Data Validation for Fertilizers

Applying Sigmafine in Fertilizers to Improve Operations

The highly competitive fertilizer industry suppresses the product’s value, yet the main feedstock is linked to the increasing price of natural gas. Thus, it’s critical that plants prioritize efficient asset utilization. To do so, top-tier fertilizer producers are optimizing their process data to be more consistent, accurate, and accessible – and they’re turning to Sigmafine.

Pimsoft’s Sigmafine software turns process data into information that supports insight-backed decision making to enhance business performance. Sigmafine robust and scalable data validation and reconciliation software resolves the issue of unaccounted losses in fertilizer facilities by finding and resolving data errors and closing the mass balanced used for accounting.

Throughout the Sigmafine implementation process, Pimsoft is your business partner with worldwide experience and know-how for implementing and automating plant-wide data reconciliation and balancing. This both supports timely project implementation and eliminates measurement errors from operational and financial reports.

Production Accounting

Sigmafine supports accountants for the full business chain, tracking the movement of raw materials to production sites and storage facilities, as well as their distribution. Sigmafine also accounts for materials at the production-site level, like an ammonia plant or urea plant. Validated and reconciled data are conditioned to provide production and consumption reports, inventory stocks, and site balances by material or plant/process unit yields. In total, Sigmafine models:

  • Intracompany material trades/transfers
  • Intercompany material trades/transfers
  • Flow meter data
  • Inventory data

Sigmafine provides consistent daily or batch production and consumption balances to the ERP. This traceable, auditable, transparent material balance data helps eliminate misalignments at month’s end.

Integrating Sigmafine with SAP

Sigmafine comes with an integration framework component, allowing data to interface with external systems, including SAP. The most common SAP modules integrated with Sigmafine are:

  • PPPI: Post reconciled figures of productions, consumptions, and losses compared with planned/business figures
  • SD: Download inbound raw material receipts and outbound final product shipments from SAP
  • WM/MM: Align physical or logical SAP inventories with Sigmafine inventories

Component Balancing

Sigmafine component analyses balance component materials (nitrogen, potassium, sulphur content, etc.) stocked in inventories or fed to process units. Such balances may include environmental losses, in turn providing validated estimates for emission reporting.

Model Data Quality Monitoring

Be it an ammonia network, inventories, an ammonia converter, or the complete fertilizer production plant, Sigmafine can monitor data quality based on the model structure and measurements to provide systematic data monitoring used for accounting and reporting purposes. In countless installations of Sigmafine, we have seen improvements with starting measurements, showing that data quality and the behavior affecting the data quality improve concurrently. In the graph below, the improvement was realized within the first week of Sigmafine use.

Performance Monitoring

For such applications, Sigmafine is typically configured with mass and energy balance supported by a thermodynamic package with an extensive database of chemical components. Sigmafine can run unattended and provide operators validated performance indicators on a regular time basis (hourly or even more regularly). Sigmafine equipment KPIs are used both by process department for plant analysis and by maintenance to know in advance how equipment performance changes over time. Both of these outcomes empower operators to take action and improve process operations quickly.

Supported Applications

  • Reduce uncertainty in your KPIs
  • Apply first principles and concentration laws to achieve consistent data
  • Monitor and validate recoveries
  • Track valuable components across the process network

Comprehensive Mass and Component Balancing

Sigmafine provides a solid mass, component, and energy balancing system that delivers validated, secure, auditable, and accurate information to financial systems and operation managers, allowing both to optimize efficiencies. Additionally engineers and operators use data generated from Sigmafine to compute process recoveries or other KPIs with more certainty.

The Sigmafine system can be configured to perform mass balances for the entire production complex with the use of the component balance analysis, which balances key components like P2O5 to estimate reconciled key elemental concentrations that comply with concertation laws of processing units across the fertilizer process network.

As a first step, Pimsoft uses the PI Asset Framework to create “process templates” for the different processes and related equipment (mill, mixers, separators, etc.). Next, a connectivity model is developed to represent the facility’s material flows. Finally, meters and analyzers are represented to receive information from the process data historian using out-of-the box connectivity.

The Benefits of Improved Data Quality

Improved data quality in the fertilizer industry can lead to:

  • Generating production accounting from single process units to multi-purpose sites
  • Elemental balancing and monitoring emissions
  • Monitoring both plant and equipment performance
  • Balancing the full business chain
  • Balancing, estimating and monitoring loss

The Business Impact of Implementing Sigmafine

By implementing Sigmafine, customers can realize several operational and business benefits, including:

  • Automating daily production accounting
  • Monitoring equipment and plant performance
  • Monitoring loss
  • Distributing results across the organization
  • Improving production planning and logistics


Download Solution Brief

Pimsoft Contact

Veletia Moodie

Veletia Moodie
Industry Principal for Fertilizers
Pimsoft, S.p.A.


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