Distillation Control, Optimization, and Tuning: Fundamentals and Strategies, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Distillation Control, Optimization, and Tuning

Fundamentals and Strategies, 1st Edition

By Lanny Robbins

CRC Press

144 pages | 25 B/W Illus.

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Emphasis on improved quality and performance of distilled products and the demand for reduced operating costs place a heavy burden on both the personnel responsible for profitability and the manufacturing department charged with operating the processing equipment. There have been dramatic improvements in the computer software and hardware used to simulate and model the distillation process and potential response to experimentation, but mastering the art of distillation process and control still requires solid understanding of a large body of information.

With a focus on achieving product purity at low cost, Distillation Control, Optimization, and Tuning: Fundamentals and Strategies highlights core concepts. These include process variables for continuous binary distillation columns and the four basic control strategies, the distillate and bottoms product quality performance objectives, and the tuning of process control loops. Without dwelling on complex mathematical descriptions, the book presents the fundamentals of process control of a distillation column as a separation and purification unit operation. It covers the concepts and functional criteria that are critical to successful implementation of process control, as well as measurement and improvement of product quality performance. It describes how process control loops for distillation columns can be tuned for stable operation, with a balance between minimum variability from setpoint changes and excellent response to load disturbances.

Designed for students, engineers, technicians, and plant operators alike, this book emphasizes the prevailing need to strike a balance between the details of hypotheses and good engineering judgment. The author outlines learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter and includes chapter-end summaries, exercises, and references to help readers acquire essential knowledge and understanding. The result is a resource that will inform future decisions for the design, operation, and troubleshooting of distillation process control systems.

Table of Contents

Unit 1: Introduction and Overview

Course Coverage


Audience and Prerequisites

Study Materials

Organization and Sequence

Course Objectives

Course Length

Unit 2: Distillation Control Variables

Distillation Column Inlet Streams

Distillation System Outlet Streams

Controlled Variables

Unit 3: Separation Power

Relative Volatility in One Theoretical Stage

Separation Power with Multiple Stages

Separation Power and Energy Consumption

Unit 4: Distillate/Feed Material Balance Split

Material Balances

Temperature Gradient per Theoretical Stage

Temperature Change from D/F Shift

Unit 5: Distillation Control Strategies

Column Pressure Control

Temperature Control with Distillate Flow Rate

Temperature Control with Reflux Flow Rate

Temperature Control with Boilup(Steam Rate)

Temperature Control with Bottoms Flow Rate

Side Draw Flow Rate

Distillate Vapor Flow Rate

Unit 6: Constraints

Mechanical and Hydraulic Constraints

Heat Transfer Constraints

Stripping Mass Transfer Constraint

Rectification (Absorption) Mass Transfer Constraint

Unit 7: Optimizing Product Quality Performance

Quality Performance Measurement

Frequency of Failure

Optimize MRT Between Distillate and Bottoms Quality

Avoid Excessive Use of Steam

Reduce Variability

Optimize with Expert System Advisor

Unit 8: PID Feedback Control Loop

The Feedback Control Loop




Parallel and Series Algorithms

Unit 9: Closed Loop Tuning of Controllers

Trial and Error Tuning of Control Loops

Ultimate Gain Tuning of Control Loops

Troubleshooting an Oscillating Control Loop

Quarter Decay Ratio tuning of Control Loops

Pattern Recognition Tuning of Self Regulating Control Loops

Effect of Proportional Gain

Effect of Integral (Reset) Action

Pattern Recognition Tuning of Integrating Control Loops

Unit 10: Open Loop Testing of Process Response

Self Regulating Process Response

Ziegler-Nichols (Z-N) Open Loop Tuning Rules

Two Point Characterization of FOPDT Process Response

Quarter Decay Ratio (QDR) Tuning Rules

Internal Model Control (IMC) Tuning Rules

Integrating Process Response


About the Author

Dr. Lanny Robbins is the president of Larco Technologies. He retired as a Research Fellow after 37 years at The Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan. He received the Marston Medal, the top honor awarded by the Engineering Department at Iowa State University. His expertise is in fundamental chemical engineering research and pilot plant process development, especially for separation and purification processes.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Chemistry / Industrial & Technical