Technical Training Programs

Marvin Silbert and Associates

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Marvin Silbert has taught at the university level and within industry. As a consultant, he has also prepared and taught a number of relevant courses and workshops. This page summarizes the courses that have been given and if you are interested, please let us know and we can organize an in-house session at your location. Each course comes complete with a full manual. You may also consider purchasing the manuals. Each is a complete reference on its own and a valuable addition to your library. You can also decide from the content whether or not you would like an in-house session.

Some Past Sessions

Sessions of our Water Treatment for Plant Utilities, Offsites and Cogeneration have been given for EPIC in Mississauga, Edmonton and Calgary. We have also given a number of sessions in Dubai for Glomacs. The figures show some scenes from those sessions.

Training course, Modern Industrial Water Treatment, held at 1986 Southex Process Equipment and Instrumentation Show in Toronto: Lectured with Frank Crossland (IC Controls) & Henry Miyamoto (Lavalin)

Training course, Monitoring and controlling industrial processes / Advanced SPC, held at:

Training course on boiler chemistry for plant operators. Given at TransCanada PipeLines combined cycle plant at Nipigon ON

Training course for new water treatment plants built by Ecodyne for Bruce nuclear generating station and Mazandaran Wood and paper Industry (Sari Iran)

Training course on Equilibrium Phosphate Treatment for boiler plant operators. Given at Syncrude in 1995.

Training and set up of and spectroscopy systems for Aptec Engineering at FGL Laboratories, Santa Paula, Ca, Rabbit Lake Uranium Mine, Collins Bay, SK and AGT, Richland WA.

For a PFD version of the description of the manuals, click on the names of the individual titles.

Monitoring and Controlling Industrial Processes
ISBN 0-9695133-1-3

Most operating data is used to quickly assess whether or not a plant is within specifications then filed and forgotten until trouble develops. Whether we admit it or not, most data is taken as a police action to prove that people are doing their job. In a regulated industry, this provides the necessary proof that specified analysis were performed and recorded; it does not mean that its real meaning is recorded, only that the analyses have been made and that the results are available. This data can be made to talk and tell much about the plant's operation. Properly utilized, the same data, can be used to improve the process, detect potential upsets that could result in lost production or deratings, and significantly increase the efficiency of those taking and reporting the data.

Just what is meant by a specification and operating within it? If a few plants appear to operate successfully within a certain regime, it soon becomes established as the norm and carved into stone as a specification. Is it correct for all plants? Not likely. Just look at data from identical systems or plants. Often the plant tries to tell us, but we need the tools to listen. Many plants could never operate within the established specifications were it not for the fact that we continuously add or adjust something to keep them there. The right analysis could indicate a need for corrective action before a failure occurs.

Today's QC starts with Statistical Process Control or SPC. It is impossible to inspect 100% of anything, but you can work more efficiently. With a good handle on a process, you can improve both productivity and quality. SPC coupled with Time-Series Analysis provides a powerful diagnostic and control tool. SPC techniques are now mandatory for all suppliers to the automotive industry.

The first stage, if any quality-improvement program is to succeed, is a commitment by management to accept and use the various tools that are available. The next stage is training and training must be undertaken by all members from the top to bottom of the chain. The commitment is a requirement to ensure that things will go ahead after the training is complete. You have to do more than go through the motions of training. Quality improvement must become part of the corporate identity.

What can we do for you? We have been involved in the application of statistical methods for several years (see our publication list) and have incorporated this experience into a training course that we can offer to your plant. It must be noted that this course has been designed to follow a production process and has incorporated methods to overcome a variety of real-life obstacles that have shut down or derated real plants. When a new problem comes up for discussion during a workshop session, it is usually incorporated into the next printing of the manual.

This course is relevant for all field personnel who collect or use data. This includes chemical, environmental and health physics laboratory technicians, and plant engineers. The goal is to demonstrate simple methods to extract relevant information hidden within data rather than try to make everyone into a statistician. It is not aimed at making people dependent upon computers. Many techniques can be accomplished very simply with paper and pencil. The benefits of this course are tighter control and better deployment of people.

Having experience with the startup and supervision of the laboratory facilities in major plants, we can also help you get your program off the ground and into operation. We offer a variety of packages ranging from a two-day training workshop through to assistance in the preparation of your detailed plans and manuals. Just as there is no universal monitoring program that matches every plant or plant operator, there is no single consulting or training approach that matches every plant.

Table of Contents

  1. Why do we need to look deeper? - A generalized look at the need for good monitoring and control, difficulties with sampling a real system, course objectives.
  2. Data formats - Starting with a table of numbers and proceeding through a number of simple graphical techniques that can make the trends within the data more visible. Scatter plots, runs charts, fitting mathematical formulae to data, histograms and the application of 3D and multi-variable plots.
  3. Data distributions - Applications of the normal, Poisson and binomial distributions, methods for reporting and how they are used to compare data using graphical techniques, confidence intervals and analysis of variance.
  4. Medians and percentiles - Application of frequency distributions for QA applications, comparisons using box-and-whisker plots.
  5. Time-series analysis - Simple test procedures to check for randomness, trends and periodicity.
  6. Statistical process control - Statistical control, Type I and II errors, process capability, capability ratios for objective comparison against specifications, x-bar & range, median and CuSum control charts, subgroups and moving averages, attributes, c, u, p and np control charts, what to do with bad data.
  7. The electronic log sheet - Utilizing spreadsheet programs to custom design reporting systems, off-the-shelf field equipment.
  8. Applications in the field - Cost, reliability, availability, sensitivity, servicing and calibration of instruments vs. manual sampling, monitoring controlled systems, steady state vs. batch processes, continuously varying processes, relationships among parameters.
  9. Applying quality methods - Establishing a QA program, cause-and-effect analysis using Ishikawa diagrams, priority setting with Pareto charts

Optimizing Water Treatment for Plant Utilities, Offsites and Electrical Generation

ISBN 0-9695133-5-6

We have developed a number of training courses related to the use of water in industrial systems for cooling, hot-water and steam production and process applications. Our course material is designed for both operations and design staff and can be adapted to any size of group and any location whether it be off or on site. In the past, sessions have been given for a variety of groups including major industrial trade shows, combined cycle plant operators, nuclear plant operators and recently, we had the opportunity to prepare and deliver the training for Ecodyne to the operations and maintenance staff from one of their major off-shore clients. In 2006, our individual courses were integrated into a single manual. This new combined course and the manual combine all three courses and manuals listed below into a single  upgraded version. The table of contents is essentially the sum of the tables of contents for the three existing manuals. It has been totally rewritten and includes both additional and updated material

Preparing High-Quality Water for Industrial Applications

  1. Why do We Need Water Treatment? - Describes the various properties of water and how they present problems in its industrial use. Includes the basics of corrosion, scaling and microbiological fouling.
  2. Disinfection - Describes chlorination and the many alternatives including ozone, chloramination, bromination and chlorine dioxide.
  3. Clarification - Shows how the coagulation-flocculation process converts the unfilterable colloids into filterable solids. The discuss describes the advantages of different coagulants and clarifier designs.
  4. Filtration - Starts with a discussion of the various conventional methods for mechanically separating solids and then moves into a discussion of membranes techniques including micro and ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis.
  5. Ion Exchange - Describes the operation of ion-exchange systems in service and during regeneration. Includes a discussion of resin types and electrodeionization (EDI).
  6. Meeting the Needs of the System - Describes how to match the equipment to the needs of the system. Includes a discussion of closed loop demineralized water systems for critical cooling applications.
  7. Optimizing the Operation - Describes a number of approaches that can be used to make a water-treatment plant or a water system behave better. How should it be monitored? What about special techniques such as HazOp? Troubleshooting and priority setting.
  8. Upgrading the Operation - Water-treatment plants can't go on producing forever. What do you do when it's falling apart and you need water? Should you make or buy? Can we build a better plant?

Using Water for Industrial Cooling Applications

  1. Why do We Need Water Treatment? - Describes the various properties of water and how they present problems in its industrial use. Includes the basics of corrosion, scaling and microbiological fouling.
  2. Cooling Water Treatment - Describes and compares the three types of cooling systems: once-through, open recirculating (cooling tower) and closed recirculating. The expected problems that might be encountered in each are described along with the required solutions.
  3. Cooling Systems - A variety of cooling systems are described along with a discussion of the expected problems. The systems described include HVAC, industrial cooling towers and industrial process cooling.
  4. Monitoring Cooling-System Performance - Describes methods for detecting scaling or microbiological fouling form plant data. Included are extensive discussions of methods to detect loss of efficiency in steam condensers for large generating stations and HVAC chillers.
  5. In-Service Cleaning procedures for Cooling Systems - Describes a number of techniques for both off-line and on-line cleaning to restore the efficiency of condensers and heat-exchangers back to their original efficiency.

Boiler Water Treatment

  1. Introduction to Boiler Systems - Describes and compares the types of boiler according to design and operating pressure. Shows how concentration occurs and can be controlled.
  2. Alkalinity Control - Shows how alkalinity and pH can be monitored and controlled. Includes discussion of temperature effects upon pH and pH measurement. Discusses the chemical volatile amines and solid products used to control pH.
  3. Dissolved Oxygen Control in Closed Systems - Describes the effects of dissolved oxygen in maintaining boiler integrity and how this can be controlled with mechanical deaeration and chemical oxygen scavengers. Also discusses the newer approach using oxygenating chemistry.
  4. Dissolved and Suspended Solids Control - Demonstrates how makeup, blowdown and condensate return interact to control the concentration of impurities. Shows how to calculate the energy lost through blowdown and how to recover both the water and the energy. Compares the role of external vs. internal treatment to keep boilers clean.
  5. Phosphate Treatment - Describes the evolution of phosphate treatment through coordinated, congruent and the newer equilibrium phosphate treatment.
  6. Monitoring and Controlling a Boiler Treatment Program - Goes through the basics of doing a mass balance within a boiler system. Looks also at methods to find hideout by monitoring chemical changes that accompany load changes.
  7. Flow-Accelerated Corrosion - Looks at the role of pH, dissolved oxygen and chemical treatment with respect to ersion corrosion or flow-accelerated corrosion..
  8. Other Topics - Looks at start and shutdown, condenser leakage, ingress of impurities from the water-treatment plant and process heat exchangers.

Application within Specific Industries

  1. Oil and Gas - Advanced recovery, produced water, spills, removing oil contamination.
  2. Metal Processing and Finishing - Precipitation, flotation, filter presses.
  3. Waste Treatment - Aerobic and anaerobic processes.
  4. Alkaline Systems - Ash slurries, basic oxygen process.
  5. Other Topics - New processes are being added all the time.

We can also prepare customized packages to meet the users needs.

  Manual ordering information

  Course covers and Tables of Contents in PDF format

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This page last updated 2017-Aug-04