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Suresh Kumar M

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Suresh Kumar M

Suresh Kumar M

Senior Automation Engineer, GASCO

Suresh Kumar M, has over 26 years of experience in the field of Operations, Process Control, Advanced Process Control and Real Time Information Management Systems in the Oil & Gas and Petrochemicals Industries. Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, from University of Calicut, India and an MBA from the University of Strathclyde, UK. Currently working as Senior Automation Engineer in Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (GASCO) and spearheads and supports the Process Control and Automation Applications across GASCO Sites.

Automation Paradox: Benefits & Challenges of Advanced Process Control

Digitalization

Abstract: Manufacturers in this current period of oil price volatility, are looking towards optimizing and sustaining the benefits of the existing facilities. In this context, implementation of Advanced Process Control on process plants has become an essential strategy towards achieving maximum productivity. Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (GASCO), has made significant strides in this area of implementing APC and has gained in the process, significant experience in both the benefits and challenges of implementing and sustaining the performance of APC controllers. Currently, we are looking towards the application of real time optimization which would further enhance the value of the APC controllers.

The benefits of implementing APC has been widely published and has been widely accepted. The reduction in the variability of the process, the pushing of the constraints to the economic optimum, thereby improving the profitability, the overall stability of the process plants and the collateral reduction in the Operating Alarms are some of the benefits to name a few. What is probably not well covered and published are the challenges in the implementation, the sustainability of the accrued benefits, the focus on the maintenance of the controllers to yield optimum results and the reported erosion of skills of the Operators due to a high APC online stream factor.

This paper outlines the benefits and challenges commonly encountered for the APC implementation/lifecycle and details out the steps taken in GASCO in addressing these challenges. This paper also addresses the automation paradox, in which it is argued that the more efficient the automated system is, the more crucial becomes the contribution of the human operator.

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