Sept 10, 2021

In the Process industries, distillation columns often play an important role.  The primary function of a distillation column is to separate liquids from nonvolatile solids.  For instance, distillation columns are vital in the refining of crude oil.  It separates products into their different chemical components for further processing by other units.  Essentially, distillation columns are used to separate liquid mixtures into their own components.


With the importance of distillation columns, developing a well-versed understanding of them should be a top priority of all personnel working in the Process industries.  Our course, “Control and Operation of Distillation Columns” was developed specifically to address this need.


This hands-on, three-day course features a mixture of short lectures, videos, dynamic simulation models, and workshop exercises.  Its main purpose is to offer a comprehensive overview of distillation technology and an introduction to a variety of processes that utilize this key unit operation.  Additionally, the principles of distillation will be covered in order to enter into further depth around the control, operation, and design of distillation equipment.


The course is designed to suit a variety of skill and knowledge levels and, therefore, no prior knowledge or experience with distillation columns is required.  Regardless of prior experience, the material of the course will help develop and enhance the knowledge of any delegate working with distillation columns.  Specifically, the course is most well suited for operations personnel whose work scope involves any number of tasks related to the management, control and operation of distillation units in a variety of refinery process plants.


Built on a modular basis, the learning outcomes of each module build upon the learning achieved in the previous session.  In terms of specific modules, the course is broken apart into 9 main units, which are outlined below.

  • Principles of Distillation
    • Kinetic theory
    • Raoult & Dalton laws
    • Phase diagrams
    • Relative volatility
    • Boiling point diagrams
  • Distillation Process
    • Rectification
    • Tray theory and reflux
    • Stripping and re-boil
    • A simple binary distillation system using packet towers
  • Process Control
    • Understanding PFS and P & ID’s
    • Pressure/ temperature control
    • Energy/ mass balances control
    • Reflux/ condenser control
    • Quality control
    • Exercise on control loops
  • Control Systems
    • Control strategies
    • Control systems
    • Instrumented protection
    • Exercise on control troubleshooting
  • Tower Design
    • Design and types of trays
    • Re-boil design and configuration
    • Design of feed entry and flash zone
    • Design of liquid draw-off including draw-off trays
    • Reflux distribution
    • Packed tower design
  • Fractional Distillation
    • NGL separation
    • Control strategies
    • Complete process flow sheet
    • Exercise on depropaniser operations
  • Crude Oil Distillation
    • CDU flow sheet
    • Feed preheat and desalting
    • Heater design
    • Heat recovery
    • Separation/ quality control
    • Corrosion control
    • Exercise on troubleshooting a CDU
  • Vacuum Distillation
    • Secondary CDU/HVU flow sheets
    • Vacuum tower design
    • Design of vacuum equipment
  • Special Application Distillation
    • Azeotropes and their formation
    • Azeotropic distillation
    • Extractive distillation


Upcoming Courses:

Dec 1 – 3 AWST (Perth time zone)

  • Online, instructor-led delivery


For more information on this course or to request an upcoming course booking in your region, please contact us today


ESD Simulation Training – Global Leader in Training for the Process Industries

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"Fantastic course, which I believe has enabled me to take on a different thought process especially in troubleshooting. Extremely beneficial to me and in turn to my employers. Made welcome and felt at ease. "
David Westerman
Conoco Phillips