The proper design of RTO systems’ structure and critical diagnosis tools is neglected in commercial RTO software and poorly discussed in the literature. In a previous article, Quelhas et al. (Can J Chem Eng., 2013, 91, 652–668) have reviewed the concepts behind the two-step RTO approach and discussed the vulnerabilities of intuitive, experience-based RTO design choices. This work evaluates and analyzes the performance of industrial RTO implementations in the face of real settings regarding the choice of steady-state detection methods and parameters, the choice of adjustable model parameters and selected variables in the model adaptation problem, the convergence determination of optimization techniques, among other aspects, in the presence of real noisy data. Results clearly show the importance of a robust and careful consideration of all aspects of a two-step RTO structure, as well as of the performance evaluation, in order to have a real and undoubted improvement of process operation.
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