Equipment Database in Symmetry

Synching equipment data across simulation cases has never been easier. The new Database tool included in Symmetry allows users to store the specifications of unit operations in a centralized database that can be shared among different models. This information is monitored for changes, thus allowing for synchronization and propagation of modifications made to equipment.

A sample application of the Equipment Database would be in a dynamic simulation set up to test the behaviour of different compressors with performance curves. The different types of compressors could be accessed from the same or different cases after their information is entered and saved to the database. The same could be done for other unit operations such as pumps, PSVs or even complex LNG exchangers. 

Using the Equipment Database

The Symmetry Database can be enabled from the Main Flowsheet window’s “Database” tab. A database base may then be added or selected.


Figure 1. Enabling the Equipment database

Figure 1 shows the Equipment Database enabled before a selection is made. There is also another type of Database for Catalyst and Thermal data which is visible when there are unit operations that can consume it (e.g a CCR).

A Database tab becomes visible in every unit operation that supports it once the feature has been enabled. The user may add or access data directly from the unit operation windows. In Figure 2 we can see the curves of a compressor connected to a database.


Figure 2. Compressor connected to database

Once a unit operation is connected to a database, the unit operation will monitor changes made to the database and to the unit operation itself and will flag any inconsistencies. In its default mode, the user is responsible for taking action if data becomes inconsistent with the database. For example, a user may change the Cv curve of a particular valve that is connected to a database. The user is responsible for either 'pushing' the new values to the database, 'pulling' the values from the database or ignoring the warning. 

Database_3.pngFigure 3. Different cases connected to the same database

Catalyst and Thermal Database

The Catalyst and Thermal database is also available in the Database tool. This dedicated database holds parameters that apply to specific unit operations such as refinery reactors and cracking furnaces. Its use is similar to that of the Equipment database. The main difference is the list of variables that are tracked.


Figure 4. Enabling Catalyst database

Different reactors may share the same catalyst information and can be kept consistent for multiple beds. There is a mode in the database in which data is automatically synchronized for all units as soon as a change is made (read the user manual for details). This mode can even be used during a regression when tuning to plant or laboratory data. Figure 5 shows an HCC with multiple beds tied to the same data.


Figure 5. Catalyst database used in multiple beds

Database Highlights

Below is a short list of highlights of the Database feature in Symmetry:

  • Ability to keep the configuration of unit operations in a centralized location
  • Tracking of modifications
  • Equipment identification in database includes a version number
  • Option to select the location of the database including a shared drive for enhanced collaboration
  • Option to automatically propagate changes to other unit operations in the same case - this can be used in case study, regression and optimization studies
  • Database files are separate from the simulation cases
  • Option to make the database local to the simulation case - this allows the simulation case to carry the database right inside the case file
  • Minimal configuration
  • Simulations will still run if the database files are not found - this may happen if a case is shared with another person without access to the database location

Review the Symmetry manual for additional details and examples.


Figure 6. Animation of the configuration of a cracking reactor using a database


The release of Symmetry includes a wide range of new features that are sure to enhance productivity and collaboration when creating simulation models. This article presented a brief introduction to the new Database capabilities using a compressor and a reactor as examples. It is important to mention that there are many other unit operations that support this feature and more will be added in the near future.

Please contact our support offices if you have any questions or suggestions on how we can improve this feature.

Raul Cota, Ph.D., P. Eng., VMG Calgary

Lante Carbognani, M.Sc., VMG Calgary

To Top