Posts tagged 'Chemical Engineering'

Disastrous Dinners: First Event NEXT WEEK

Firstly, apologies for the last minute planning here. The first Disastrous Dinners Event will be on the 15th of January (a week on Tuesday). The reason for trying to get it organised in such a short period of time is to consider with the 100 year anniversary of the event ...

The Purpose of a Procedure

I frequently see people make a comment regarding procedures along the lines of "monkey see, monkey do", "they take the thought out of the job" or "they treat us like idiots".

I want to take this opportunity to say that is not how I see or use procedures. If you ...

Disastrous Dinners Survey Responses


Since the survey has been shared with IChemE members, there have been a over 70 responses, the vast majority of which have been very supportive. There seems to be a great deal of interest for such an event, mixing both a technical aspect and social setting. It was also ...

Disastrous Dinners Survey

I presented the suggestion to members of the IChemE committee tonight and the feeling was positive. The next stage is to publicise the survey:

Disastrous Dinners: Part social event, part technical talk and part workshop. Something for everyone!

We are looking to host a series of these events next year ...

Disastrous Dinners

I have just come up with an idea this evening for a regular IChemE event. I will take the time in this post to get my idea into the screen before deciding if it is a good idea or not.


There are a few challenges that occur when trying ...

Stale Alarms

I have previously written about alarms and following on from yesterday's post I want to write about stale alarms.

These are alarms that initially come in, but for some reason the operator cannot remove them. They are usually classed as stale if they have been on the alarm page ...

What is an Alarm?

I have previously written about nuisance alarms particularly during shutdowns, but today I want to cover the fundamental questions of what an alarm is and what it is not.

The definition of an alarm is:

Alarm: An audible and/or visible means of indicating to the operator an equipment malfunction ...

Last Good Value from PI

Within our plant, we use the PI as our main plant historian. We can access process history using PI datalink to import the data into excel. There was a situation last week where I was attempting to create a dashboard view of the process.

Unfortunatly one of the tags I ...

Wattage of a Petrol Station

At last week's party, one of the discussions lead to the power demand of your typical petrol station1. What would the power requirement of a typical station be, if the energy from the fuel were supplied by electricity?

This is assuming you have some form of local storage ...

What Does a Control Engineer Do?

Today we had a school pupil shadowing our team, trying to work out what a carrier in chemical engineering would be like. Earlier in the week she spent time with developement and optimisation engineers but today it was the turn of the automation team to explain what control engineers do ...

Typeup of Proof Testing Webinar

Yesterday I viewed a webinar on proof testing1 organised by IChemE.

The presentation was a good overview and went at a decent pace for following along but was too fast for me to take any decent notes.

Below is a quick writeup of what I took from the session ...

Vanessa Sutherland - Trevor Kletz Memorial Lecture

Vanessa Sutherland was1 the Chair of the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) and delivered the fourth Trevor Kletz Memorial Lecture2 at the IChemE hazards conference.

I did not attend the lecture in person however the IChemE have put a video of the presentation online3.

Screenshot of video
Vanessa Sutherland: CSB ...

Steam Heating on Ceres

Yesterday I watched the latest video from the Isaac Arthur Science and Futurism youtube channel on Colonizing Ceres.

I have been enjoying these videos recently which offer hard sci-fi without any (or very minimal) plot. They look at what would be possible in the future assuming known science and only ...

APC vs Toddlers

Over the last few weeks, I have been commissioning a couple of new Advance Process Control (APC) schemes within the refinery and it occurs to me that this is very similar to looking after a toddler in the house.

Watching a Toddler

When looking after the little one, you can ...

pH Problems

During a cat reformer regen we are required to monitor the pH and alkalinity of a wash water solution in the process.

This year we had issues with controlling the alkalinity and we used so much of our neutralising solution, we ran out.

This post will explain the background and ...

The Keil Centre - Presentation

Yesterday I attended a presentation at the Keil Centre delivered by Janette Edmonds on 'Predictive Assessment of Human Reliability'.

Focus of the presentation was on prediction and looking forward to what could happen, rather than the traditional view of retrospectively looking into times something has gone wrong.

Human Reliability

While ...

Dynamic Alarms

Earlier today I commissioned a project I have been working on for the last year, ESD Dynamic Alarm Suppression.

When the Emergency Shutdown (ESD) System is activated, shutdown valves will close and pumps will stop. This normally causes a significant flood of extra alarms as the normal control system warns ...

JWF: Clamp on Flow Metering Technology

I have just attended a Lunch and Learn session delivered by JWF Process Solutions Ltd and hosted by the Institute of Measurement and Control East of Scotland Section.

This presentation focused on clamp on ultrasonic flow meters and their recent developments.

I have had a small amount of experience with ...

National Women in Engineering Day 2016 Webinar

I have just finished watching the "National Women in Engineering Day 2016 Webinar" hosted by IChemE. This was a pre-recorded webinar and contained interviews with three female engineers about their experiences within industry.

While I was able to watch without having to go anywhere else during the presentation, my internet ...

10 Ways Control Systems Lie

An Introduction to Instrumentation and Control

This Presentation was delivered on behalf of the IChemE Scottish Members Group on Thursday 2nd June 2016 at Ineos Grangemouth. I have attached a copy of the slides however they are not very descriptive on their own. This post is a summary of what ...

Quick Thoughts on the IChemE 2016 AGM

I am just back in the door from this year's Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) AGM which was held in Edinburgh. This post is to document a couple of quick thoughts that I had as I left the conference centre.


A significant proportion of the incoming president's ...

I'm Giving a Talk

I had an odd experience last night when I received an email from IChemE inviting me to a presentation that is to be delivered by myself.

No getting out of it now then. My intent is to provide a general introduction to instrumentation and cover things that I have learnt ...

Mangled Brain

So I have just completed the course on advanced process control. It was interesting on Sunday night when I met the other course attendees.

There were eight attendees in total, I was the only Brit, all others were from continental Europe (Dutch, Belgian and German). There was a definite feeling ...

Training for the Training Course

So after yesterdays post concerning being slightly worried about switching back into control engineer mode, this morning I am even more worried.

I arrived at the hotel just in time for dinner and met five of the other attendees (there are eight of us in total on the course). All ...

Switching Brains

The Cat Reformer is mostly back together. Hopefully later today, hydrogen can be introduced. If everything goes well, feed should be put back in on Tuesday.

For myself though the TAR is over. I am currently on a train on my way to Cardiff for a training course next week ...

What is a TAR

We are currently about half way through the Cat Reformer turnaround (AKA TAR).

I was intending to write a detailed post about what a turnaround is, what happens during the turnaround and what it is like to work on one.

This would probably just end up turning into a giant ...

Graduate Recruitment

I was recently asked by a current student at Edinburgh University about my insight with finding a graduate job and the employment prospects someone in their final year would have. Below is my response:

To be honest, I got very lucky with my graduate job, I didn't apply for ...

Impress Update

I have recently had some spare time and chose to use it updating impress adding some new features.

For anyone who has not heard me talk about impress: it is a simple mass balance tool designed for chemical engineers to use during the early stages of design. This application is ...

Introducing IMPRESS

Introducing IMPRESS: the Interactive Multi-user PRocess Engineering Simulation Suite.

As my final year ChemEng research project I have built a program that helps build a mass balance for processes.

The program is accessed through a web page (so you don't need to install anything) and can handle having more ...

Lab Fun

My first thought this morning:

"The lab we will be doing today is covered in chalk powder - it will be messy".

Chalk being an enemy of me and my clothes, due to it's non blackness, it would make sense to wear my lab coat again. I also thought ahead ...

Pharmaceutical Companies and Fraternities

Just watched The Constant Gardner. It was a little heavier than what I needed to watch at this time of night but then it was my own fault; I knew what type of film it was anyway. The film was about pharmaceutical companies that were testing drugs in Africa (and ...