How Do I Tune a Level Controller?

By Control Guru | November 25, 2014

Level controllers present challenges that are different from others. Although their presence is significant they lag behind Flow controllers in their overall share of the typical production facility’s process control landscape. Unlike other processes such as Temperature, Pressure and Flow, Level control loops demonstrate different dynamics, they don’t play by the same rules as the non-integrating (also known as self-regulating) types. And although best-practices for modeling and tuning Level loops are similar they involve nuances that can hamper a less experienced practitioner.

Why is Zeigler-Nichols the Wrong Choice for Your PID Controllers?

By Control Guru | October 28, 2014

In 1909 Henry Ford famously offered customers any color of his Model T automobile as long as their choice was black. Ford’s “one size fits all” philosophy worked remarkably well at the turn of the 20th Century. For sure, the general population’s improved financial means, its appetite for mobility, and of course a dearth of alternative low-cost options played a role. In contrast, a “one size fits all” approach to PID controller tuning doesn’t work so well in today’s complex, multi-process production environments

Why Are Control Loops Operated in Manual Mode?

By Control Guru | October 9, 2014

Why do manufacturers automate production? Why do they spend millions each year on new equipment and software? Those questions are pretty straight forward, and the answers seem obvious. Clearly automation allows manufacturers to improve the control of complex and business-critical processes. Surely automation reduces the cost of operation by enhancing production output while reducing production-related waste. But if that’s the case, then why do staff at automated facilities choose to operate production in any mode other than “auto”?

What is Output Distribution? How Is It Helpful?

By Control Guru | September 26, 2014

Most of us know what it means to give 110%. Whether by a coach urging players to finish strong or a supervisor encouraging staff to hit a project deadline, many of us have been asked to go beyond some normal expectation of output. Even though we’re limited to giving 100%, operating at such a high level can result in great achievements. When that high octane performance level is required for only a brief period the impact on staff can be minimal. If demanded for an extended period, however, the impact can be long lasting and even debilitating. We’re only human, right?