Saturday, July 11, 2009

Serious Games @ Refineries

Serious Games rendering 3D Virtual Refinery


Via: ExplainMedia and Simulation SolutionsVirtual Refinery

Operator Training Simulators have been around for decades. Started as hardware-based solutions, in the 1980s OTS applications became available for PCs.

Software that simulates the workings of a chemical processor is an important tool for training courses. Before the operators take on the responsibility of running a full-size unit, they run it in simulation.

However, the chemical processing environment requires operators to work as a team: one person working at the controls and another working at the equipment itself, usually outside. While older simulators only trained those working at the controls, the newest generation of programs also gets the 'outside operators' working.


An example of these new systems is the Virtual Refinery


Virtual Refinery Exterior


It provides a 3D environment in which the learner can move about freely, to find and adjust various parts of the chemical plant.

ExplainMedia has taken proven Simulation Solutions training programs, long made available to DCS operators, and is rendering corresponding 3D Virtual Refinery Outside Operator modules.

With these added virtual reality capabilities, Outside Operators can actually open and close hand-operated valves, start and stop pumps, take field reading, see and hear equipment running, communicate with the control room, etc. Instructors can mentor and manage training sessions, instead of being tied up in role playing the functions of an Outside Operator from previously provided “remote function” switches.



Virtual Valve


Virtual Switches

Users can navigate both outside and inside valves, pumps, towers, and reactors and observe dynamically over a full range of operating conditions how equipment, feedstock, catalysts, and products respond to changing feed rates, temperatures, pressures, etc. All Outside Operator station functions and responses are being driven by differential equations and mathematical models, not mere animation routines.

The Virtual Refinery package is a 12 module Distillation Series. The Distillation Series was the first of a set of off-the-shelf Series, followed by comprehensive Series for Furnaces, Compressors, Crude Units, FCC, etc.

Since May, the Virtual Refinery suite of products includes an Atmospheric Crude Unit and a Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit, linked to a process simulator.



With the addition of the ACU and the FCCU, the total number of simulator driven virtual environments is now fifteen, explaining all aspects of the distillation process, from a simple pump, to a complete plant.

Detailed Custom Programs, realistic DCS Emulations, and state-of-the-art Virtual Reality based Outside Operator Stations combine to form the key elements of the Virtual Refinery, and create a “test bench” capability for safety and engineering studies previously unavailable. Users can “field test” control schemes and outside operator duties against a virtual plant, and also improve procedures, conduct realistic training for entire operations teams, and ultimately help develop the most efficient and safest way to troubleshoot and respond to plant upsets and emergencies.

About Simulation Solutions
Simulation Solutions, Inc. is a U.S. based privately held company that was formed to provide process simulators for training operators, engineers, and technicians to control and manage refining, chemical, petrochemical, pulp and paper, and utility processes.

Simulation Solutions is headquartered in Shrewsbury, NJ. With over 20 years of experience in the hydrocarbon industry, and in excess of 225 simulator systems installed, they are a leading supplier worldwide.

About ExplainMedia

Based in Petaluma, California, Explain Media develops visualization solutions for the process technology industry. They offer a number of off-the-shelf products and development services, tailoring a wide range of software libraries and 3D model libraries.