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Delivering the power of component software and open standard interfaces in computer-aided process engineering


The objective of the Global CAPE-OPEN (GCO) project is to deliver the power of component software in computer-aided process engineering. The project uses CAPE-OPEN (CO) results and capitalises on further opportunities that can be gained from open standard interfaces for process simulation. The Brite-Euram CAPE-OPEN project (BE 3512) started in January 1997 for 30 months. Its partnership includes chemical and petroleum operating companies, universities, and major CAPE software vendors. CAPE-OPEN promotes the advent of open standard interfaces for process simulation, which allow simulator users to employ elements of any simulator within any other. Specifically the project develops open system communication for key simulation elements, demonstrates the effectiveness of the open system, widely disseminates the results and through this promote adoption of the open system by the major providers and usters of process simulation. CO takes the component software approach, which enables a complete simulation to be assembled using software components form a variety of sources.

GCO extends the work done in CAPE-OPEN at a global and operational scale, by addressing and answering the following questions:
- How do we integrate open process simulation technology in the work process;
- What can we do better by taking advantage of open architectures and standards;
- What are the other open standard interfaces needed for CAPE;
- How do we develop CAPE-OPEN compliant software;
- How will we give compliance labels to components;
- How do we maintain the standards;
- How do we gain international acceptability for the standards;
- A consortium representing a wide range of users, researchers and vendors form three continents will answer these questions by developing what can be considered as the second stage of the CAPE-OPEN initiative.

This will provide the process industries with faster, cheaper, more accurate process simulation leading to enhanced competitive and environmental performance. A large new market will be created for specialist simulation elements vendors, increasing competition and advancing the state-of-the-art. Major improvements will result from gains in the quality and consistency of applying simulation technology for process design, safety analysis, development of operating procedures and training of operating personnel. The GCO project will develop additional open standard interfaces for CAPE components, adapt existing software so that it complies with the CO standard, develop methods, training and support tools for helping users to take advantage of the availability of CO-compliant components. In the course of the project, the consortium will launch "CO-LaN", the CAPE-OPEN Laboratories Network, which will be open to other organisations worldwide, and will manage all aspects of the CAPE-OPEN standards on a long-term basis.

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