Lighthammer platform helps integrate pipeline operations

Air Products and Chemicals Inc. has successfully deployed Lighthammer’s Collaborative Manufacturing Suite (CMS) as the software platform for optimizing its West Gulf Coast pipeline operations.

By Control Engineering Staff February 2, 2005

Air Products and Chemicals Inc . has successfully deployed Lighthammer ’s Collaborative Manufacturing Suite (CMS) as the software platform for optimizing its West Gulf Coast pipeline operations. The implementation brought improvements to asset management, demand planning, and energy procurement activities for a pipeline network fed by multiple production facilities around the Houston Ship Channel. The system is expected to yield savings through better efficiency and enhanced customer responsiveness.

“Integrating plant demand, asset availability, and customer orders for eight production facilities was a difficult requirement,” said Tom Yurchak, technical lead for the Air Products initiative. “Lighthammer’s ability to easily aggregate this information enables us to accurately complete our demand calculations in a timely manner and allows us to schedule our assets more effectively. Additionally, Lighthammer streamlined the integration among our various plant and business systems, facilitating our objective to complete the entire energy forecasting and purchasing cycle electronically.”

The new capabilities were implemented at the company’s LaPorte, TX, Customer Service Center. Remote versions of the technology were also deployed at eight production sites in the West Gulf Coast that supply products to large refinery and petrochemical customers in the region. The system let Air Products aggregate the needs of large energy consumers into a common framework, improving production scheduling and cost-effective purchasing.

CMS provides real-time visibility to all process, production, and energy information. Said Tony Colalillo, oxygen/nitrogen pipeline business manager for Air Products, “The ability to manage production requirements from multiple plants against customer demand presents one set of challenges. The added complexities introduced by the deregulated energy environment and fluctuating energy prices caused us to look for a solution that integrates all of this disparate data into one environment.”

—Jeanine Katzel, senior editor, Control Engineering,