PROCESS FLOW DIAGRAM (PFD) is a diagram commonly used by chemical engineers in the process

design of petroleum refineries, natural gas processing plants, petrochemical and chemical plants and other industrial facilities to indicate the general flow of plant process streams and equipment. The PFD displays the relationship between major equipment of a plant facility and does not show details such as minor equipment items, piping materials of construction and piping sizes. Another commonlyused term for a PFD is a process flow sheet Typically, process flow diagrams of a single unit process will include the following:         Process piping Major bypass and recirculation lines Major equipment symbols, names and identification (either by name, number or both) Flow directions (indicated by arrows on the process streams) Pressure, temperature, flow rate and other control valves and systems that monitor and control the operation of the process (shown schematically, rather than in complete detail) Interconnecting lines with other systems (if any) Pressure, temperature, flow rate and other pertinent operational values for each of the equipment items such as pumps, gas compressors, distillation columns and other vessels In some cases, the process flow diagram includes a material balance that lists the normal temperature, pressure, amount and composition of all the major process streams. Also included in some cases, are the amount of heat provided by any process furnaces and the amount of heat exchanged by any process heat exchangers.

Process flow diagrams generally do not include:         Pipe classes or piping line numbers Pipe sizes Process control instrumentation (sensors and final elements) in detail Minor bypass lines Isolation and shutoff valves Maintenance vents and drains Relief and safety valves Flanges (if any).

Diagram: Examples of typical PFD symbols.

Single process unit:
The process flow diagram below depicts a single chemical engineering unit process known as a catalytic reforming unit which is widely used in most, if not all, petroleum refineries. It does not include all of the above listed process flow diagram components to avoid disclosure of proprietary information and, although not usually done in practice, some color has been added.

Diagram: Process flow diagram of a typical semi-regenerative Catalytic Reforming unit in a petroleum refinery

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