Flowsheet Modelling


This is a guest article from a colleague Dr. Stephen Gay, MIDAS Tech Int. Pty. Ltd. (MTI), who is focusing on flowsheet-based process modelling.

What is flowsheet modelling?

Flowsheets are often described to describe ‘processes’. Flowsheets are used by software developers for initial design of software; yet they are also used for engineers for understanding say the operation of a mineral processing plant (or chemical engineering plant or indeed factory).

Arguably the most common flowsheet system is Microsoft Visio; yet flowsheets can also be constructed in Excel. Flowsheets can be considered to consist of streams and units. In flowsheet language these are ‘connectors’ and ‘shapes’. Using some advanced computation strategies it is possible to associate each unit with a particular set of calculations or modules. Similarly it is possible to associate a ‘connector’ with a set of data in Excel.

So by ‘simulating’ a flowsheet one is simply interrogating the flowsheet one unit at a time and performing the set of required calculations for each unit. Of course, easier said than done. The applications provided here are a set of flowsheet modelling components; whose focus is indeed to provide the user with the capability of creating their own customised flowsheet simulation systems. The full set of applications are not yet available; but this is the long-term objective. Apps contained here are of course early-release; and feedback (with a view to improvement) is highly encouraged.

The end objective is that the flowsheet simulation system will be low-cost; particularly suited to universities and prototyping more advanced applications.

MTI Install Manager (free)

The applications generally consist of a number of addins. To easily install these addins on your computer the Installation Manager is used. Download includes easy to understand manual.

MTI Systems Ribbon Interface (free)

Used to specify what MIDAS Tech applications have been downloaded.

For developers who want to distribute their own applications a setup Manager is also

The SetUp Manager allows all addins (and manuals and license agreements, etc.) to be distributed easily if the user has the Installation Manager.

MTI Applications Ribbon Interface (free)

All applications developed by Stephen are run from a Ribbon Interface. Download includes easy to understand manual.

A youtube tutorial on how to construct Ribbon interfaces is also available

Excel flowsheet system

Excel provides flowsheet capability, but it requires some addins to make the flowsheet system easily compatible with the flowsheet simulation system.

Hence MIDAS Tech provides Excel functions to enable better use of flowsheets – particularly reading icons from a datasource.

A youtube video is available:

Mineral processing icons

MIDAS Tech originally developed applications for mineral processing and broadened out to more general applications. This component is a set of mineral processing and mining icons that (using the MTI Excel flowsshet system) can be easily used in Excel

A youtube video is available:

Constructing the connection matrix for a flowsheet

Of course constructing a flowsheet is only one task. The next task is to make the flowsheet useful for process modelling. A key step is constructing the connection matrix. This application constructs the connection matrix for both Excel and Visio flowsheets (and in some cases can be adapted for other flowsheet systems) as separate products.

For Excel

For Visio

A youtube video explaining the connection matrix is available: