The traditional approach to building high-fidelity dynamic models has been costly, complicated and time-consuming. Often, the simulations are only used to check out a new system and train the first group of operators, then allowed to go out of date and are discarded.
"Oil and gas plants have historically spent $1 to $2 million on a system, gotten some training out of it, then allowed it to deteriorate until it became useless," says Mart Berutti, president and COO, Mynah Technologies. "It's just too costly to update."
Many big companies continue to do this. "It seems crazy to invest this money and then throw it away," Berutti adds, "but the benefits are so significant, paying for the investment before start-up in many cases." Simulation doesn't have to be that difficult, expensive or hard to maintain, and a good dynamic simulator can continue to provide benefits throughout the plant lifecycle.
That's the vision behind Mynah's latest release of Mimic simulation software. "Mimic v3.6 is the next step in our initiative to reduce the cost and time required to develop real-time, accurate, dynamic simulations of process plants and includes significant enhancements to Mimic's modeling library," Berutti says.
The release includes a Mineral Processing object library, developed in coordination with Portage Technologies, with 14 new advanced modeling objects, integrated with solids property tracking, particle size distribution and tunable comminution matrix in every object. "This modeling library has been proven on several mineral processing projects in 2014," Berutti says.
Life science users can use the new Bioreactor advanced modeling object developed by industry veteran Greg McMillan and based on the ISA publication, "New Directions in Bioprocess Modeling and Control." The model is currently in use on a dynamic simulation project for a large life sciences company.
Oil and gas and chemical plants will benefit from new dynamic modeling objects including advanced Turbine (gas and steam), updated Furnace and significant performance improvements to Mimic's Pressure-Flow Solver. These new objects are currently in use in several hydrocarbon upstream and petrochemical projects.
A user-defined multi-threading engine allows for high-level parallel computing and optimization of simulation performance. This new capability is built on a complete 64-bit architecture, including double-precision floating point calculations and extended support of 64 simulation nodes in one Mimic system.
Mimic v3.6 also features significant enhancements that reduce the time and complexity of building and using dynamic simulations. The Mimic Bulk Generation Utility, enhanced in v3.6, allows simulations to be generated directly from project design data for any control system platform, allowing users to begin developing the dynamic simulator prior to control system configuration.
The component database now includes more than 1,500 compounds and also allows the user to define custom or pseudo components for additional modeling flexibility and performance.
Mimic v3.6 also includes the release of the Mimic External Modeling Interface (Memi), which provides a direct, synchronized DLL interface to the Mimic simulation engine. This allows users to quickly and effectively integrate process models developed in other software packages or programming languages.
The new version also includes usability enhancements to the Mimic Operator Training Manager, which provides easy, intuitive development of operator training systems.
"In the past, people used Mimic for operator training and to test systems," says Berutti. "Now they use it for the whole plant lifecycle, to explore scenarios and improve safety and operations excellence. You can't shut down the working plant, so the virtual plant gives you the opportunity to improve operations without risk."
For example, in an operating plant, when the catalyst is fresh, it's easy to run the plant well. As it degrades, the process requires more energy. "Between regenerations, how the plant runs is critical," says Berutti. "The simulator can give operations the ability to see how the plant will ‘feel' under these conditions and how to run it optimally. Dynamic, real-time models use the same time constants as the real plant, so the I/O updates look to the control system like a real plant. You can see things about the plant you'd never see in the design simulator."
Mimic is easily integrated with any control system simulator platform. In Mimic v3.6, this has been extended with release of an ABB 800xA simulated I/O driver, in addition to Emerson Process Management DeltaV, Schneider Electric Unity and Quantum, Rockwell PlantPAx, Siemens S7 PLC Simulator and other automation systems that support OPC, Modbus TCP/IP or EtherNet/IP.
"The lifecycle benefits of dynamic simulation are proven, but the cost and time required for the development and maintenance of these systems has traditionally prevented users from receiving its full value," says Berutti. "Our goal with Mimic is to reduce this cost and time to deliver greater value and extend the benefits to new users and industries. Version 3.6 is the result of years of development, customer feedback and our drive to deliver more cost effective, better performing dynamic simulation. It will change how the process industries can use dynamic simulation to improve plant operations."
Mimic v3.6 is available now, and Mimic users who are current on Mimic Software Support can upgrade to Mimic v3.6 for no additional charge. For more information, visit Mynah Technologies at www.mynah.com.