Smart Manufacturing for Chemical Processing: Energy Efficient Operation of Air Separation Unit

Project Lead: Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES)
Partners: Praxair, Process Systems Enterprise, AspenTech, OSISoft, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Texas Austin

Member % Cost Share: 42%
CESMII % Cost Share: 58%
Duration: 24 Months

Problem Statement

An Air Separation Unit (ASU) is a complex and energy intensive process for chemical industries. Sub-optimal performance of these processes result in a loss of energy efficiency. For Praxair in the US, each 1% in operating efficiency is worth about $10 M/yr.

Project Goal

The goal of this project is to develop a number of SM Platform™ ready tools and deploy them on Praxair’s commercial Air Separation Unit for improving energy efficiency.

Technical Approach

Create data acquisition tools, asset templates and predictive tools for the air separation units and demonstrate their application in an integrated environment.

Deliverables/Outcomes/SM Marketplace

  • Developed complete data model templates for the air separation unit to enable integration between data acquisition and modeling & control environments.
  • Configured and populated necessary cloud data historian infrastructure using wired and wireless data streams required by the ASU plant models and asset monitoring analytics.
  • Developed complete analysis and process benchmarking tools; process monitoring tools; optimization tools; advanced process control tools; planning and scheduling tools.
  • Apps for analysis and process benchmarking for Air Separation Units
  • Information model/data template for creating an Air Separation Unit SM Profile

Potential Impact

Increase in operating efficiencies of Air Separation Units estimated at $10M/yr. for one large manufacturer, with potentially similar impact to other manufacturers with similar ASUs Contributes to CESMII’s energy reduction and energy productivity goals


  • Data templates, models, analytics tools available to other members with similar processes through the SM Platform™
  • Contribution to the SM Platform™ core technologies (data acquisition, contextualization and apps)

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