Extending Loop Optimization Throughout the Organization

Individual loop tuning is important, but the benefits multiply when loop performance is improved throughout operating units and fleets of equipment

The many benefits of process loop tuning—including improved product quality, minimized energy use, reduced equipment wear, and others—are well understood. A familiar adage says the squeaky wheel (or perhaps in this case the squeaky modulating valve) gets the grease. But wouldn’t it be better if squeaking could be avoided in the first place?

Our article in Efficient Plant May 2023, titled Optimize Your Loops, discusses how Control Station PlantESP™ control loop performance monitoring (CLPM) software helps users move from reactive practices to proactive optimization.

Beyond one loop at a time

Rapid response to poor control scenarios is important, and many users include CLPM software in their toolkits to improve outcomes. CLPM software is also crucial for dealing with the highest-value and most problematic loops, but companies with multiple similar equipment assets are finding that PlantESP helps them attain additional savings across their entire range of assets.

Most organizations tend to follow a bottom-up approach, where the most difficult loops are addressed first on an as-needed basis. While there are often similar assets which could benefit from identical tuning parameters, it is also true that mechanical differences, fouling, and other influences can cause apparently similar loops to underperform in some cases if the same tuning parameters are applied.

PlantESP continuously monitors a multitude of enterprise-wide control loops, and the TuneView™ feature automatically isolates output changes, calculates process models, and recommends tuning parameters in near-real-time.

Taking it to then next level

The enterprise may have many other IT data sources, such as historians and databases, which can be useful in addition to typical OT process data. PlantESP is designed to leverage these types of enterprise data services, and it is structured with deployment and scalability in mind. With a clearly documented REST API, organizations can use the tools they are most comfortable with, like Microsoft Power BI and Tableau, to perform advanced analytics.

PlantESP includes provisions for benchmarking individual loops, units, areas, and entire plants, so performance can be effectively compared during a variety of timeframes. Users realize many benefits, including:

  • Centralized access: Connects users with the data they need, wherever they are and wherever it originates.
  • Consistent metrics: The only way to ensure users are evaluating like conditions.
  • Performance monitoring: Real-time verification of results, with the ability to indicate performance decay before major issues arise.

Using PlantESP, one multinational food & beverage company cited a 6% throughput increase for milling operations, with a 14%-23% increase in evaporator steam efficiency across multiple units. 

While it can be tempting to use basic CLPM software to handle individual “bad actor” loops, Control Station PlantESP is often a better solution, especially when deployed across an enterprise, to help users expand their scope of operational oversight so they can drive improved efficiency throughout an organization.

Asset optimization is a continuous journey. CLPM software has become an essential tool for companies to monitor and optimize process control loops.

Control Station team members would like to discuss how your enterprise-wide loop tuning needs can help your organization. Contact us today!

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