Honeywell UOP developing 'optimization-as-a-service'

Vietnamese, Saudi processors among first subscribers to company's continuous optimization platform.

By Keith Larson

Refineries and petrochemical facilities are among the most complex process optimization challenges in the industrial world. Raw materials of varying composition, a multiplicity of final products as well as multiple, interacting continuous processes have long challenged model-builders to predict, control and optimize the real-time behavior of these billion-dollar assets.

There exist real-time optimizers that can rise to the challenge, but too often optimization is treated as a project, a discrete event, notes Zak Alzein, vice president and general manager, Connected Performance Services, for Honeywell UOP. Exchangers foul, feed compositions change, and catalysts lose potency. “Models degrade over time, and a lot of expertise is needed to maintain performance and results,” he says. “Sometimes a project team returns to an optimized site after a year or two only to find the optimizer turned off.”

The advent of secure cloud environments together with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is representative of the enabling technologies that now allow UOP to marry its deep process know-how with software to solve difficult problems for its customers on a continuous basis. Honeywell is uniquely positioned to deliver on this promise in part because UOP process technology is so pervasive across the global refining and petrochemicals landscape. This allows Honeywell to up the ante on other providers’ basic equipment monitoring solutions, providing reliability, optimization, utility management and predictive maintenance services on entire processes—not just pieces of equipment, Alzein says. “It’s more complex, but we can deliver more value over time on a platform that allows for continuous innovation.”

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