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Trend Report

Modeling and Simulation: From Field-Tests to Computer Models

| Editor: Matthias Back

For the oil, gas and chemical industries the traditional market leaders are Aspen Hysys (hydrocarbons) and Aspen Plus (chemicals) from Aspen Tech; Uni Sim (developed from the same code base as Hysys) from Honeywell; and Simsci Pro/II from Schneider Electric.

Pro Max from Bryan Research and Engineering is a strong challenger to Hysys and Uni Sim, especially among smaller customers. Other important players include Chemcad (Chemstations), Design II (Win Sim), Pro Sim Plus and the Simulis software family (both of Pro Sim) as well as VMG Sim (Virtual Materials Group).

Tailored Solutions for Specialists

Alongside their flowsheet simulators, all the large vendors supply packages and tools aimed at specialist industries (e.g. fuel cells), processes (e.g. crude units), equipment items (e.g. heat exchangers), and design techniques (e.g. heat recovery networks and financial analysis). Since flowsheet modelling depends on accurate characterisation of individual feed-stocks and products, databases of physical properties and predictive “equations of state” are key to every simulator.

The gap between physical property data within any database and the models within the simulators can either be closed by using specialized software tools like DECHEMA's Data Preparation Package DPP or in most cases with inbuilt tools from the different vendors. Several of the original flowsheet simulators, notably Aspen Plus, are derived from publicly funded research projects, and open source competitors are available as well, though not to the same extent as in CFD.

A recent review of the open source DWSIM simulator rated it comparable in some ways to Aspen HYSYS, Pro Sim and VMG Sim. Both DW Sim and another open source simulator project, EMSO, originate in Brazil.

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