What is Process Modelling?

Process modelling is a tool for reducing technical risk.  In the case of new processes or applications, it enables people to rationally evaluate process economics, rank alternatives, plan and execute experimental work etc., much more effectively than is otherwise possible.  Correctly applied, it uncovers flaws in envisaged circuits before the expenditure of significant amounts of time, effort and money.   Where that happens, the project concerned can be rationally changed or abandoned and the resources applied elsewhere.  When an envisaged project is shown to be fundamentally sound, the required time, effort and money can be applied with much greater confidence.  A demonstrably sound envisaged circuit should also facilitate the raising of capital for ongoing development.

In operating plants, present realities force the owners of process plants to minimize costs, including fixed costs such as salaries and benefits.  One result of that is that the people operating these plants are fully occupied with immediate problems, daily objectives, etc.  They have neither the time nor the ambiance for deep reflection and thorough understanding of their process.  This can severely limit their ability to improve the existing operation or exploit new opportunities.  Plant operators do not make operating changes lightly, for very good reasons – without a complete understanding of the entire circuit, changes to one part of a circuit can upset it elsewhere, and such events can be extremely costly.

Better understanding of any circuit will lead to a better bottom line, through better design and/or operation.  Modelling is an extremely effective technique for generating better understanding of processes.

A major problem confronting the manager who wants the benefits that process modelling offers is the need to acquire the relevant software and assign it to someone from an already busy team, then shelter that person for long enough for him/her to become competent. If the person assigned is new to process modelling, he/she will need several months to master the software, and several more to begin producing useful results - a realistic lag time would be at least a year.  However, people move or are promoted, which makes the risk of never getting the envisaged benefit from the exercise unacceptably high.

The way around this challenge is to outsource process modelling.  Arithmetek Inc. brings both software and experience to bear, works with the relevant people, builds the process model and then either runs it for the people concerned or teaches them how to use it and understand the results.  That short-circuits that learning curve and delivers what clients need in a realistic timeframe – a working model of the process, that can be used to rationally evaluate and optimize the entire circuit, analyze and justify proposed changes, etc.