Online process monitoring using smart and modular process gas chromatograph systems
Process analytics is an important tool to monitor and control process plants, such as in the oil & gas and the chemical industry, efficiently. Thereby the plant yields will be increased, the energy expenses optimized and the product specifications guaranteed.
One of the key technologies is gas chromatography (GC) which has established itself as one of the most important and powerful methods used in process analysis. These analyzers have been improved continuously over the last few decades as well in analytical performance as in communication integration and ability to network. The GC systems are highly reliable and flexible to meet the variable requirements of multiple process applications.
In recent times there is a trend to analytical system simplification and standardization as the number of plant maintenance personal is being continually reduced. In addition, advanced processing plants require increasingly measurements down to low traces of key components.
New smart analytical configurations of a process GC are available. Especially when using a modular oven design where complete chromatograph modules are snapped into place the removal and replacement of the analytical unit can be performed in a few minutes. This dramatically lowers operation and maintenance of the gas chromatograph and increases the on-line time of the analyzer. Furthermore, the design provides capabilities to standardize measuring tasks. Pre-configured application modules include all hardware components for injection, separation and detection of the sample constituents.
Advanced process GCs drive also improvements of the analytical performance such as detection limit as well as analysis time. Finally GC solutions consider digitalization aspects by integrating "big data" of the installed analyzer base of a production plant into specific analyzer management systems to initiate further actions and reporting.
The objective of this paper is to present and discuss the performance of advanced process gas chromatographs by means of typical measuring tasks in the hydrocarbon processing industry. The presentation elaborates the capabilities to simplify and standardize the analytical solution for some representative application examples including the impact on life cycle management and the efficiency of the complete system solution.
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Mr Harald Mahler (Siemens AG)
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