STEP – is this the only standard in town?

At a meeting of the Institution of Chemical Engineer’s CAPE subject group last month, the AP231 protocol was questioned on its suitability for batch processes. Gert Gotz, University of Leeds, said AP231 could hinder intregration if it does not meet the needs of the CAPE (Computer Assisted Process Engineering) community. Gotz said that the scope […]

At a meeting of the Institution of Chemical Engineer’s CAPE subject group last month, the AP231 protocol was questioned on its suitability for batch processes.

Gert Gotz, University of Leeds, said AP231 could hinder intregration if it does not meet the needs of the CAPE (Computer Assisted Process Engineering) community. Gotz said that the scope of AP231 needs to be defined more clearly, as it was a muddle between equipment and duties.

Gotz said that once models had been defined, they should not restrict innovation for new designs. Julian Fowler, UK co-ordinator, said that at present there was a big requirements statement for AP231 which probably needs a detailed analysis.

* Meanwhile Stuart Lord said that critical mass has now been achieved in the process industry to drive STEP forward from user demand. He said: `STEP can take 30% off the capital cost of an assett and 10% off lifecycle costs’.

He also said that this was in line with the ACTIVE project objectives, an `onshore CRINE’, being pioneered by BP and other major oil companies.

He cited the ETAP project, valued at £1.6bn, stating that it cost around £2m just to hand over the documentation, with one part of the project requiring 10 sets of data – each 160 metres high!

`Our ability to create information exceeds our ability to manage it, which constrains business performance’, said Lord.

Approximately 30% of all documentation and maintenance procedures on an offshore project relates to instrumentation and control. Lord pointed to the success of STEP projects, such as Pippin, where several suppliers are not issuing compliant software. `Use of STEP in the process industries is unstoppable, despite a 10 year period, and it is the only show in town’, added Lord.

However, there are still concerns with STEP, as the standard is being used to migrate from the initial goal of exchanging information to sharing data to allow for concurrent engineering.