ULTRAMAX-Advanced Process Management

Ultramax® 7.1

© 2006-8, Ultramax Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.  All rights reserved.

UMAX 7.1.doc 1/26/08

Version Ultramax® 7.1 became available August, 2007.

Since its inception, Ultramax has been the superior toolset to optimize the operating performance of a system.

Version UMAX® 7.1 has significant improvements over the previous version (7.0).  Largely it is a continuation of the thrust in 7.0 to greatly simplify – while maintaining or improving all power and features -- the management of optimization studies (projects with an end-point) and of continual applications.  Training is much better now as well. 

The main advances are:

·        Method –Dynamic Optimization with Ultramax, achieved by compensating adjustments for the known values of uncontrolled inputs, has been effective since the ‘80s.     

For version 7.0 one of the big improvements for Dynamic Optimization was the automatic compensation to “component” inputs, which are discrete parts of the process or products, whose activity is defined by plant personnel (e.g., particular sprayers in a tower, caliper of paper, mills used in a boiler). 

For version 7.1 an important simplification for Dynamic Optimization is to resolve how to evaluate gains due to better adjustments when there are concurrent changes in performance due to the changing uncontrolled inputs.  Ultramax continues to need the measurement of the uncontrolled inputs, either directly or by correlated surrogates.  The key new tool is the periodic application of “Triads”, which are a set of three runs: the center one with adjustments at Baseline, and the outside ones with Ultramax SEO adjustments.  Applying Triads occasionally serve to understand two things: (a) how the changes in known or unknown uncontrolled inputs affect performance with adjustments at Baseline; and (b) the improvements due to Ultramax adjustments in comparison to Baseline’s.  Also, there are methods to evaluate the gains of dynamic optimization vs. static optimization of processes with dynamic performance, as illustrated in the self-training Tutorial. 

·        Software 

-       There is a new Tutorial and Discovery three-month License to go through the Tutorial and some small optimizations studies.

-       There are licenses to solve smaller applications to make it more affordable to smaller firms.

-       Automation to apply Triads, visualization of dynamic performance improvements, and statistical calculation of the improvements. 

·        Documentation  --  All licenses include the Tutorial in the form of a Self-Training Manual – a totally new development.

Due to the new advances, we will now work with and support only the new version of Ultramax -- older versions will no longer be supported. 


·        Software (technical)

  1. UMAX has been refined to optimize faster in more challenging process conditions, especially the level of noise as compared to low gradients in performance when there are several dozen inputs. 
  2. Baseline’ is now detected automatically.  Baseline is the first run in the current round of optimization unless overwritten by PAR(3). 
  3. In addition to the button to start a new Optimization Sequence, now there is a button to start implementing automatically a Triad. 
  4. Visualization:  Plotting now supports:

-       The Baseline run data in each triad is now displayed as a single vertical line from the Sequential Empirical Optimization (SEO) run data.  This lets one see clearly both: (a) the improvements of SEO over Baseline, and also (b) the effects of changes in uncontrolled input on the performance with the same Baseline adjustments.

-       Just the Triads to see both the details of the three runs without distraction from the other data. 

-       The Deltas of the Triads to pick up the magnitude and trends of SEO improvements over Baseline. 

-       A “Relative Multivariable Constraint Violation” to visualize general progress in learning how to satisfy several constraints at the same time.  This is simpler than plotting all variables to see which has constraint violations and how the violations of each are sequentially reduced.

  1. Calculations of performance improvements: 

There is a new Comparison statistical analysis to compare constraint satisfaction, and averages, differences and statistical significance for all variables.  There are three forms:

-       Compare two sets of data: each with its own run range and data selection filters selected by the user.

-       Compare Baseline runs with all other runs in one range of data. 

-       Do statistical analysis for the Deltas of the Triads in one range of data.  This is the most definite evaluation of gains with Dynamic Optimization.

  1. Data Import has been made more flexible with several options, such as post-append, pre-append and substitute. 
  2. Other miscellaneous new features;

-       There is a new Parameter to use or ignore all uncontrolled variables.  This helps in the evaluation of whether to continue with Static Optimization or with Dynamic Optimization (compensating for known values of uncontrolled inputs).  After several optimization cycles with and without taking uncontrolled inputs into account, one can compare differences in operating performance achieved.

-       The ALERTS were extended to include statement about variable data being unusual (the information in the Deviation column) individually, outside multivariate analysis. 

·        Documentation

The new Tutorial, or Self-Training Manual, will permit customers to teach themselves on an individual basis how to use the Ultramax 7.1 Method and Software with the Stand-Alone version.  In the past, this training was carried out on the customer’s site with an Ultramax Agent as the instructor.  The new Self-Training Manual will eliminate the need for on-site training, will be faster, more thorough and has templates for documentation and analysis for actual applications.  It will also save the customer the expense of having an instructor visit the customer’s site in person.  Consulting and technical support continues to be available on-site and off-site as it has been in the past.

The Tutorial is also the introductory training for On-Line applications; however these applications still require on-site guidance and follow-through, and the one-time services of an integration specialist. 

The product now includes a Resource Directory with samples and template documents for reports to manage optimization “Studies” (i.e., short-term projects with a defined endpoint) and for On-going continual production with optimization.

The Blue Book has been updated to reflect the new advances.


New release 7.1.d January 29, 2008

All regular licenses (which require the software key) now also support during the first three months (since the time of license creation) an Introduction and Discovery mini-trial license without the use of the software key.  This makes a new license widely available to several people in the same site, especially useful for training with the Tutorial, and for small applications with at most three inputs. 

Some of these improvements were in response to users’ feedback from using 7.1:

      Enabled several statistical functions (e.g., Capability and Consistency Analysis) and plotting for cases where there is data (such as imported) but the Performance Index (objective function) is not defined yet. 

      Added significant cosmetic improvements such as more informative messages and some requiring less user attention (e.g., temporary messages that disappear without requiring user response).

      Fixed annoying icons that under certain circumstances were placed in the desktop.  However, the application file cannot be stored on the desktop. 

      Fixed that application files without defined variables could be saved but not read. 

      Fixed that user interfaces when entering Triad output runs now have as guide values the correct expected values (recall, just to help users entering the true actual run value).

      Improved some descriptions in the Tutorial.