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Process engineering is the understanding and application of the fundamental principles and laws of nature that allow us to transform raw material and energy into products that are useful to society, at an industrial level.By taking advantage of the driving forces of nature such as pressure, temperature and concentration gradients, as well as the law of conservation of mass, process engineers can develop methods to synthesize and purify large quantities of desired chemical products. Process engineering focuses on the design, operation, control, optimization and intensification of chemical, physical, and biological processes. Process engineering encompasses a vast range of industries, such as agriculture, automotive, biotechnical, chemical, food, material development, mining, nuclear, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and software development. The application of systematic computer-based methods to process engineering is "process systems engineering".
Process engineering involves utilization of multiple tools and methods. Depending on the exact nature of the system, processes need to be simulated and modeled using mathematics and computer science. Processes where phase change and phase equilibria are relevant require analysis using the principles and laws of thermodynamics to quantify changes in energy and efficiency. In contrast, processes that focus on the flow of material and energy as they approach equilibria are best analyzed using the disciplines of fluid mechanics and transport phenomena. Disciplines within the field of mechanics need to be applied in the presence of fluids or porous and dispersed media. Materials engineering principles also need to be applied, when relevant.
Manufacturing in the field of process engineering involves an implementation of process synthesis steps.Regardless of the exact tools required, process engineering is then formatted through the use of a process flow diagram (PFD) where material flow paths, storage equipment (such as tanks and silos), transformations (such as distillation columns, receiver/head tanks, mixing, separations, pumping, etc.) and flowrates are specified, as well as a list of all pipes and conveyors and their contents, material properties such as density, viscosity, particle-size distribution, flowrates, pressures, temperatures, and materials of construction for the piping and unit operations.
The process flow diagram is then used to develop a piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) which graphically displays the actual process occurring. P&ID are meant to be more complex and specific than a PFD.They represent a less muddled approach to the design. The P&ID is then used as a basis of design for developing the "system operation guide" or "functional design specification" which outlines the operation of the process. It guides the process through operation of machinery, safety in design, programming and effective communication between engineers.
From the P&ID, a proposed layout (general arrangement) of the process can be shown from an overhead view (plot plan) and a side view (elevation), and other engineering disciplines are involved such as civil engineers for site work (earth moving), foundation design, concrete slab design work, structural steel to support the equipment, etc. All previous work is directed toward defining the scope of the project, then developing a cost estimate to get the design installed, and a schedule to communicate the timing needs for engineering, procurement, fabrication, installation, commissioning, startup, and ongoing production of the process.
Depending on needed accuracy of the cost estimate and schedule that is required, several iterations of designs are generally provided to customers or stakeholders who feed back their requirements. The process engineer incorporates these additional instructions (scope revisions) into the overall design and additional cost estimates, and schedules are developed for funding approval. Following funding approval, the project is executed via project management.
Process engineering activities can be divided into the following disciplines:
Various chemical techniques have been used in industrial processes since time immemorial. However, it wasn't till the advent of thermodynamics and the law of conservation of mass in the 1780s that process engineering was properly developed and implemented as its own discipline. The set of knowledge that is now known as process engineering was then forged out of trial and error throughout the industrial revolution.
The term process, as it relates to industry and production, dates back to the 18th century. During this time period, demands for various products began to drastically increase, and process engineers were required to optimize the process in which these products were created.
By 1980, the concept of process engineering emerged from the fact that chemical engineering techniques and practices were being used in a variety of industries. By this time, process engineering had been defined as "the set of knowledge necessary to design, analyze, develop, construct, and operate, in an optimal way, the processes in which the material changes".By the end of the 20th century, process engineering had expanded from chemical engineering-based technologies to other applications, including metallurgical engineering, agricultural engineering, and product engineering.
Chemical engineering is a branch of engineering that uses principles of chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, and economics to efficiently use, produce, design, transport and transform energy and materials. The work of chemical engineers can range from the utilisation of nano-technology and nano-materials in the laboratory to large-scale industrial processes that convert chemicals, raw materials, living cells, microorganisms, and energy into useful forms and products.
Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering and engineering management that focuses on how to design, integrate, and manage complex systems over their life cycles. At its core, systems engineering utilizes systems thinking principles to organize this body of knowledge. The individual outcome of such efforts, an engineered system, can be defined as a combination of components that work in synergy to collectively perform a useful function.
Automatic process control in continuous production processes is a combination of control engineering and chemical engineering disciplines that uses industrial control systems to achieve a production level of consistency, economy and safety which could not be achieved purely by human manual control. It is implemented widely in industries such as oil refining, pulp and paper manufacturing, chemical processing and power generating plants.
Model predictive control (MPC) is an advanced method of process control that is used to control a process while satisfying a set of constraints. It has been in use in the process industries in chemical plants and oil refineries since the 1980s. In recent years it has also been used in power system balancing models and in power electronics. Model predictive controllers rely on dynamic models of the process, most often linear empirical models obtained by system identification. The main advantage of MPC is the fact that it allows the current timeslot to be optimized, while keeping future timeslots in account. This is achieved by optimizing a finite time-horizon, but only implementing the current timeslot and then optimizing again, repeatedly, thus differing from Linear-Quadratic Regulator (LQR). Also MPC has the ability to anticipate future events and can take control actions accordingly. PID controllers do not have this predictive ability. MPC is nearly universally implemented as a digital control, although there is research into achieving faster response times with specially designed analog circuitry.
Methods engineering is a subspecialty of industrial engineering and manufacturing engineering concerned with human integration in industrial production processes.
A chemical plant is an industrial process plant that manufactures chemicals, usually on a large scale. The general objective of a chemical plant is to create new material wealth via the chemical or biological transformation and or separation of materials. Chemical plants use specialized equipment, units, and technology in the manufacturing process. Other kinds of plants, such as polymer, pharmaceutical, food, and some beverage production facilities, power plants, oil refineries or other refineries, natural gas processing and biochemical plants, water and wastewater treatment, and pollution control equipment use many technologies that have similarities to chemical plant technology such as fluid systems and chemical reactor systems. Some would consider an oil refinery or a pharmaceutical or polymer manufacturer to be effectively a chemical plant.
A piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) is a detailed diagram in the process industry which shows the piping and process equipment together with the instrumentation and control devices.
A pilot plant is a pre-commercial production system that employs new production technology and/or produces small volumes of new technology-based products, mainly for the purpose of learning about the new technology. The knowledge obtained is then used for design of full-scale production systems and commercial products, as well as for identification of further research objectives and support of investment decisions. Other (non-technical) purposes include gaining public support for new technologies and questioning government regulations. Pilot plant is a relative term in the sense that pilot plants are typically smaller than full-scale production plants, but are built in a range of sizes. Also, as pilot plants are intended for learning, they typically are more flexible, possibly at the expense of economy. Some pilot plants are built in laboratories using stock lab equipment, while others require substantial engineering efforts, cost millions of dollars, and are custom-assembled and fabricated from process equipment, instrumentation and piping. They can also be used to train personnel for a full-scale plant. Pilot plants tend to be smaller compared to demonstration plants.
In chemical engineering, process design is the choice and sequencing of units for desired physical and/or chemical transformation of materials. Process design is central to chemical engineering, and it can be considered to be the summit of that field, bringing together all of the field's components.
In engineering, a process is a series of interrelated tasks that, together, transform inputs into a given output. These tasks may be carried out by people, nature or machines using various resources; an engineering process must be considered in the context of the agents carrying out the tasks and the resource attributes involved. Systems engineering normative documents and those related to Maturity Models are typically based on processes, for example, systems engineering processes of the EIA-632 and processes involved in the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) institutionalization and improvement approach. Constraints imposed on the tasks and resources required to implement them are essential for executing the tasks mentioned.
A process flow diagram (PFD) is a diagram commonly used in chemical and process engineering to indicate the general flow of plant processes and equipment. The PFD displays the relationship between major equipment of a plant facility and does not show minor details such as piping details and designations. Another commonly used term for a PFD is a flowsheet.
Advanced process monitor (APMonitor) is a modeling language for differential algebraic (DAE) equations. It is a free web-service or local server for solving representations of physical systems in the form of implicit DAE models. APMonitor is suited for large-scale problems and solves linear programming, integer programming, nonlinear programming, nonlinear mixed integer programming, dynamic simulation, moving horizon estimation, and nonlinear model predictive control. APMonitor does not solve the problems directly, but calls nonlinear programming solvers such as APOPT, BPOPT, IPOPT, MINOS, and SNOPT. The APMonitor API provides exact first and second derivatives of continuous functions to the solvers through automatic differentiation and in sparse matrix form.
In systems engineering, software engineering, and computer science, a function model or functional model is a structured representation of the functions within the modeled system or subject area.
Industrial engineering is an engineering profession that is concerned with the optimization of complex processes, systems, or organizations by developing, improving and implementing integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy and materials.
AIMMS is a prescriptive analytics software company with offices in the Netherlands, United States, China and Singapore.
Industrial and production engineering (IPE) is an interdisciplinary engineering discipline that includes manufacturing technology, engineering sciences, management science, and optimization of complex processes, systems, or organizations. It is concerned with the understanding and application of engineering procedures in manufacturing processes and production methods. Industrial engineering dates back all the way to the industrial revolution, initiated in 1700s by Sir Adam Smith, Henry Ford, Eli Whitney, Frank Gilbreth and Lilian Gilbreth, Henry Gantt, F.W. Taylor, etc. After the 1970s, industrial and production engineering developed worldwide and started to widely use automation and robotics. Industrial and production engineering includes three areas: Mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, and management science.
The GEKKO Python package solves large-scale mixed-integer and differential algebraic equations with nonlinear programming solvers. Modes of operation include machine learning, data reconciliation, real-time optimization, dynamic simulation, and nonlinear model predictive control. In addition, the package solves Linear programming (LP), Quadratic programming (QP), Quadratically constrained quadratic program (QCQP), Nonlinear programming (NLP), Mixed integer programming (MIP), and Mixed integer linear programming (MILP). GEKKO is available in Python and installed with pip from PyPI of the Python Software Foundation.
COMOS is a plant engineering software solution of the Siemens AG. The applications for this software lie in particular in the process industries for the engineering, operation, and maintenance of process plants as well as their asset management.
In engineering, a symbolic language is a language that uses standard symbols, marks, and abbreviations to represent concepts such as entities, aspects, attributes, and relationships.