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CAPE-OPEN UPDATE is a publication of the CAPE-OPEN Laboratories Network (CO-LaN), a non-profit consortium for the development of the CAPE-OPEN standard.


Kerry Irons, Editor

Editorial Board: Peter Banks, Bertrand Braunschweig, Celeste Colantonio, Ronald-Alexander Klein, Werner Merk, Hans Pingen, Michel Pons

Technical Support: ADDUCE GmbH



  • Hans-Horst Mayer Receives the 2003 CAPE-OPEN Award
  • VMGSim by Virtual Materials Group, Inc.
  • US EPA Seeks Post-Doctoral Research Candidates
  • CO-LaN Members meeting in Leipzig
  • What's Up on the CO-LaN Web Site

CAPE-OPEN 2003 Award

The CAPE-OPEN Laboratories Network presented the third CAPE-OPEN Award to Hans-Horst Mayer from BASF in recognition of his outstanding contribution to open process simulation. The award was made on February. 13th, 2003 by Peter Banks, secretary of the CAPE-OPEN Laboratories Network (CO-LaN), during the CO-LaN members' meeting in Leipzig, Germany. The official Annual General Meeting, hosted by Dow, was attended by around 20 members from around the world.

In his presentation speech, Mr Banks said:

“I first met Hans-Horst in 1994 in Snowmass, Colorado at a FOCAPD meeting – a very nice place to meet someone incidentally. We had been thinking in BP for some time about the value of having a plug and play standard for process simulation and FOCAPD seemed like a good place to discuss it. Unfortunately, it didn't raise much interest at that time, but, as it turned out, it did raise just enough. Hans-Horst stood up and strongly supported it. We had a brief discussion and then we all left.

Life went on and BP got support from the EU project PRIMA to submit a plug and play proposal to the EU Framework IV. We then discovered that the German IK-CAPE consortium was proposing to submit a very similar proposal and that this was as a result of Hans-Horst's persuasion and persistence. Both proposals were merged and after much struggle eventually became CAPE-OPEN, which finally started in 1977.

Of course that wasn't the end of Hans-Horst's involvement. Once CAPE-OPEN was under way, he continued to play a central role by running the team developing the Thermodynamics standard and participating in the management of the project. By the time he retired at the end of the CAPE-OPEN project, he was firmly established as one of its founding fathers. It's quite likely that without Hans-Horst's quiet determination in the early stages, CAPE-OPEN would not have happened at all.”

Congratulations, Hans-Horst!

VMGSim Released by Virtual Materials Group, Inc.

Virtual Materials Inc., Calgary, Alberta is pleased to announce the release of VMGSim, a cost effective and powerful steady state process simulation software package to predict the detailed behaviour of process units and manufacturing plants. VMGSim will accurately model and predict the behaviour of most process units in Oil and Gas, Refining, Petrochemical and Chemical industries.

  • VMGSim features a fully integrated graphical I/O system powered by Microsoft Visio™
  • Process schematics can be created using the integrated Visio™ graphics engine
  • Excel™ spreadsheets can be seamlessly imbedded as unit operations in your flowsheet model
  • The comprehensive and accurate property package engine is powered by the COM compliant component, VMGThermo.  

VMGSim is a fully interactive and non-sequential modular simulator. It is designed to take advantage of two characteristics related to the way process modelling problems are solved. VMGSim propagates as much information as possible through the flowsheet as soon as you enter the information, forwards and backwards from the entry point.  VMGSim continuously monitors the information available in the flowsheet and as soon as degrees of freedom are satisfied, flash calculations are invoked, information is calculated and again propagated as described above.  This design enables robust solutions to highly integrated processes and allows the modeller to start a model from the most convenient place without worrying about specific calculation sequences.


US EPA Seeks Post-Doc Researchers

The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s National Risk Management Laboratory (NRMRL) is recruiting for Post-Doctoral candidates from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds. While this is a general job posting, chemical engineers awarded these positions may have an opportunity to work on process simulation projects involving development of CO compliant software components. For the full text of the 2004 Post-Doctoral announcement, a brief description of the areas of research, and how to apply, please go to:

The posting closes April 30, 2004.


CO-LaN Leipzig Meeting

CAPE-OPEN Laboratories Network held its Annual General Meeting, 13th February, 2004

Full members present:

BASF                      Ronald-Alexander Klein                             BP                          Peter Banks

Dow                       Werner Merk                                             IFP                         Bertrand Braunschweig

Shell Chemicals      Celeste Colantonio and Hans Pingen          Total                       Michel Pons

Associate Members present:

AspenTech              Sergi Sama                                                        Fantoft                    David Cameron

HTRI                      Joseph Holmes                                          NEL                       Alan Scott

PSE                        Costas Pantelides                                      SimSci                    Neil Forster and Thomas Koup

TUHH                    Matthias Pogodda                                      UPC                       Luis Puigjaner

Individual Members present:

Hans-Horst Mayer

Membership :  CO-LaN has 6 full members and 26 associate members.  This represents a loss of 1 full member and a gain of 4 associate members.  The issue of increasing the number of full (industrial) members remains a high priority for the management board, but all members were also asked to spread the word to their contacts.


Management Board :  The board members in 2003 were:

IFP                                          B. Braunschweig                       President

Dow                                        W. Merk                                   Vice-President

Total                                        M. Pons                                    Treasurer

BP                                           P. Banks                                   Secretary

Shell Chemicals                        H. Pingen                                  Member

Dow                                         K. Irons                                    Member

Shell Chemicals                        C. Colantonio                            Member


Status Report - Bertrand Braunschweig .  The board had monthly phone conferences or physical meetings, which dealt with decisions about Request for Bids and contracts, the 5 missions of CO-LaN and votes for new members.  The contracts for Thermo 1.1 plug and tester have been successfully completed.  Also contracts for specification polishing and component catalogue production have been completed and web site maintenance and development is in place.


SIGs :  There were 3 active SIGs, which are reported on below.


Web site . The CO-LaN web site is now managed by Adduce, using the OpenCMS content management system.  It has a new “Component Catalogue” section and contains the CO Update newsletter in HTML form.


Marketing & Dissemination .  The existing CO-LaN brochure has been retained and the CO Award scheme is continuing.  During the year, presentations were made at FOCAPO, ICheaP6, ACHEMA, ECCE4 and ESCAPE-13 and a paper was submitted to Petroleum Technology Quarterly.  Other publicity was obtained from the AspenTech/Fluent press release and via the AspenTech web site section on open standards.  Three issues of CO Update were released.


Training .   The world’s first “CO-compliant” university course was held at ENSIACET, Toulouse .  Fourteen students successfully completed the course and developed a CO-compliant unit operation component.  Further information is in the specific presentation on this subject on the CO-LaN web site.


Financial Report - Michel Pons The overall level of expenditure in 2003 was 72,273.14, whereas the fees collected were 60,000.  However, because of a one-off funds transfer from the EU for tester development under the Global CAPE-OPEN project, a surplus of 37 ,147.21 was generated, which means that the total funds available at the end of the year were 121,850.94.  Some comments on the budget line items for 2004:

  • User Priorities .  This is expenditure on the Consultancy Services activity, which is explained below.
  • Dissemination - This expenditure covers the fee for hosting the web site and allows for attendance at 4 conferences.
  • Standard Maintenance - This allows for 10 days work on polishing standards documentation.
  • Testing - The tester suite needs to be kept up-to-date, particularly in the areas of PPDB, UNIT and MINLP.  Also an allowance has been made for the possible acquisition of a computer for interoperability testing.
  • Training Facilitation - No allowance has been made for 2004.
  • Administration - This covers taxes, bank charges and limited support for Management Board meetings.

CO-LaN Consultancy Services -  Peter Banks & Sergi Sama The objectives of this new service are: to catalyze the production of CO components by removing the difficulties of achieving CO-compatibility; to retain the services of key CO experts in the vendor organizations and to provide an added incentive for companies to join as full members.  This will be done by allocating a proportion of the CO budget to contracting service providers to provide consultancy on CO-compliance to component developers approved by the Management Board (see Financial Report above).  Each full member will be able to nominate one component per year to receive this service, with the remaining consultancy budget being allocated by the Management Board.  A Request for Bids has been launched and 5 bids received.  So far, 4 have been approved and shortly the first contract, with AspenTech, is expected to be signed.


SIG Reports

Thermodynamics (Werner Merk, now to Jens Schmidt ) - After restating the charter and key responsibilities for the SIG and listing the current 11 members, the report went on to state the key events in 2003.  These were: implementation of v1.0 in Aspen Plus 12.1 and resolution of speed issues; publication of downloadable report on optimization tricks for speed issues; production of IDL and Type Library for v1.0 implementations; functional specification for v1.1 finalized; extensions for solids agreed; SolidSim committed to implement v1.1 and TUHH joined CO-LaN and Thermo SIG.   Goals for 2004 include: support for implementation of v1.0 and assistance with speed issues; support for implementation of v1.1 in SolidSim; verification of solids extensions of v1.1 and identification of next areas of interest.


Michel Pons then reported on the production of prototypes of the v1.1 specification, which extends and generalizes v1.0.  These prototypes were produced by UPC (Tester) and Infochem (Property Package and Property Calculator).  As a result of experience with the prototypes, some clarification has been made to the v1.1 document and some minor general issues raised.  Overall, there were no fundamental problems in implementation, which was relatively straightforward and efficient.


Unit ( Celeste Colantonio ) - The main priority for 2003 was to extend the Unit specification to handle modular dynamic simulation.  New unit categories and methods have been defined and specified and the IDL, component diagram and documentation extended.  A pilot implementation was made in the RSI package INDISS, which worked smoothly and gave the same results as the equivalent simulation using all native INDISS units.  Maintenance of the existing Unit specification was ongoing and took account of the relevant “lessons learnt” by the Interoperability SIG below.  Goals for 2004 include: implementation of extended standard in D-SPICE and gPROMS; interoperability testing of dynamic components; further extension of the standard to include more types of basic component; external review of extended standard and ongoing maintenance of existing standard.


Interoperability ( Peter Banks ) - Main achievements in 2003 include: demonstrating successful use of unit parameters in Aspen Plus and HYSYS, which shows that the standard is capable of handling this behavior satisfactorily and that commercial CO implementations now allow activities such as optimisation and custom reporting; gPROMS thermo socket shown to be compatible with the latest version of the standard; gPROMS application gO:CAPE-OPEN produces interoperable CO-compliant unit components.  In addition, 20 “lessons learnt” were gleaned from CO implementation experiences collated by the SIG.  Goals for 2004 remain broadly similar, with emphasis on providing tools to assist in implementation and testing of CO components and limited direct testing when PRO II facilities become available.

Members Presentations and Demonstrations

gO:CAPE-OPEN ( Costas Pantelides ) - This presentation showed how gO:CAPE-OPEN fits into the gPROMS family of products from PSE and explained its function.  It provides the ability for process engineers to include advanced gPROMS models in CO-compliant steady-state flow sheeting packages in a fully consistent manner, without the need for gPROMS programming.  The model can be created separately by gPROMS specialists and packaged by gO:CAPE-OPEN so that it appears as a normal unit in the flow sheeting package.  This behavior was demonstrated using a high-fidelity, rate-based reactive absorption model, built in gPROMS, running in an Aspen Plus simulation of a CO2 removal process.  This work was done using the standard CO Unit interface, which proved to be satisfactory for the purpose without modification.


SolidSim ( Matthius Pogodda ) - This presentation described the SolidSim Project, which is funded by AiF and involves 11 universities and an industrial advisory committee. It builds on work previously funded by VW-Stiftung.  The aim is to develop a flowsheet simulator for solids processes.  These processes are poorly served by existing simulators, because of the complexity of the description needed for the materials and processes involved.  The presentation described the structure of the simulator and its use of CAPE-OPEN interfaces.  Because the existing CO interfaces are developed for liquid/gas materials, extensions to the standard have been proposed by TUHH.  The presentation finished with a demonstration of a simulation of a cascade of hydrocyclones separating fines from sewage sludge.

Elections of Management Board for 2004

All of the current Management Board stood for re-election and were duly re-elected, although with some changes in function and the addition of new members:

Dow                          W. Merk                    President

Total                          M. Pons                     Treasurer

BP                             P. Banks                    Secretary

IFP                            B. Braunschweig         Member

Shell Chemicals          H. Pingen                    Member

Shell Chemicals          C. Colantonio             Member

BASF                        R.-A. Klein                 Member

Dow                          K. Irons                      Member

B Braunschweig stood down as President, although he remains on the Board.  The meeting expressed its appreciation for his long and outstanding service at the head of CAPE-OPEN, Global CAPE-OPEN and CO-LaN.  W Merk was elected in his place and C Colantonio and R.-A. Klein joined the Board as members.


Visit the Updated CO-LaN Web Site

With a new server and new features, there's a lot on offer at the updated CO-LaN web site ( ):

  • From the General Information tab you can access our extensive FAQ list, see demos, get a membership application, and download a handy copy of the CO-LaN brochure that you can use to explain the CO-LaN to others in your organisation.
  • From Download you have access to migration support, the CO tester, and help with COM-CORBA bridging.
  • The Standard Specification tab gets you all the versions of the standard (v0.9, v0.9.3, v1.0, and v1.1). It's the heart of what you need to implement CO compliance.
  • Clicking on the CO-LaN Catalog tab gives you access to a wide array of products and projects from the CO-LaN members (and others). It makes very interesting reading!
  • The CO Support tab gives you access to CO-LaN approved consultants who can help you with migration and implementation projects. See the information on this new service in the editorial in this edition of CO Update
  • Click on Request for Bids if you're interested in bidding on projects hosted by the CO-LaN.
  • The News tab takes you to a chronological current events list as well (of course!) to current and back issues of the CO Update. Typical of the current list is information on the next CO-LaN members meeting, new standards and software tools on line, press releases on new software and implementations, calls for bids, new members, and so on. Keep up to date and keep in touch.
  • Our Links area takes you to all kinds of interesting web sites relevant to CAPE.

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