Aspen HYSYS | Blog Series

Aspen HYSYS®, much more than a process simulator

Check out our blog series, covering Upstream, Midstream, Refining, and Safety applications, to hear industry best practices, learn tech tips, and discover recent innovations made possible by Aspen HYSYS.

September 06, 2016 by Katherine Hird / 0 Comment

Time is money and process safety projects need to stop costing you


Time is money and process safety projects need to stop costing you.

Expense reports. Two words that make me cringe.  Anyone who has filled out one of these reports understands the painstaking effort involved.  The process starts by searching through piles of receipts, and then carefully entering the dollar totals into expense report software.  Finally, I must gather, organize and attach all of those receipts into a booklet and pass that along as validation of my report. Sounds manageable, right?  But what if I copy my airfare total as $341.07 when my documented receipt says $431.07?   In the worst case  scenario my report gets the unfortunate REJECTED stamp, forcing me to fix and repeat the submission process.  The consequences may be negative but fortunately the stakes are low.

What do expense reports have to do with process safety or even the process industry for that matter?  Well, a lot actually.

What if the same kind of transcription error that occurred with my expense report happened in pressure relief analysis work?  Suddenly the consequences are severe and the stakes are high, as proper safety work protects the equipment that we design, the processes we optimize, and most importantly, protects the people who work at these facilities and live in surrounding areas. 

With so much on the line, how can you not use the best safety tools available?

I’ve been fortunate to talk to many customers from all company types, sizes and locations.  When discussing safety work with them, I hear over and over how inefficient their safety work is.  For many, pressure relief analysis is a pained process that slows the timeline of projects.  It often requires using multiple, isolated tools, leading to a significant amount of manual data transfer.

It's time to make manual data transfer a thing of the past

Manual data transfer creates inefficiency, and companies can extract significant value by investing in integrated tools to streamline safety workflows to reduce this manual data transfer.   

There are three main benefits to using an integrated platform for safety work:





The most obvious side effect of manual data transfer is the loss of valuable engineering hours associated with the menial task of copying and pasting values. Time is also lost when engineers have to learn different tools and interfaces, and when they have to keep complicated spreadsheets up to date. With AspenTech safety software, tools are integrated with one another as part of one software suite. With the PSV sizing tool in both Aspen Plus® and Aspen HYSYS, you can: automatically reference simulation values for your PSV calculations, calculate relief loads and size PSVs and then automatically import sized PSV data into Aspen Flare. Using this set of tools can save your company 50% of time spent across the pressure relief workflow. 

It’s evident that time is money, and if you are spending an increasing amount of engineering hours on menial tasks, you’re likely sacrificing value somewhere else. With the removal of manual data transfer, you will be able to refocus your engineering hours on more important tasks. Additionally, leveraging tools like dynamic simulation to calculate relief loads can help to minimize potentially over conservative values that result from steady state simulation, thus reducing CAPEX up to 30%.

Manual data transfer also risks compromising the quality of your safety work. Unfortunately transcription errors happen to even the most detail-oriented people. AspenTech safety tools eliminate this possibility. Further, by using the PSV sizing tool within Aspen HYSYS, you can incorporate industry standards such as API 520, 521, and 2000 into calculations. This tool helps to automate documentation creations, ensuring compliance and speeding up work.

With the correct tools safety work no longer needs to be a time bottleneck on projects.

AspenTech provides a process safety solution that addresses each step of the safety workflow, including blowdown analysis through our newly released BLOWDOWN™ Technology. Our family of safety products aims to eliminate the menial and ineffective steps of your workflow.  This goal of this is not to take the thinking out of safety work, but rather to remove tedious steps so that time can be refocused on what really matters – making good engineering decisions and creating time for more thoughtful consideration on your projects.  To get a full picture of our safety solution, visit our safety resource page, today.


  • April 20, 2017 by Sandeep Mohan / 0 Comment

    Gain Deeper Insights Into Your Distillation Column Operations

    Distillation columns are critical pieces of equipment for many process industries, especially oil refineries. When refinery operators observe issues with their column operations such as column weeping and flooding, they typically resort to what they have learned from their past experiences to relieve the situation. These ad-hoc methods are available only to those operators who have had years of experience with that unit. Furthermore, these operational tweaks may only provide temporary relief and could lead to non-optimal functioning of the broader process unit. In addition, the lack of insight into the internal operations of the column forces refineries to operate columns very conservatively to meet product specifications. This situation causes additional energy to be consumed in reboilers and reflux condensers, increasing costs. The ideal solution to this problem sheds light on the root cause of operational issues without requiring a unit shutdown or expensive physical inspections. Read this blog to learn more!

  • January 25, 2017 by Sandeep Mohan / 0 Comment

    Learn How a European Refinery Saved Millions by Optimizing their Crude Preheat Train Network

    In a previous blog titled “Reduce Energy Costs in Refineries by Better Management of Heat Exchangers,” I described how energy consumption in a refinery can be affected by the layout of the heat exchanger network. Rigorous simulation of heat exchanger units, as well as the simulation of operations of the distillation units in the context of the broader refinery process simulation, allows engineers to identify opportunities to enhance the performance of their refinery process by improving their energy utilization. This is made possible by the latest advanced process simulation software that provides rigorous simulation of heat exchanger and column operations within the broader process simulation. Now you have an opportunity to see how a European refinery put this into practice and saved millions…

  • December 20, 2016 by Sandeep Mohan / 0 Comment

    The Refinery-Wide Simulation Model of the Future

    In a previous blog post, published in early November 2016, I referred to a “refinery-wide process simulation model of the future” that can rigorously analyze the entire refinery. I explained that such a model could estimate the impact of potential operational improvements on the refinery’s bottom line. Although I described the tremendous opportunities such a model would open up for refineries worldwide, there is nothing more exciting than seeing a demonstration of how a refinery-wide process model would actually help in real world refinery applications. Check out this video of an actual refinery-wide process simulation model developed in Aspen HYSYS®.

  • November 29, 2016 by Sandeep Mohan / 0 Comment

    Reduce Energy Costs in Refineries by Better Management of Heat Exchangers

    Heat exchangers play a very critical role in how well a refinery manages its energy requirements. For instance, the fouling up of crude pre-heat train heat exchangers are estimated to cost refineries worldwide around $4.5 Billion. The heat exchanger network layout in a refinery can impact its fuel consumption considerably. In addition, the fouling up of heat exchangers reduces energy utilization and increases fuel consumption overall. To avoid this, heat exchangers must undergo routine cleaning and maintenance. The challenge for refineries is determining the optimal time to remove each of the heat exchangers for maintenance so that profits are not impacted. Read this blog to learn how the latest innovations in process simulation technology help refiners better manage their heat exchanger network.

  • November 01, 2016 by Sandeep Mohan / 0 Comment

    The Refinery-wide Simulation Model of the Future has Arrived

    Refineries worldwide facing declining profit margins are craving every bit of optimization they can achieve from their refining process. Imagine having a tool to rigorously analyze the entire refinery-wide process and estimate the impact of potential operational improvements on the bottom line. And imagine that this tool can be maintained in-house without relying on expensive, third-party services. Is it too good to be true? No. The refinery-wide simulation you’ve imagined is here, today...

  • October 24, 2016 by Katherine Hird / 0 Comment

    The Perfect Pair - BLOWDOWN™ Technology in Aspen HYSYS®

    Confession: I’m a terrible cook. My recipe book is small and limited, frozen dinners fill my freezer, and I’m confident the smoke detectors in my kitchen are working after experiencing a few (unplanned) fire drills. Despite the fact that I'm far from being the next Emeril Lagasse, I'm an excellent food-tester and I know a good meal when I taste it. That being said, when it comes to food…some pairs are just made for one another.

  • October 03, 2016 by Sandeep Mohan / 0 Comment

    The “Tech” Maturity of Your Refinery: Where You Stand and How to Move Up

    While the world of crude oil refining has seen significant developments in process simulation, many refiners continue to leave money on the table by not taking full advantage of the growing range and sophistication of process optimization technology. To understand how your refinery and its process engineers can better use process simulation to improve profit margins, it is important to consider your company’s level of maturity in leveraging process optimization technology. Every refinery can be broadly classified in one of the following five maturity levels …

  • September 19, 2016 by Jennifer Dyment / 0 Comment

    Push Process Performance with Accurate Modeling Insights

    With limited knowledge of the clearance behind you, you might risk hitting another vehicle in a tight parking lot. You can avoid an accident by leaving extra space and readjusting multiple times. This will take longer, however, and may invite potential ridicule from anyone watching. Like parking a car, it’s important to have insight into your constraints when operating a gas plant. Without such insights, buffers need to be put into place to ensure process units in the plant operate consistently within the constraints set by production specifications, environmental regulations and equipment limitations. This is especially true for the Sulfur Recovery Unit …

  • August 24, 2016 by Sandeep Mohan / 0 Comment

    Sustaining Refinery Margins: How to Make Planning Tools More Effective

    Blog Abstract: Refineries worldwide are facing declining profit margins, and improving those margins is complicated by new markets, new feedstocks and new regulations coming into play. Decisions on what crude oil to process, what product slate to produce, and how to operate the refinery can have a huge impact on profit margins. To make the best decisions possible, refineries rely on planning software. Unfortunately, over time changes in feedstocks, product demand and operational and capacity issues lead to the planning models in the software becoming outdated. These outdated models lead to suboptimal decision-making, which could cost a refinery millions of dollars in profit. Learn how the latest version of Aspen HYSYS® presents a streamlined workflow to maintain your refinery planning models…

  • August 01, 2016 by Jennifer Dyment / 0 Comment

    Using Unified Technology to do More with Less

    My vacation photos from a year ago are stuck on my camera. To share them would require the tedious task of hooking up my camera to my computer and transferring the images. Using the unified, multipurpose technology of my smart phone, I can now take better quality photos and share them instantly with friends and family. In the same way smart phones drive efficiency in our daily lives, a powerful, multipurpose solution could open opportunities your organization to save time and money, and expand the range of analyses you can do. All of these are especially attractive in a down market when resources and staff are leaner than ever. The disparate solutions for various engineering tasks are one barrier to achieving this level of efficiency. Many organizations may find themselves settling for separate simulation tools that require manual data transfer, wasting time and risking errors. Learn how to cut your design time in half by eliminating multiple simulation tools used for the same gas plant…