Chemicals and Petrochemicals

Linking MATLAB to Process Simulators

Researchers and engineers have connected MATLAB® with process simulators for a variety of purposes—optimization, machine learning, controls, and several others. You can find a list of papers on the topic here. Explore three ways MATLAB can connect to process simulators like Aspen Plus.

Option 1: Native Integration

  • Aspen Dynamics: The Control Design Interface tool, included in Aspen Dynamics, enables you to extract a linear state space model from Aspen Dynamics. You can load this into MATLAB and use it with Control System Toolbox™ when designing a process control system.
  • UniSim: Honeywell’s UniSim Design Suite lets you design processes and perform process simulations. UniSim Design links to MATLAB, making it easier to leverage the strengths of both applications.
  • gPROMS: The gPROMS Object for MATLAB (gO:MATLAB) enables control engineers to deploy complex, nonlinear gPROMS advanced process models within MATLAB. 

Option 2: CAPE-OPEN

amsterCHEM developed an easy-to-use application for importing unit operations entered in MATLAB into CAPE-OPEN compliant software like Aspen Plus, Petro-SIM, Pro/II, etc. In addition, you can import thermodynamic and physical property packages into MATLAB.

Option 3: Interfaces like COM, Excel, or OPC

You can connect MATLAB with process simulators through the Windows COM interface. Using the actxserve command, you can establish a connection between a Windows application and MATLAB. You can then discover, call, or access properties and methods supported by the application within MATLAB. 

Alternatively, you can use the Excel or OPC interfaces of the process simulators to facilitate the flow of information between the flowsheet and MATLAB.