ULTRAMAX-Advanced Process Management


Advanced Process Management

© Copyright 2012 Ultramax Corporation (UMC), Cincinnati, OH USA.  All rights reserved.

Ultramax® improves the efficiency of production / manufacturing operations with existing equipment and controls.  Annual gains in industry usually range from a few $100K/yr to a few $1,000K/yr per process, many with various levels of Advanced Process Control (APC).

How?  Operating efficiency is managed by the decisions made on the adjustment values of controlling setpoints (i.e., the key directions given to the Process Control System to run the process).  Ultramax’s intelligent analytics software continually learns from accumulating run data, and guides how to adjust (tune) the process to bring operations up to its maximum possible efficiency.  Thus, as per the metrics defined by the user, Ultramax delivers reliability complying with requirements (safety, quality, regulations, commitments), plus productivity and economic gains.  Thus, it completes the existing Process Control System, and complements Engineering, Lean and Six-Sigma design and improvements.

Ultramax’s Supervisory Control has been applied to hundreds of production / manufacturing operations: batch, continuous, discrete and bulk; stand-alone (manual) or integrated.  Examples are: Chemicals, Power Generation (100 boilers), Paper / Nonwovens, Plastics / Composite Materials Molding, Semiconductors, Soaps / Detergents, Food Processing, Pharmaceuticals, Metals, Machining/Metal Removal, Painting / Coating, Pigments / Dyes, etc.  Typical performance metrics that drive optimization: safety, quality (within specs, closeness to targets, purity, consistency), productivity / throughput, costs, losses, energy & materials consumption, margins / profits, environmental impact, KPIs, regulations, etc.  See examples in www.ultramax.com/Applications.htm.

Ultramax is also highly effective for making other types or quantitative decisions when based on outcomes from consecutive (sequential) tests, to enable ongoing learning how to improve.  Examples could be decisions in Design (of products, processes, procedures) based on tests in laboratories, prototypes, pilot plants, simulators, etc.; and in Tuning Parameters (of rules, treatments, algorithms).  

Most quantitative decisions undergo some level of optimization, from based on experience to using various analytic solutions.  The use and scope of optimization analytics based on first creating models (e.g. First-Principles simulation, DOE and NN) are limited by the time they take, the technical proficiency required, and often the risks in wide-ranging experimental or validation runs.  Ultramax is not based on creating models up-front, but on (patented)Ongoing learning from experience how to do better™”, offering faster and safer gains.  In addition, it is simpler to use even in comprehensive (holistic) problems, thus yielding better results at lower costs.

The analytics engine used is “Sequential Empirical Optimization” (SEO).  Starting with a cycle with the user’s best known process adjustments, each SEO cycle modulates the adjustments and adds the consequent outcome data to its intelligent cause-and-effect analysis to advice smart, safe adjustment decisions for the next cycle.  These SEO cycles extrapolate and converge quickly to adjustments that yield maximum performance in many fewer runs than experiments in other empirical optimization solutions.  Also, the ‘optimization scope’ can be refined as users expand their insights, offering flexibility and reducing up-front planning demands. 

Ultramax is generic and automatic, handling manual data entry up to autonomous closed-loop optimization.  The advised adjustments compensate (feed-forward) for changes in measured imposed conditions (e.g., raw materials and fuel characteristics, ambient, load, process elements used, etc.).  Sensitivity analyses indicate the value of relaxing requirements or expanding design limitations.   

In addition, Ultramax offers a method to evaluate performance that enables comparison of business benefits among runs when the full economic impact of some metrics is unknown.  This solution readily captures and incorporates a team’s shared values about technical and business trade-offs of various metrics, as instilled by management culture and practice.  Such evaluation is required for true production optimization, and is valuable on its own right just for plant personnel daily awareness.  

UMC and Agencies world-wide provide software licenses and several services.  We are eager for you to experience the improvements in performance over your current methods.  We offer at no cost a preliminary evaluation of applicability.  Just ask...  If you can evaluate benefits in economic terms and there is sufficient potential, we have programs that guarantee 100% annual ROI.  Do ask... 

We look forward to providing tools and services to enhance the effectiveness and productivity of your processes, products and personnel; particularly worthwhile in today’s competitive economy.

Ultramax Corporation and Agencies

Our site at www.ultramax.com contains a Technical Summary, Video, List of Clients, List of Suppliers, Examples, FAQ, Whitepapers and a Bibliography.  For further details the “Blue Book” can be downloaded, read pages 1-8. 

Contact: ultramax@ultramax.com , or call Dr. Carlos W. Moreno, Cincinnati, OH, USA  +1 513 469-8629