Process engineering focuses on the design, operation, control and optimization of chemical, physical and biological processes through with help from a systematic computer-based method. Process engineering is applied in a wide range of industries such as, chemical, petrochemical, mineral processing, advanced material, food, pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries.
Processing systems engineering is a relatively new area of chemical engineering. The term was first used in a special volume of AlChE symposium series in 1961. However, it was not until 1982 when the first international symposium on this topic took place in Kyoto, Japan.
There are several significant accomplishments made in process engineering. The first is process design, synthesis of energy recovery networks, synthesis of distillation systems, synthesis of reactor networks and the design of the production reactors for the production of plutonium. Process control models predictive control, controllability measures, robust control, nonlinear control, statistical process control and thermodynamic-based control. Process operations contribute when scheduling process networks, multiperiod planning and optimization, data reconciliation, real-time optimization and fault diagnosis. The last accomplishment is the support tools. These tools include sequential modular simulation, equation based process simulation, AL/expert systems, large-scale nonlinear programming, optimization of differential algebraic equations, mixed integer nonlinear programming and global optimization.