Documentation -- How to use this Process-Flow-Diagram editor

Table of contents

[flowchart generated from data]

Concept of material flow calculation

First of all we must make it clear that this is not a "classic" drawing program, i.e. we do not "draw by hand" the flowchart. This program is basically a plant-simulator which calculates material flow based on the data given by the user, and it generates the technological flowsheet based on this simulation.

That means a little bit more explained that first you enter some data of your production, namely input materials and their compositions, the used equipment (e.g. reactors, filters, dryers, e.t.c.) and the operation steps: which materials go into which vessel and what sort of operations are made with them (transfers, mixing, separations, e.t.c.). Then the simulator calculates step-by-step the movements of the compounds around in the production line, and as a result you get the composition of output materials and the technological flowchart.

The whole system is designed to be able to calculate everything by itself as possible. Necessary data is the mathematically minimum.

Important: importance of industrial secrets is well-known so it is emphasized that this program does not collect any information of the users. User provided production data are not forwarded to servers, they are stored only in the buffer of the users browser. Read more about privacy policy.

List of materials (compositions, types, key compounds)

In this program "material" means always an aggreagete mixture (or group) of pure "compounds" (components), even if the material has only 1 "component". Such a "composite" "material" goes into the manufacturing and such a "composite" comes out from it, however the plant-simulator calculates only the movements/change of the pure compounds.

[input material --> components --> plant simulation --> components --> output material]

That is because the composition of all input materials have to be defined. Of course one can define a "pure material" if only 1 "component" is given to it. Output materials have to be named but composition of them are not defined by the user: it is a result of plant-simulation.

In the material table every row corresponds to 1 material. Material amounts are also not given by the user but they are also results of the simulation. At the right end of the rows can be found the compositions. Clicking on the compositions a new table appears, in which some details of the components can be seen or edit.

It is important to know that density can be set directly only to pure compounds. For materials the density is calculated by the program using composition and compound density data (even if the material has only 1 component, and also if it has more than 1.) Using of densities is not obligatory (default is for everithying: 1), but it can be very useful when volumes have to be handled (see equipment volumes and operations).

Defining of material type (input/output) has one more importance: in the operations table for loading (charging) only input materials can be selected and for discharging or "taking-out-type" operatons only output materials can be selected. As a result of this the material types should be set properly prior to the use of materials in the operations.

There are so-called "key-components". At chemical productions mostly 1 definite substance is transformed into another 1 definite substance, meanwhile lots of other compounds are used for this process which are present in the same system in the same time. We are interested only in the starting material and the target product and these substances are the "key-compounds". These are highlighted during flowchart generation or/and in the material summary table. Key compounds can be set in the material composition table or in the chemical reaction defining table (see operations).

For materials containing key-compounds a button representing a key appears in the material table. By pushing this button can a material mark as starting material or target product. For example: after a crystallization the filtered crystals and the mother liquor contains the key-compound, we set the filtered crystals as targeted product (highlighted key button ) and the mother liquor is left as by-product material (output type and dark key button ). (see example: crystallization of sugar solution.)

List of equipment (types and its importance)

In the equipment table you can name and mark equipment used in the production. These equipment and names/symbols will be shonw in the drawing.

In fact only the type definition has some special importance here, because in the operations table for certain operation types only certain sort of equipment can be selected. E.g. for a filtration you can select only an equipment of a filter-character type or for a drying process only dryers can be selected. The purpose of this kind of restriction is to help editors being consequent.

(Note: later versions of this program will have the opportunity to assign the characteristic sizes to the equipment (e.g. load capacity, volume, e.t.c.) and have the ability to check for overflows during the model calculations.

List of operations (sketch of production)

The table of operations is a kind of compact description of the production. The table basically consists of 2 main parts: on the left side you find the line numbering and the operational 'instruction code', and on the right side the parameters (equipments and amounts). Obviously what can be edited that should be edited by the user, while fields that can not be edited will be filled by the plant simulator. Model calculations are made real-time during form edition (after changing the content of the fields), and numeric fields refresh automatically. If the progrem encounters an error, error message is printed in the Error console.

The program displays in the equipment-selector drop-down lists only equipment which type fit for the selected operation. Furthermore emptiness of vessels is examinded, too. (E.g. from an empty reactor nothing can be discharged or distilled out, so the program does not let an empty vessel to be selected for such an operation.) By the way, the momentary content of a vessel at an operation line can be checked easily by clicking on it's mark by the right mouse button.

Defining amounts is possible by several units: mass or volume in different orders of magnitude, and in some cases percentage of an equipment's momentary content. The last is especially useful when a complex mixture has to be moved from one equipment to another, and instead of writing an exact complex number into the field only "xx% of content" can be given. User defined amounts are checked by the program, too, and if the simulator find it incorrect, correts it immediately. (E.g. an equipment has a load of 100 kg, and the user tries to take out 200 kg from it, then this amount will be revert to 100.)

Some operations need detailed component list. In this case an [EDIT] button appears in the details column. Pushing this button shows the component editor table, which is very similar to that of the materials table, but this is a little bit more complex. In the operations component table there are 2 composition columns: one for define amounts, and one for check amounts in another units. Moreover various percentage units can be used, explanation of them can be found on the bottom of the table.

In case of a chemical reaction even more settings are necessary: the role of the component must be selected in the type column (i.e. it reacts or it forms, and that the component should be considered as key compound or not). Amount of reacting substances are displayed as negative numbers (amount of them decreases) while amount of forming substances are shown as positive numbers, in order to assist the user keeping the reaction balanced, since the principle of mass conservation must be satisfied - the program forces it! Unbalanced reaction occurs an error and the operation is skipped by the plant simulator.


Be a program ever so "clever", it will always have it's limits. Current version does not know yet either chemistry nor physics, so it does not handle the various phase states of materials. If a compounds is present in a vessel as vapor and liquid at one time, that can not be distinguished by this program, and it will not predict (calculate) results of any type of phase changes or/and separations. The user should provide such physical/chemical data.

The flow sheet

Here can be found the generated technological flowsheet according to the current state of the project, implied that only executable operational steps are drawn. Currently only this kind of flowchart is available but furter versions will have more types.

Concept of flowchart building:
  1. time and logical sequence: from top to down
  2. inputs on the left side
  3. outputs on the right side
  4. intended outputs on the bottom of the box
  5. unintended outputs (losses) on the top of the box
1. 100 kg input material
2. 10 kg loss


3. 90 kg output material

The program is set on to construct the diagram as a single, logical connected production line (cascade). Branches (i.e. transfers from one equipment to two or more another) makes this more difficult but in fact it is solved: transfers to another equipment than the box below are displayed on output lines, highlighted the mark of the destination.

Considerations on order of equipment:
  1. order of occurrence in the table of operations
  2. this is overridden by the detected equipment contacts (i.e. transfers)
  3. and this is overridden, too, by the movements of key compounds

The final flow sheet can be exported: push on the [PRINT] button on the top of the page and a new window appears with the figure in a printable fashion. It can be send to your printer or it can be copy and paste to a word processor, too, and save it to your computer.

File menu

Save project

Edition of manufacturing data could take a good while so it is practical to save data after work. This is possible currently in XML format by using the [SAVE] function. There is a large text field on the save screen, in this field is generated the XML text, which can be copy and paste to a word processor, too, and save it to your computer.

Load project

Loading of a previously saved XML file is done similarly to the saving process. There is a large text field on the load screen. Open the previously saved XML file by a word processor/viewer and copy/paste the content of the XML file to this text field, and click on the [LOAD] button under the field. Then the loading process starts (the tables of materials/equipment and operations are going to be filled out), this can be could take a few minutes.

Start a new project

By the [NEW] function of this menu the current project can be discarded and start a new one.

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Useful links

Organic solvent properties
Physical properties of most common industrial solvents, database.
Physical constants of compounds

NIST Chemistry webbook
Physical and thermodynamic properties of more than thousand compounds.

DDB Densities
Experimental density data for mixtures.

VLE database, distillation calculator

IUPAC-NIST Solubility Database
Solid-liquid and liquid-liquid equilibrium data.

Physico-chemical properties of compounds determined experimantally and/or by calculations.

Lot of chemical tools.

VLE Phase Diagrams
Vapor-liquid equilibrium database and calculator

Distillation calculator
Batch and contiuous (flash) distillation calculator

Engineering ToolBox
The boiling points of some common liquids and gases as acetone, butane, propane, and more

Distillation calculator
Batch and contiuous (flash) distillation calculator    --    generate chemical technological flowsheets based on material flow calculations

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