SuperPro Designer Product Features

This page highlights the key features and capabilities of SuperPro Designer. Please watch the brief overview video of SuperPro for additional information. For detailed information on the tool, please watch the SuperPro Overview and Advanced-Subject videos on the videos page of our website and study the ReadMe files in the SuperPro examples. You can test-drive SuperPro and experiment with all its examples by downloading the free functional evaluation edition of the tool from the downloads page of our website. Publications and presentation documents can be downloaded from the literature page of our website.

Widespread Adoption by Industry and Academia

SuperPro Designer is used extensively in the pharmaceutical, biotech, specialty chemical, food, consumer product, metallurgical, and related industries. SuperPro also facilitates modeling of water purification, wastewater treatment, and air pollution control processes. More than 500 companies around the globe have already included SuperPro in their arsenal of everyday tools. Click here for a partial list of current industrial and academic users.

SuperPro Designer is also a very popular teaching and research tool. It is already in use at more than 1000 colleges and universities around the world. It strengthens the teaching of a variety of courses (see table on the right) and supports research in related fields. It equips bio / chemical and food engineering students with skills that are useful in the growth sectors of the process industries (e.g., biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, food processing, specialty chemicals, etc.). For environmental and metallurgical engineering students, SuperPro is useful in emphasizing the value of “systems approach” in the design and economic evaluation of integrated water purification, wastewater treatment, metallurgical & materials and air pollution control processes.

University Courses Strengthened by SuperPro Designer

  • Process and Plant Design
  • Biochemical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Engineering
  • Food Engineering
  • Unit Operations
  • Metallurgical Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
  • Water Purification
  • Wastewater Treatment
  • Air Pollution Control


Modeling of Batch and Continuous Processes

SuperPro Designer is the only commercial process simulator that effectively handles modeling of both continuous and batch processes as well as combinations of batch and continuous. It features an intuitive and user-friendly interface that speaks the language of process engineers. Users model a process by developing a flow diagram (see figure below), declaring the materials utilized in the process and initializing its operations. SuperPro’s databanks include physical and thermodynamic properties for more than 1200 materials. In addition, SuperPro supports user-defined materials and is compatible with the DIPPR and PPDS commercial component databases. SuperPro can easily converge processes with any number of recycle loops and is equipped with several advanced thermodynamic models for vapor-liquid equilibrium calculations. The table on the right lists the key outputs of a SuperPro Designer model. The results of the analysis are visualized through a variety of reports and charts (scroll down for more details).

Key Outputs of SuperPro Designer

  • Material and Energy Balances
  • Equipment Sizing & Rating
  • Cost of Goods Analysis
  • Process Scheduling and Cycle Time Analysis
  • Throughput Analysis and Debottlenecking
  • Scale Up/Down and Process Fitting
  • Environmental Impact Assessment

Unit Procedures

SuperPro Designer utilizes a two-level representation of processing steps for batch processes, in accordance with the ISA-95 standards of batch process modeling and automation.

An equipment-looking icon on the flowsheet (see figure above) represents a unit procedure which can include any number of operations. Operations represent tasks executed within a unit procedure. For instance, the P-1 vessel unit procedure (see figure above) includes the following operations: Charge Water, Charge Glucose, Agitate, Transfer-Out, and CIP (see figure on the right). For every operation within a unit procedure, SuperPro includes a mathematical model that performs material and energy balance calculations. Based on the results of the material and energy balances, SuperPro performs equipment-sizing calculations. If multiple operations within a unit procedure dictate different sizes for a certain piece of equipment, the software reconciles the different demands and selects an equipment size that is appropriate for all operations. In addition, the tool checks to ensure that the vessel contents will not fall below a user-specified minimum volume (e.g., a minimum impeller volume) for applicable operations.



Before any simulation calculations can be done, the user must initialize the various operations by specifying operating conditions and performance parameters through appropriate dialog windows. For instance, the figure on the left displays the initialization dialog window of a simple Charge operation. Through this the user specifies the amount being charged (based on mass or volume) and its composition through the window of the stream (S-101) that is associated with the operation. In addition, the user specifies either the process time (duration) of the operation or the charge rate (based on mass or volumetric flowrate) and the program uses that information to calculate the duration. Each operation dialog window features multiple tabs for specifying different groups of parameters. For instance, vessel sizing parameters are specified through the Volumes tab and scheduling information is specified through the Scheduling tab.

The two-level representation of batch processing steps enables users to model batch processes in detail. In continuous processes, unit procedures behave like traditional unit operations. They include a single operation, and the Scheduling tab is hidden.

SuperPro Designer is equipped with more than 140 unit procedure & operation models and new ones are constantly being added. Detailed information on the available unit procedure models is available on the SuperPro Overview page.

Scheduling and Visualization of Batch Processes

SuperPro Designer generates a detailed Gantt chart (see figure on the right) that enables users to visualize the scheduling and execution of a batch process and make sure all the scheduling links are specified in a meaningful way. The look and feel of the Gantt chart is like that of MS Project. The dark blue bars represent procedures and the cyan the operations of the corresponding procedures. The yellow bar at the top represents the duration of a single batch. The table on the left displays the duration, start time and end time of each activity. The Gantt chart is highly customizable and can be viewed at various levels of detail. Furthermore, the Gantt chart provides access to all simulation data for every operation in every procedure. If you right-click the mouse on an activity bar and select the appropriate menu item, you can access the properties of that object. Then, if you click on the “Recalculate” button on the menu bar of the Gantt chart window (the right-most button), SuperPro redoes all the simulation calculations and updates the Gantt chart. This allows users to visualize and readily refine the scheduling of a batch process through the Gantt chart interface. SuperPro can export the scheduling data of a batch process (for single or multiple batches) to MS Project in XML format. In addition to scheduling data, the generated XML file includes information on equipment, labor, utility and material resources. Furthermore, SuperPro exports all the information of a batch process to SchedulePro, Intelligen’s production planning and scheduling tool. A batch process in SuperPro becomes a rich recipe in SchedulePro that includes information on materials, utilities and labor resources in addition to main and auxiliary equipment.

Gantt Charts


Equipment Occupancy Chart

SPD-Equipment Occupancy Chart

The Equipment Occupancy Chart (EOC) displays the occupancy of the various equipment units of a batch process as a function of time for a single or multiple batches. The figure on the left displays the EOC for six batches of a simple bioprocess. Each row corresponds to one equipment item. Each color represents a different batch. White space between bars represents idle time. The equipment with the least idle time between consecutive batches (BR-101 and BR-102 in this case) is the Cycle Time bottleneck of the process that determines the maximum number of batches per year and consequently the throughput of the process. The small bars of the top two rows represent the occupancy of two CIP Skids (auxiliary equipment) used to clean the main equipment.

Like the Gantt chart, the EOC allows you to access and modify the parameters of any operation, procedure and equipment unit by right-clicking on the colored bars of the chart and selecting the appropriate menu item. Then, if you click on the “Recalculate” button on the menu bar of the EOC window (the right-most button), SuperPro redoes all the simulation calculations and updates the EOC.

The EOC is an invaluable tool for Cycle Time Reduction and Debottlenecking studies. It enables users to readily visualize and resolve cycle time bottlenecks and increase the throughput of an integrated batch process.

Resource Tracking and Visualization

For batch processes, SuperPro Designer calculates and displays demand for resources, such as materials, utilities, labor, etc.. It also tracks and displays the inputs and outputs and inventory of material supply and receiving units. For instance, the figure below represents the system that supplies purified water to a bio-manufacturing facility. The green lines represent the inventory of water in the storage tank (their values correspond to the y-axis on the RHS), the reddish lines display the rate of water draws and the blue lines represent the rate of the generation system that replenishes the inventory (the values of the reddish and blue lines correspond to the y-axis on the LHS). Changes made in the process scheduling information are immediately reflected in the resource charts. This functionality facilitates sizing of utility generation and storage systems for greenfield projects as well as for retrofitting of existing facilities . If you are interested in the subject, please visit the Videos page of our website and scroll to the bottom of the page. You will find two videos that provide detailed information on Purified Water (WFI) System Sizing. The ReadMe file of the MAB example of SuperPro in the Pharmaceuticals folder also provides detailed information on the subject.


Cost Analysis and Report Generation

SuperPro Designer generates twelve comprehensive reports that provide information on material and energy balances, equipment sizing, capital (CAPEX) and operating (OPEX) cost estimation, throughput analysis, environmental impact assessment, emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), etc.

The table on the right is the Executive Summary of the Economic Evaluation Report (EER), one of four reports that provide information on cost and financial analysis. The full EER includes information on equipment size and cost, a breakdown of the fixed capital investment items, the cost of raw materials, utilities, labor, consumables, and waste disposal as well as a summary of the annual operating cost and the results of the profitability analysis. The Itemized Cost Report (ICR) provides detailed breakdowns of cost per flowsheet section and unit procedure. The Cash Flow Analysis Report (CFR) provides detailed financial analysis results for the entire life of a project.

Executive Summary of Cost Analysis


SuperPro Designer can generate these reports in various formats, including PDF, RTF, Excel, HTML, XML, Text, etc. The reports may also include charts. For instance, the pie chart on the left is part of the EER.

The cost analysis functionality of SuperPro Designer is a very popular feature of the tool and most of the users take advantage of that. Additional information on the subject is available on the Cost Analysis page of our website.

The databases of SuperPro facilitate standardization of cost analysis and sharing of data by multiple users of a corporation. More specifically, information about the unit cost of materials, consumables, utilities, labor, etc. can be stored in the database of the tool and shared by the members of a team. The same applies to parameters for estimating CAPEX and OPEX, equipment cost functions, equipment and resources available at manufacturing sites, equipment that can be purchased from vendors, etc. For detailed information on the role of the SuperPro databanks, please visit the videos page of our website and watch the two Databanks Tutorial videos.

Sensitivity Analysis, Math Optimization, and Monte Carlo Simulation

SuperPro Designer is equipped with a thorough Component Object Module (COM) library that enables users to drive the tool through Excel, MATLAB, C#, Python and other computing environments. Many users take advantage of this feature to automate sensitivity analysis and math optimization through Excel. The figure on the right represents the results of a sensitivity analysis study performed using Excel and SuperPro. The ranges and step changes of the two input variables (pressure and temperature) were specified in Excel. For each combination of input parameters, the values were sent to SuperPro using its COM interface, the calculations were performed by SuperPro and the results of the output parameter (CO2 Recovery %) were retrieved and plotted by Excel.

Math optimization can be performed in a similar manner by engaging the Excel Solver. Monte Carlo simulation can be performed by combining Oracle Crystal Ball or @Risk (both Excel add-in applications) with Excel and SuperPro Designer. For detailed information on Monte Carlo simulation, please click here to download a pertinent publication from our group. Additional related publications are available on the literature page of our website.

SuperPro Designer is shipped with several examples that provide detailed information on how to drive the tool through Excel and C#. They can be found in the Examples \ COM folder.


Compatibility with Other Tools

SuperPro can export the scheduling data of a batch process (for single and multiple batches) to MS Project in XML format. In addition to scheduling data, the generated XML file includes information on equipment, labor, utility and material resources. Furthermore, SuperPro can export all the information of a batch process to SchedulePro, our production planning and scheduling tool. A batch process in SuperPro becomes a rich recipe in SchedulePro that includes information on materials, utilities and labor resources in addition to main and auxiliary equipment.

The reports of the tool can be generated in multiple formats (e.g., PDF, RTF, Excel, HTML, XML, Text, etc.) and viewed / edited using a variety of tools. The data of the various charts can be exported in CSV format and viewed / plotted using MS Excel. The flow diagram and all the charts can be copied and pasted into MS Office in Picture and other formats. In addition, the flow diagram can be exported in DXF format, which is compatible with AutoCAD, MS Visio and other tools.

As explained in the previous section, SuperPro can be driven through Excel, MATLAB, and various other programmable tools. This facilitates exchange of data with other tools and creation of customized interfaces and reports.

The databases of SuperPro are in MS Access format. This facilitates importing of data (e.g., cost of materials, consumables, etc.) from ERP tools and other sources.