Length: 2 Days
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Distillation and Troubleshooting Training Course

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Distillation and Troubleshooting Training Course is a 2-day comprehensive training program focusing on distillation technology, and troubleshooting.  The program also covers troubleshooting and problem solving. Distillation is a purification technique for a liquid or a mixture of liquids utilizing difference in boiling points of liquids as a basis of separation. Selective evaporation and condensation of particular components is the core of a distillation process.

Participants will learn about distillation operation, procedures and distillation troubleshooting, problem analysis, diagnoses, solutions, and key lessons and several operating experiences and workshops. Distillation and absorption malfunctions and best practices for trouble-free distillation are discussed using case studies.


Engineers, operators, managers and supervisory personnel involved in the operation, planning, design, starting up distillation processes, troubleshooting, de-bottlenecking, improvement, optimization and management of small, medium and large-scale distillation.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, participants will learn:

  • Basics of distillation process
  • The thermodynamics of Vapor Liquid Equilibria for pure components and mixtures
  • Key concepts, parameters and profiles for the analysis of distillation column operation
  • Tools to detect deficiencies in the operation and optimization of distillation column
  • Operating variables and process control systems used in distillation column
  • Analyze the root causes of plant bottlenecks
  • How to troubleshoot a distillation column and the root causes of the problems and poor performance
  • How to use tools such as fishbone and 5-whys to evaluate column performance, design flaws and optimization
  • How to use root cause analysis, corrective actions tools and techniques such as CAPA and 8D
  • How to avoid explosions and fires in distillation towers
  • How to analyze incidents and accidents during shutdowns, commissioning, and abnormal operation
  • How to prevent flaws that impair reboiler and condenser performance
  • How to avoid destabilization of tower control systems
  • How to troubleshoot common causes of capacity bottlenecks and tray damages
  • How to analyze causes if downcomer sealing problems, and packed tower distributor malfunctions
  • How to control, operate and optimize capacity a distillation column

Course Topics

Overview of Distillation Process Engineering

  • Distillation as a physical separation
  • Vaporization of the different components
  • What is the Distillation process?
  • Distillation columns: Principles, Operation & Design
  • Thermodynamics of pure components and complex mixtures: boiling point, vapor pressure
  • Operating parameters of an industrial distillation column
  • Pressure, Temperature, Flow rates, and Reflux Ratio
  • Instrumentation and process control loops
  • Trays, Packings, contacting systems for the active area, liquid or vapor distributors, collectors and redistributors
  • Effect of temperature, pressure, feed stage location and reflux ratio

Overview of Distillation Process Main Steps

  • Conversion of the desired liquid from a mixture into vapor
  • Condensation of the purified liquid
  • Collection of the condensed liquid
  • Example of a simple laboratory distillation setup

How Does the Process of Distillation Work?

  • Distillation as a chemical or physical process
  • Different Types of Distillation?
  • Fractional Distillation
  • Simple Distillation
  • Steam Distillation
  • Vacuum Distillation

Troubleshooting Distillation

  • List of Malfunctions
  • Optimizing Performance
  • Coking
  • Issues with Fractionation
  • Tower Sizing and Material Selection
  • Feed Entry Pitfalls in Tray Towers
  • Issues with Reboilers and Condensers
  • Packed-Tower Liquid Distributors
  • Vapor Maldistribution in Trays and Packings
  • Tower Base Level and Reboiler Return

Analyzing Malfunctions

  • Chimney Tray Malfunctions
  • Drawoff Malfunctions
  • Tower Assembly Mishaps
  • Water-Induced Pressure Surges
  • Explosions, Fires, and Chemical Releases
  • Undesired Reactions in Towers
  • Foaming
  • Leaks
  • Relief and Failure
  • Tray, Packing, and Tower Damage: Part of Number 3 on the Top 10 Malfunctions
  • Misleading Measurements
  • System Assembly Difficulties


  • Issues and Difficulties during Start-Up, Shutdown, Commissioning, and Abnormal Operation
  • List of Misbehaves including Pressure, Condenser, Reboiler, Preheater Controls, PLCs and Control Problems

Course Book:

Distillation Troubleshooting by Henry Z. Kister, Published by Wiley


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