Analytical Instrumentation

Petrochemical Industry: Anton Paar Solutions Streamline Processes, Reduce Human Error, and Improve Efficiency

Jul 01 2024

Author: Franz Arnold and Thomas Kamrat on behalf of Anton Paar GmbH

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Abstract:

The petrochemical industry is undergoing a transformational change with the integration of automation and digitization in laboratory environments. This transition allows increased efficiency and sustainability, which are critical when handling complex samples such as crude oil and lubricants. Automated systems, such as Anton Paar’s viscometers and density meters, provide continuous and accurate measurements, reducing manual errors and environmental impact by minimizing the use of cleaning agents. Digitization, led by software solutions such as AP Connect, streamlines data management, connects disparate systems and automates the flow of data from laboratory instruments to centralized databases. This integration supports compliance with stringent industry standards (e.g., ASTM) and promotes a seamless, paperless laboratory environment. From temperature-controlled environments for viscous samples to bubble-free filling processes for pressurized fuel measurements, advanced technology solutions play a key role in refining sample handling, setting a new standard for petrochemical laboratory operations.

 

Automatization:

The petrochemical industry is witnessing a remarkable evolution with the amalgamation of automation and digitization, revolutionizing laboratory processes and paving the way for enhanced efficiency and sustainability. This transition is especially critical when managing complex samples such as crude oil and lubricants, where precision and accuracy are essential. As pioneers in measuring instrumentation, Anton Paar offers cutting-edge solutions tailored to meet the diverse needs of the petrochemical sector, ranging from upstream exploration to downstream refining and distribution.
For laboratories seeking customized solutions for their specific needs, Anton Paar provides a comprehensive range of instruments and automation solutions. These include options for streamlining processes, reducing human error, improving efficiency, and ensuring reliable operation.
Efficiency and cost-effectiveness are essential for any laboratory. Anton Paar’s solutions directly address these needs by offering automation capabilities that minimize operator involvement, reduce instrument interaction time, and optimize total cost of ownership. By providing integrated solutions from a single vendor, Anton Paar simplifies procurement, implementation, and support processes, ensuring a seamless experience for laboratory operators.
One of the key components driving this transformative shift is the adoption of automated sample changers. These sophisticated systems, such as Anton Paar’s Xsample series, enable seamless and continuous sample handling, facilitating precise measurements while minimizing manual intervention. By automating tasks such as sample loading, measurement, and data recording, these sample changers not only enhance operational efficiency but also significantly reduce the risk of errors associated with manual handling.
In the realm of crude oil analysis, automated sample changers play a pivotal role in optimizing the exploration and production processes. By precisely measuring key parameters such as density, viscosity, and rheological properties, these systems enable operators to make informed decisions regarding extraction strategies and reservoir optimization. Additionally, automated sample changers streamline the certification of crude oil products, ensuring adherence to stringent quality standards and regulatory requirements.
Fuel analysis requires equally robust and accurate measurement solutions. Anton Paar’s instruments allow both laboratory and process measurements to identify incoming raw materials, monitor production processes, and undertake fuel quality testing of final products such as diesel, ethanol, jet fuel, fuel oil, automotive gasoline, kerosene, biofuels, synthetic fuels, bunker oils, and other fuels. Parameters such as density, viscosity, distillation behavior, flash and fire point, rheological behavior, and oxidation stability can be determined according to governmental and environmental regulations such as ASTM, EN, and ISO. These systems facilitate rapid and accurate measurements, enabling refineries to maintain product quality while reducing waste and environmental impact. By automating repetitive tasks and minimizing manual intervention, sample changers streamline laboratory workflows, allowing for faster turnaround times and improved resource utilization.
Even samples with high gas pressure present no problem for Anton Paar´s systems. A specifically designed pressurized measurement unit provides overpressure to the system while measurement minimizes the formation of bubbles. No longer are there any filling errors due to volatile samples which are difficult to handle or need extensive sample preparation.
Lubricant testing demands accurate, robust, and flexible measuring solutions capable of covering a wide range of samples, from thin oils to high-viscosity greases. Anton Paar provides laboratory and process instrumentation tailored to these requirements. Whether it’s for characterizing base oils and lubricant blends or performing oil condition monitoring for in-service oils and greases, Anton Paar’s instruments deliver insights into rheological behavior and provide parameters such as viscosity, density, oxidation stability, flash point, and more.
Safety is paramount in laboratory environments, especially when handling hot samples. Anton Paar’s solutions incorporate features to protect users from hot sample handling, ensuring a safe working environment. Automated cleaning capabilities further enhance safety by minimizing manual intervention and ensuring precise measurement of high-viscosity samples.
In conclusion, the integration of automated sample changers represents a paradigm shift in petrochemical laboratory operations, ushering in an era of enhanced efficiency, sustainability, and quality assurance. As the industry continues to embrace automation and digitization, advanced technological solutions like those offered by Anton Paar will play a central role in driving innovation and setting new standards for laboratory excellence.

 

Automation and robotics:

Anton Paar is not just about standalone devices; it offers comprehensive automation and robotics solutions tailored to meet specific industrial needs. Recognizing the unique requirements of the petrochemical sector, Anton Paar has developed a fully automated benchtop rheometer or viscometer designed for continuous 24/7 operation, which maximizes lab productivity and efficiency without any downtime.
This state-of-the-art benchtop system is compact yet powerful with a storage capacity for up to 54 samples, allowing for significant walkaway time and the capacity to handle up to 250 samples per day. Its design is optimized for space-saving in the lab, providing a perfect solution for environments where floor space is limited.
Tailored to the varied and specific needs of the petrochemical industry, Anton Paar’s solutions include a range of customizable features and add-ons. These enhancements are designed to address the nuances of different petrochemical applications, from automotive to personal care products, ensuring that each setup is perfectly aligned with the client’s operational requirements.
Furthermore, the automation of these instruments reduces the need for manual handling, enhancing lab safety and allowing technicians to focus on more complex tasks. This not only improves operational efficiency but also minimizes exposure to hazardous materials.


Digitization:

In the dynamic world of petrochemical laboratories, where precision and efficiency are of the highest importance, the integration of automation and digitization technologies is transforming workflow and data management. AP Connect, Anton Paar’s robust lab execution software, is an example of this changing landscape, providing a comprehensive solution to many of the operational challenges in these lab environments.
AP Connect streamlines the complex landscape of today’s petrochemical testing laboratories which handle a wide variety of samples with different analytical methods. It does this by automating the transfer of information from the world of lab instruments to leading data systems, significantly minimizing the need for operator interaction. This automation is critical in environments where reducing the amount of time operators spend interacting with instruments and transferring data can lead to significant efficiency gains. By ensuring that interactions are as brief as possible, AP Connect not only speeds up processes, but also reduces the likelihood of human error, improving both data reliability and quality.
In addition, AP Connect supports operations that require high throughput with minimal staffing. Its ability to manage many instruments with few operators addresses one of the industry’s major pain points - labor costs. The best results are achieved with fully automated instruments on the bench. With systems as automated as AP Connect, the need for extensive manual intervention is reduced, allowing a small number of operators to effectively manage a large number of tests. This setup is ideal for 24/7 unattended operations where the system must perform reliably around the clock without constant human supervision.
As an added benefit, the software provides remote control capabilities (on selected instruments), allowing operators to manage instruments from anywhere. This flexibility is crucial for laboratories that operate on a large scale or in multiple locations, as it allows operators to run and monitor tests remotely, minimizing the time spent physically interacting with instruments. However, it is not always a matter of distance; for security reasons, the operator’s interaction with the instrument may need to be as short as possible, and there may not be time to manage data entry on the instrument.
In addition to its comprehensive features, AP Connect is compatible with a wide range of Anton Paar instruments, further enhancing its versatility and applicability. From density meters to viscometers and the well-known instruments for distillation and flashpoint testing, AP Connect integrates seamlessly with a wide range of instruments, allowing laboratories to streamline their processes and achieve consistent, reliable results.
But to take full advantage of digitization, AP Connect goes one step further. The Instrument Adapter for AP Connect allows for the integration of instruments from other vendors, enabling a more global strategy for laboratory operations. This flexibility ensures that laboratories can leverage their existing investments while still benefiting from the comprehensive features and support offered by AP Connect.
From a cost perspective, Anton Paar offers solutions that significantly impact the total cost of ownership in the laboratory environment. By integrating instrumentation, automation and digitization from a single source, this solution simplifies procurement and maintenance, ultimately providing a cost-effective package that increases productivity without compromising quality or flexibility.
In conclusion, AP Connect by Anton Paar is a transformative force in the petrochemical testing industry, driving the future of laboratory operations. By addressing critical operational challenges such as the need for a reliable, cost-efficient system capable of handling diverse testing requirements with minimal operator interaction, AP Connect sets a new standard for what is possible in laboratory automation and digitization. This system not only meets the current demands of the industry but is also designed to accommodate future advancements, ensuring that laboratories remain at the cutting edge of technology and efficiency.

 

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the integration of automation and digitization through Anton Paar’s innovative solutions, including the Xsample series and AP Connect, represents a significant advancement in petrochemical laboratory operations. This strategic incorporation of advanced technologies is transforming the industry by enhancing the efficiency, accuracy, and sustainability of laboratory processes. By automating routine tasks and digitizing data management, these solutions significantly reduce the need for manual intervention, thereby decreasing labor costs and minimizing the potential for human error.
AP Connect serves as a key component of this digital transformation, streamlining workflows and simplifying data handling across a diverse range of analytical methods and instruments. Its ability to manage multiple instruments with minimal operator interaction facilitates high-throughput operations, which are crucial for laboratories that operate around the clock. Furthermore, the software’s remote-control capabilities allow flexible operation across various locations, enhancing the operational scope without adding complexity or increasing overhead costs.
The comprehensive integration of automation and digitization not only optimizes immediate laboratory operations, but also establishes a robust foundation for future advancements. By leveraging these integrated solutions, laboratories can ensure consistent, reliable results while positioning themselves at the forefront of technological innovation. The strategic synergy of Anton Paar’s automation tools and digital solutions like AP Connect ultimately empowers laboratories to exceed current industry standards and adapt seamlessly to emerging challenges, ensuring long-term growth and success in the competitive landscape of petrochemical analysis.
With Anton Paar, petrochemical labs can achieve higher throughput, accuracy, and safety, all from a single provider that knows how to make systems work together seamlessly. This holistic approach to laboratory automation underscores Anton Paar’s role as a full-solution provider in the automation and robotics space, tailored specifically for the petrochemical industry.

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PIN 25.3 June/July

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