Cryst APC – Crystallization Advanced Process Control

The Grant Agreement for the project Cryst APC – Crystallization Advanced Process Control is signed. The project is launched on December 15, 2020, and will run for 36 months.

The purpose of this research is to develop a system that allows continuous monitoring and optimal control of the crystallization process. The developed system will have a wide range of applications - from scientific research to the transfer of technology to semi-industrial and industrial scale.

During the project implementation, state-of-the-art equipment will be installed in our laboratory. We expect this project will remarkably increase the potential of our research and cooperation with the process industry.

Published: 16.12.2020
Laboratory set-up for flow measurement and control

During the Covid-19 crisis lock-down (March to May), we installed a brand new laboratory exercise for flow measurement.

The exercise is equipped with variable area, differential pressure and orifice meter, vortex, magnetic, ultrasound transit-time and Coriolis flow transmitters. It also possible to measure and analyse the pressure drop along the piping, as well as the control valve operation.

The set-up is connected to our laboratory control system. In addition, a SCADA system for acquisition, control and subsequent analysis of measurement data has been developed and put in the function.


Published: 15.06.2020
Meeting of Young Chemical Engineers 2020

During the Meeting at the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology in February in Zagreb, we presented three papers. Poster presentations deal with the development of a Calibration Model for Continuous Particle Size Distribution Monitoring, Support Vector Machine-based Soft Sensors for the Isomerization Process and Identification and Prediction of the Fouling Formation in Heat Exchangers.

Published: 21.02.2020
Determination of the foaming tendency of diesel fuels

In December we completed and installed system for testing the foaming of diesel fuels at the INA Central Testing Laboratory in Zagreb.

Instruments and apparatus meet the requirements of NF M07-075 standard for testing method. The system is equipped with two photoelectric cells, a pressure gauge, three solenoid valves for control, a vacuum pump, glass beakers and a engraved cylinder.

The electrical cabinet contains a controller and all necessary I/O communication.

Software application is installed to automatically run the experiment and generate testing reports according to the standard.


Published: 23.12.2019
Heat transfer laboratory set-up

Heat transfer processes are often encountered in the industry and it is necessary to pay attention to the process design and performance.

Designed in our laboratory, we install set-up for thermal process dynamics analysis. Dynamic process models are developed based on experimental data to teach the fundamentals of process control and controller tuning.

With the set-up a number of experiments can be performed to determine the static and dynamic characteristics of the process and control loop behaviour. Based on the performed experiments, student now can calculate parameters and optimize the controller performance.


Published: 18.11.2019
Our participation at the European Congress of Chemical Engineering

In September we presented our research at the 12th European Congress of Chemical Engineers in Florence. We participated with a poster presentation titled Fouling Detection in Industrial Heat Exchanger Using Neural Network Models as part of the mini symposia: Energy and Chemical Engineering.
The heat exchanger performance is assessed by comparing results of heat transfer coefficient of clean and fouled systems. The performance criteria of developed models together with residual monitoring indicate that the neural networks effectively detect fouling formation.

Poster presentation (pdf)

Published: 27.09.2019
Predictive diagnostics in the INA/MOL refinery plant

During the first part of 2019, we conducted a pilot project for predictive diagnostics of heat exchangers for INA/MOL Rijeka Refinery.
On-line monitoring system was designed and established for the heat exchanger diagnostics at hydrocracking plant. Machine learning optimized models are developed for predicting degree of fouling. Monitoring system will be used for maintaining operation efficiency and predictive maintenance.

Published: 22.07.2019
Summer school of robotics

Organized by the Student Section of the Croatian Society of Chemical Engineering and Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology (LAM) the Summer School of Robotics was held from July 8 to 10.
During the first day lectures on topic Industry 4.0 were given to introduce participants to the world of robotics, sensors, additive manufacturing and to its application in the industry. Second day, each of the participants had the opportunity to disassemble and assemble simple mBots and become familiar with the programming of robot functions. On the third day of school, the participants were divided into teams and participated in a mini-competition in which they applied the acquired knowledge.
With 30 participants from various institutions, the interest of young professionals was considerable as well as an opportunity for networking and encouraging interdisciplinary work among students.

Published: 15.07.2019
Visit to Siemens Living Laboratory

We spent a useful day at the Siemens Living Laboratory on April 16 in Vienna in company with our colleagues from Pliva/Teva TAPI and our kind hosts.
The Living Lab is a unique pilot plant for the development and demonstration of automation solutions. The focus is on the process industry: in particular the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. In a combination of laboratory, production plant and control room, answers to current questions about Pharma 4.0 are given including extensive discussion on application in the pharmaceutical industry.

Published: 22.04.2019
Optimization of batch production at PLIVA/TEVA API plants

The purpose of current project in pharmaceutical API production is to optimize control performance during batch production. The main goal is to improve temperature control strategy in order to optimize overall batch process control. The results are reduced temperature oscillations and optimized heating/cooling sequences which bring improved and easier monitoring and control, a shorter batch run cycle and extends equipment’s service period.

Published: 05.11.2018
Visit to Siemens Industrie park Karlsruhe and Höchst Industriepark in Frankfurt

On October 11 & 12 we visited Siemens sites in Karlsruhe and Frankfurt. It was an unique opportunity to see the state-of-the-art process control equipment production and met Siemens expert team to discuss current trends in the process industry and automation. Furthermore, we have visited the Höchst industrial park in Frankfurt with Siemens process and safety engineering laboratories and experienced R&D stuff.

Our visit and contacts are step forward in the cooperation which has already begun in Zagreb by opening our process control laboratory and organizing education and trainings.

Published: 19.10.2018
Osisoft PI EMEA 2018

OSIsoft EMEA Users Conference was held in Barcelona in September with a series of customer presentations, thematic panels, demonstrations of software tools and interactive workshops. The emphasis was on advanced analytics and machine learningenterprise infrastructure and business intelligence.

Within the academic session we give a presentation titled Using the PI System in Chemical Engineering Education and Research.  The emphasis was on predictive maintenance of the process equipment and our laboratory process control system.

During the event we have established contacts with academic programme stuff and discussed with the PI experts on using of real plant data and solving industrial problems.

Published: 01.10.2018
ACHEMA 2018 fair in Frankfurt

In June we were a part of the biggest world forum on chemical engineering and process industry – ACHEMA.

During the event we, jointly with our USA partner PiControl Solutions, gave a presentation titled Multivariable Identification and PID/APC Optimization for Real Plant Application in the section: Plant control and optimization.

The presentation covers closed-loop system identification, controller tuning and advanced process control using simple and affordable software package.  The presentation was attended by more than 50 process control specialists, plant managers and other fair visitors.

Published: 20.06.2018
Real-time monitoring and control of crystallization process

In cooperation with our partners MKP Ltd. and industrial experts we are developing real-time monitoring and control laboratory crystallization system.

The goal is implementation of PAT (Process analytical technology) techniques to employ real-time measurement of relevant process variables for the crystallization process control (e.g. supersaturation, number of crystal particles, crystal size distribution, polymorphic form). Real-time measurement will allow better understanding of the process and open up opportunity for advanced process control.

Published: 20.04.2018
Heat Exchanger Diagnostics

Due to reduced energy efficiency caused by fouled heat exchangers in industrial plants there is a need for detection of fouling formation. Models  of artificial neural networks for detecting the fouling have been developed. The models are intended for fouling detection and heat transfer coefficient calculation for preventive and predictive maintenance of the industrial shell and tube heat exchangers. By monitoring the efficiency of the heat exchanger, it is possible to systematically plan the maintenance and determine the optimal cleaning time.

Published: 30.03.2018
Laboratory photobioreactor in Centre for Marine Research

In a cooperation with our spin-off company Comprehensive Water Technology (CWT) we designed photobioreactor system for Ruđer Bošković Institute – Center for Marine Research in the town of Rovinj.
Photobioreactors are installed for the purpose of algae production process development under the controlled condition (temperature, pH and light intensity). Produced algae are attended to be used as a raw material for biodiesel production.
CWT designed control cabinet and the photobioreactor set-up, while LAM designed the control system by application of Siemens S7-1200 PLC and PC-station SCADA software. Developed system enables continuous monitoring, control and data acquisition for later analysis and research. 

Published: 05.11.2017
Osisoft EMEA Users Conference 2017

OSIsoft EMEA Users Conference was held in London in October with a series of presentations, thematic panels, demonstrations of software tools and interactive workshops. The emphasis was on big data, IIoT & Industry 4.0, enterprise infrastructure and business intelligence.

Among others we attended the academic session where we discussed with the OSISoft experts the application in students’ education and for industrial cooperation.

We went from the meeting with an enthusiasm and new ideas for application of advanced predictive technology in the process industry for ​​monitoring and analysis of plant and process equipment performance.

Published: 27.10.2017
Our student achievements during academic year 2016-2017

Ana-Marija Tomić, Dženita Šola and Andreja Žužić received the Rector's award from the University of Zagreb for their project Analysis and optimizing of plant operation. They have analyzed, diagnosed and optimized control loop performance in the refinery plant.
Fran Jazbec defended his Master’s thesis on Design and simulation of natural gas purification process control in July 2016.
Dominik Načinović presented his Bachelor's thesis on Cement kiln control on September 2, 2017. Dominik has already won one award for his study on self-cleaning concrete.
Luka Tomičak defended his Bachelor's thesis Control valves on September 20, 2017.
Filip Crnković presented his Bachelor's thesis titled Temperature control on September 22, 2017.
Ana-Marija Tomić defended her Master's thesis Temperature control in batch reactors on September 26, 2017. In her work she analyzed, diagnosed and optimized temperature control loops in pharmaceutical batch reactors.

Published: 29.09.2017
New process control laboratory

Newly equipped process control laboratory was solemnly opened today at our Department.  

After six months of reconstruction the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology in cooperation with Siemens AG and partner company ARP modernized the Laboratory for automation and measurement (LAM).

Within laboratory set-up modern control system with five typical process industry units is put into operation, all supported by the latest generation of SIMATIC PCS7 control system.

The new laboratory in Zagreb offers students, employees and partners the opportunity to train process measurement and control with state-of-the-art equipment.

Using cutting-edge digital systems, the training of future chemical engineers and life-learning education attendants, as well as commissioning engineers and operators, will take place here. 

Published: 09.06.2017
Industrial humidification system for Eriochem S.A.

During 2016 we designed the industrial humidification system now applied in pharmaceutical company Eriochem S.A., Argentina. The aim of the project was to design automated system for easy, safe and flexible humidification process. The humidification system includes supply water tank, vaporizer, delivery system and flow/temperature control system. Siemens PLC S7-1200 with HMI control panel is configured for process monitoring, control and data acquisition.

Developed industrial humidification process system enables accurate and repeatable production, safe and efficient process control as well as continuous data acquisition.

Published: 01.03.2017
Process control performance improvement at INA Rijeka Refinery

In January 2017 we have finished one year-long project at the INA Rijeka Refinery which included:

• Detail analysis, diagnosis and optimization of control loops at 3 groups of plants (GP-1, GP-2 and GP-3);
• Installation and implementation of the modern monitoring and diagnostics system, identification and control loop tuning and simulation software.

350 control loops were analyzed and diagnosed. Based on the historical data control loop models were identified. Ultimately, the control loops were tuned using a high-level optimization tool and their performance was tested in the control room.

As the results 12 newly configured and 32 reconfigured control loops increase automation level of the plants. 30 control loops are switched from manual to auto mode.  In 54 control loops we reduced or eliminated oscillation thus increasing the overall plant stability. Sensor or valve problems were detected on 37 control loops. It is estimated that the number of alarms is reduced by 50 %. Finally, variability of the products properties and quality measures are reduced.

Published: 01.02.2017
Optimisation project at INA Rijeka Refinery

We have just initiated large-scale project with the aim to provide monitoring, analysis and tuning of more than 350 control loops at the Rijeka Refinery process units.
Control loop audit will include diagnostics of the field instrumentation and control valves, define sources of variability and oscillation, and poor control loop performance.

The analysis will be foundation for control loops optimization which will result with decreased number of control loops in manual mode, reduced variability of controlled variables and more stable operation.
Additionally, the implementation of the advanced software package will provide a possibility to perform controller tuning education and on-site optimisation.
It is expected after project completion increased productivity, decreased equipment failures and prolonged service time, as well as increased process safety. All mentioned is a good base for advanced process control real application.

Published: 10.01.2016
Laboratory batch reactor automatization in PLIVA (TEVA) R&D

The project of laboratory batch reactor automatization and optimisation was carried out during 2015 at the PLIVA R&D department. The aim of the project was to design modern process control system for easy, safe and flexible experimentation.
Developed batch process control system will enable safe and efficient process control, accurate and repeatable experimentation as well as continuous data acquisition for later analysis of experimental results.

More details (pdf)

Published: 10.01.2016