The DCS (distributed control system) is now controlling almost each and every chemical plant and refinery all over the world. The rapid growth and modernization of industrial process control software and hardware has generated an explosive growth in the field of advanced process control. A rapidly increasing number of advanced applications are getting rolled out in the control rooms. The new age is also seeing many new and inexperienced process control engineers enter the control rooms. Despite the modern curricula in colleges and universities, fresh graduates are not fully equipped with all tools and knowledge required for immediately becoming an effective process control engineer in the control room environment. Furthermore, after 1-5 years, many control engineers get moved or promoted into other areas, management. As a result, new control engineers continue to enter the process control field. There is a growing need for fast and effective training for both new and experienced process control engineers and DCS technicians in the control room environment.
Advanced Process Control and Optimization Tools
Process controls tools can be broadly classified into the following:
- Online Real-time Optimizers
- Multivariable Model-Predictive Controllers
- Expert Systems, Knowledge-based Systems, Rule-based Systems – Advisory Applications
- Fuzzy Controllers
- DCS-resident Advanced Controllers
To successfully implement these advanced control tools, the primary DCS control platform must be properly designed and tuned.
Primary Process Control Tools
Primary process control refers to control schemes implemented all inside the DCS using standard and custom control algorithms. Important elements of primary process control include:
- Slave and Cascade PID Controllers
- Constraint Override PID Controllers
- Feedforward Controllers
- Model-based Controllers using regressed, empirical or semi-empirical models
- Model-based Controllers using rigorous models fit to match real-plant data
- Dead-time Compensators
Important Elements of Primary Process Control
For the primary control schemes to work well, the following elements are critical:
- PID tuning optimization
- Setting the correct configuration options in the DCS
- Knowledge on when to use PID, multivariable controllers like DMC or
- DCS-resident model-based control schemes
- Use of transforms to linearize non-linear processes and dynamics
- Watching for process control performance change with time because of various reasons
Savings Potential because of Primary Process Control
The correct design of primary control schemes in the DCS and the control system performance optimization can save annually:
- US$50,000 to $300,000 in a small plant
- US$100,000 to $1000,000 in a medium sized plant
- US$1000,000 to $3000,000 in a large complex like an olefins plant or a refinery
These benefits are big, but most importantly, they are recurring benefits each year (not just one time). Expensive and more sophisticated advanced control and real-time optimizer projects using complex systems can also provide comparable monetary benefits as the ones listed above. The notable point is that primary control improvements (all inside the DCS) can be achieved far more quickly at a fractional cost and with high monetary savings as compared to complex and expensive control projects.
PiControl Suite of Chemical Process Control Tools
In the modern competitive times, budgets are limited and process control engineers are busy with ongoing plant support and new projects. PiControl Solutions company provides all process control tools you will ever need in the chemical plant control room environment at an attractive cost and requiring the least amount of effort. PiControl suite of products are listed below:
PID tuning training for testing, qualification and certification of DCS technicians, operators and engineers.
Process Control CBT-PlusTM:
Computer-based training on PID control, primary and advanced control for the control room engineer or DCS technician.
Primary and advanced process control simulator and optimizer. Simulates PIDs, cascade-PIDs, feedforwards, model-based controllers, dead time compensators with many features.
Multivariable process dynamics identification with closed-loop or open-loop data. Handles multi-input and multi-output (MIMO) dynamics identification (not limited to SISO).
Online, real-time process control performance monitoring and diagnostics.
Online, real-time reliable detection of process instability and hunting (oscillations)
Recipe-based Rule-based controller, excellent for Polymer plants, Pharmaceutical plants and other processes undergoing change in process conditions.
Powerful non-linear, constrained, multi-input online realtime optimizer, capable of plant-wide or enterprise-wide online optimization.
Advanced calculation platform capable of parallel calculations, sequential calculations, adaptive control and operator messaging and paging.
Powerful, OPC-based Laboratory Information Management System.
OPC client software connecting any two OPC servers from any vendor.
OPC-based two-way data communications bridge between Excel and any DCS/PLC or any OPC server.
Fast data collection and monitoring software to troubleshoot processes and debug/diagnose fast rotating equipment shutdowns and problems.
Click on Demos to download and examine a full-blown demo for each of the products.