Improving root cause analysis by detecting and removing transient changes in oscillatory time series with application to a 1,3-butadiene process

13 Nov 2019

Oscillations occurring in industrial process plants often reflect the presence of severe disturbances affecting process operations. Accurate detection and root-cause analysis of oscillations is of great interest for the economic viability of the process operation. Standard oscillation detection and root cause analysis methods require a large enough number of data samples. Unrelated transient changes superimposed on the oscillation pattern reduce the number of useful data samples. The present paper proposes simple heuristic methods to effectively detect and remove two types of transient changes from oscillatory signals, namely step changes and spikes. The proposed methods are used to preprocess oscillatory time series. The accuracy gained when using autocorrelation function method for oscillation detection (Thornhill et al., 2003) and transfer entropy method for oscillation propagation (Bauer et., 2007) is experimentally evaluated. The methods are carried out on a 1,3-butadiene production process where several measurements showed an established oscillation occurring after a production level change.