Master's Thesis

Buffer Management Strategies for Improving Plant Availability

Anna Lindholm


In an industrial plant availability is an important factor since increased availability often gives an increase of final production which in many cases means an increased profit for the company. It has been shown that good strategies for buffer management could increase the availability of an entire plant which motivates further research in this area. To be able to compute the optimal solution to a buffer management problem there are many constraints to be specified, among others the topology of the system, the disturbance model and the definition of flow variations. The optimal solution will depend on the choice of constraints and thereby the general buffer management problem becomes very complex. Today a few of the possible problem formulations have been solved but there are still many gaps in the research in this area. The purpose of this thesis is to sort out what has been done in the area of buffer management and to try to fill out some of the gaps. The developed methods and strategies are used for improving buffer management in two plants at Perstorp AB. These case studies reveal some buffer management problems that can be present within the process industry.


buffer management, buffer tanks, availability, bottleneck, averaging level control

Master's Thesis ISRN LUTFD2/TFRT--5832--SE, Department of Automatic Control, Lund University, Sweden, January 2009.

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