noise.  SEO assimilates operating data as it is generated by the production process.  The information in the data is used immediately to refine knowledge of process behavior characteristics, and from it to determine how to re-adjust the process better.  Unlike classic approaches such as Neural Networks and Design of Experiments, the information is not lying unused until the analysis at the end of data collection.  Therein lies the great efficiency and effectiveness of sequential analysis, especially when imbedded in software with hundreds of applications and many years of experience and development making it superbly reliable.

2.     SEO includes Feed-forward optimization, to provide optimal adjustments that change with the values of (known) uncontrolled inputs such as raw material characteristics, process states (e.g., temperature of cooling water), and environmental conditions.

3.     The Dynamic Optimization features of ULTRAMAX, in addition to Sequential Optimization and Feed-forward optimization, enables frequent changes to the Optimization Plan, including changes in constraints, calculations, etc. to reflect changes in business conditions and changing levels or awareness as to what is truly important.

4.     If the process itself is changed so much that the older data no longer represents how the process behaves today, then old data is simply ignored and a new round of SEO is started.

5.     What-if Analysis gives predicted values and consequent Alerts for exploratory input values.

6.     The current version optimizes steady-states.  This means that for continuous processes, after making adjustments to the control inputs, one has to bypass the transient time and wait for near-steady-state before collecting output operating data.  In steady-state, the outputs are mostly a consequence of the current inputs, and not of older ones.  (There is a Transient option as well.)

7.     There may be variables which are calculated as a function of other variables.  The calculation can be anything that can be programmed.

8.     Graphics: plain data and 3D rotating model depiction: run data, prediction errors,  predicted values, empirical model quality, how close to (local) optimum, etc.

9.     Analysis capability: prediction model equations and dimensionless interpretation, detected effects of the variables on outputs, actual results versus predictions, historical data reports, etc.

10.  Alerts: 15 different process and optimization performance status alerts (notes, warnings and alarms), including run-by-run statistical quality control.

11.  Integration capability: Integrated for automatic data exchange (both ways) with DCS, SCADA in Advisory mode and Closed-Loop mode.

ALSO, Stand-alone mode from an optimization workstation, entering data and making adjustments by hand, useful for engineering and development studies.

12.  Ability to analyze the sensitivity of constraints to evaluate the benefits of moving or removing them, and evaluate associated re-engineering projects.