Flowsheet is at the core of any chemical and metallurgical business. It defines how the economic value is created by transforming chemically and physically raw materials into saleable products.
How effectively the flowsheet is managed to sustain the economic value over time defines the competitive advantage of the metallurgical and chemical operations in the 21st century knowledge economyREAD NEXT
What is a Flowsheet?
It is a sequenced conversion of raw materials chemically (unit process)
and physically (unit operation) into desired products at highest possible margin.
How well do you know if you can differentiate between your unit processes and unit operations?
Why use a Flowsheet?
A flowsheet defines the requirements (quality, quantity, price) for all
the resources required to transform the raw materials into final products.
Companies aspire to improve their effectiveness in the management of every resource, but what about the flowsheet as the key competitive resource and advantage of the company?
How effectively are your chemical & metallurgical operations set up to manage the
flowsheet and the value it is designed to create?
Metallurgical Operations around the world face ever-increasing num ber of challenges that impact the effectiveness of their flowsheet designs
High operating costs (labour, transportation, power)
Increasing regulatory and societal pressure for environmental stewardship
Increasing requirement for resource efficiency and recycling to meet environmental and economic objectives
Increasing complexity of recycling material types and life cycle management challenges
Multiple sources of feeds that require better logistics and blending
More complex feeds with more impurities, but better margins
Need for more complex metallurgical flowsheets to process “impure” feeds
Shortage of qualified metallurgical personnel (retirement, industry availability)
Tougher product specification (quality) set by customers
Sustainable Flowsheet: Triple Bottom Line Management
Maintain the social license to operate the flowsheet by:
- continuously evaluating the intention of key social license holders to support the changes to the flowsheet
- identifying the gaps in the social license to operate the flowsheet as designed
- implementing actions to achieve positive level of support from all the social license holders
Maintain or increase the growth rate of the flowsheet’s margin / profitability by:
- minimising the deviations from the designed chemical & metallurgical performance of the flowsheet
- optimizing the flowsheet design to scale up metallurgical constraints and reduce the cost of processing
- introducing new unit operations / processes to process new “dirtier” / higher margin feeds and products
Maintain the environmental license to operate the flowsheet by:
- complying with ever-tightening environmental regulations
- reducing designed and actual environmental footprint and waste generated by the flowsheet while processing “dirtier” feeds
- maintaining positive level of support from all the environmental license holders
Based on the survey with the senior management of Chemical & Metallurgical business units, the following definition of the flowsheet management is developed:
A set of organisational processes and tasks to be performed which impact critical value drivers which enable flowsheet challenges to be managed. These will deliver a sustainable margin growth rate, whilst maintaining social license to operate the flowsheet, and reducing environmental impact.
Flowsheet is economically viable and sustainable, if “Margin” indicators are more stable over 5 years than “Lost Opportunities” indicators
“Margin” Indicators over the last 5 years
- The costs of metallurgical processing
- The consumption of reagents / utilities
- flowsheet’s margin / profitability grown
- metallurgical capacity / volume
- TRecoveries planned ROI for any modifications and additions to the flowsheet is achieved?
- Is the Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) trend is stable and / or consistently increasing over last 5 years?
“Lost Opportunities” Indicators over the last 5 years
- Deviations from the designed margin of the flowsheet gradual
- The number of metallurgical upsets
- Mean Time to Troubleshoot the metallurgical upsets
- The cost of metallurgical upsets
- The difference between the design blend (composition / flowrate) and actual blend fed into circuits?
- Mean Time Between Metallurgical Upsets
By measuring the “loss” or “exceeded margin” indicators to show the gaps in how a company manages its flowsheet, will result in the opportunities to improve the value the flowsheet can generate.
Flowsheet Value Drivers
To improve the flowsheet performance and increase or and sustain the value created by the flowsheet, it is critical to understand the factors that drive the “flowsheet margin” and reduce “flowsheet losses”.
Establish and increase the economic margin that Flowsheet is designed to generate
Reduce deviations from Flowsheet Designed Performance including losses of unwanted events
Optimise the Flowsheet Design, Control & Perfromance and increasing ROCE
Reduce emission footprint and waste of resources generated by Flowsheet, maintaining social license to operate.
Improve the standard of chemical and metallurgical work, its reliable delivery in comparison to the competitors
Employ digital technologies to transform the nature of chemical & metallurgical work to improve flowsheet process effectiveness
Flowsheet Management Capability
Flowsheet Management Capability of an organization is the capability to perform effectively the tasks that impact the flowsheet value drivers to continuously increase and sustain the value generated by the flowsheet.
85 CRITICAL TASKS FOR EFFECTIVE FLOWSHEET MANAGEMENT
En-Sync 8020 uses the following 85 critical tasks to evaluate the effectiveness of flowsheet management. They also identify the drivers, the focus on which can improve the value generated by the flowsheet:
Set of critical flowsheet management capability indicators to assess the quality of Flowsheet Management.
- Number of critical tasks performed
- Accountabilities and authorities for critical tasks
- Complexity of critical tasks
- Competency requirements to perform critical tasks effectively
- Competent personnel accountable for critical tasks execution and management
Flowsheet Potential Improvement
Based on En-Sync 8020’s experience, 3 types of potential for a flowsheet improvement can be identified at metallurgical or chemical operations:
metallurgical deviation management
- Back to Flowsheet Fundamentals
- Reviewed flowsheet performance and design
- Reviewed control strategy
- Better deviation control (detective and corrective controls, troubleshooting)
- Better descriptive and diagnostic analytics
existing metallurgical performance and capacity to the design
- Flowsheet Standardization
- Better Feed/ blend stability due to better feed planning, blending strategy and compliance, optimal blend modelling, blend monitoring, etc.
- Better preventive controls and predictive analytics to further reduce deviations
- Critical control management to minimise a number of metallurgical upsets
metallurgical performance and capacity to drive margins
- Introduced new products with better margins and new Units Process / Operation
- New feeds for existing products with more impurities and better margins (modifications to existing Units Process / Operation
- Stable feed supply and optimal blend
- Increased Flowsheet capacity and reducing cost of processing
- Flowsheet Excellence