Use of process analytics in aromatics (BTX and Phenol) production plants – Case Study

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Courtesy of Siemens Industry, Inc. - Process Analytics

Aromatics are planar, cyclic compounds with conjugated double bonds, consisting of the elements carbon and hydrogen. Aromatics are important intermediates and used as starting materials for a wide range of products. Aromatics are derived from crude oil and, in small quantities, from coal.

Process automation equipment including gas chromatographs and other process analyzers contribute essentially to control and optimize these processes.

Siemens, a leader in process analytics, has proven worldwide its competence to plan, engineer, manufacture, implement and service analyzer systems for use in aromatics producing plants.

Aromatics, phenols

Aromatics, so called because of their distinctive perfumed smell, are hydrocarbons that consist exclusively of the elements carbon and hydrogen. The basic aromatics are benzene, toluene and the xylenes (BTX). In chemical industry, the BTX aromatics - largely produced from petroleum - are highly important. They help to fulfill human needs in many areas, such as health, hygiene, housing and food. Examples are pharmaceuticals (Aspirin, Penicillin), packaging materials, clothes, car tires, sport articles, CDs etc.

Phenols are a class of aromatical compounds consisting of a hydroxyl group (-O H) attached to an aromatic hydrocarbon group. The simplest of the class is phenol (C6H5OH). It is a flammable, colorless or white solid with a strong sweet odor. It is usually sold and used as a liquid, because it dissolves fairly well in water.

The largest market for phenol is in the production of Bisphenol A (BPA), which is manufactured from phenol and acetone. BPA is, in turn, used to manufacture polycarbonate and epoxy resins. Both polycarbonate and epoxy resins are used in many industries and in countless items like CDs or circuit boards or fibre glass. Several routes exist for the production of phenol. Today, the oxidation of Cumene (produced from benzene) is by far the most common route.

Process analyzers, mainly process gas chromatographs, are standard in phenol production plants. They deliver key data to process and product quality control and plant asset management.

Siemens provides efficient analyzers, analyzer systems, expertise and solutions to these tasks.

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