Introduction to Process Engineering

Engineers learn theory and operators learn from experience, but how do we ensure both theory and experience are combined to full advantage?

This course has been prepared to give a practical understanding of process engineering in the real world, combined with modern control systems and the pursuit of optimum performance.

It is an intensive course which relies heavily on the use of many computer simulation practical examples to explore engineering fundamentals, control and optimisation.

Target Audience

Our experience of trouble shooting operational problems and training operators leads us to believe that the time is not always taken to familiarise operators with the fundamentals of science, process control and their application to day to day operations.

This course was designed for operators but has proven popular with graduate engineers because of the practical introduction to the application of theory.

Course Topics

Day One starts with a practical explanation of the sciences working up to a real world explanation of thermodynamics that everyone operating and supporting plant should be able to understand.

This creates the basis for a first principles explanation of various unit operations that make up a process plant.

We move on to Day Two and the introduction of more applied science in the form of fluid flow and heat transfer, allowing us to introduce more unit operations that are built on this theory.

Day Three follows a similar pattern, exploring mass transfer and process control, before looking at the application of both concepts to the real world.

Course Overview

As with all our courses we teach fundamentals enabling the delegate to understand the basic principles of operation, not theoretically as in a technical education, but practically from a real world operational point of view.

Most importantly the participants will understand enough physics and chemistry to understand fluid flow, heat transfer, mass transfer and process control. They will also understand how control regulates the performance of a unit operation, and the fundamentals of each unit operation.

From an understanding of the physics, delegates will understand phenomena such as centrifugal compressor surge, pump cavitation and the difference between feedback and feedforward control.

This thorough understanding will then equip the delegate to appreciate common operating problems, their causes and their solutions.

Learning Objectives

We do people a disservice when we categorise them as technicians and engineers. Safe, reliable and efficient process plants require these groups to work together, based on a common understanding of first principles.

This is our objective for this course. You will learn:

  • Practical understanding of physics
  • Practical understanding of chemistry
  • Demystified theory of thermodynamics
  • Demystified theory of heat transfer
  • Demystified theory of mass transfer
  • Demystified theory of fluid flow
  • Demystified theory of process control
  • First principles understanding of unit operations


Howard Thomas has advocated practical approaches to handling complexity for over 20 years. He has a unique ability to make the complex clear for his clients and audiences.
He combines an in depth technical background with a wide ranging business experience but is probably best known for his engaging style of presentation.

He is formally technically accredited as a Fellow of Engineers Australia and a Chartered Professional Chemical Engineer and has worked on hydrocarbon installations all over the world, from roles as a technician to executive consultancy.