How Do Plant-Wide Diagnostics Pinpoint a PID Controller Performance Issues
CLPM Technologies Simplify Issue Identification and Prioritization
It may not be hard to imagine: It’s holiday season. You’re headed to the local shopping plaza. You’ve got one, two, maybe more children in tow. There are thousands of cars competing for a fixed number of parking spots. Items on your list are in limited supply – of course. The permutations of things that could go wrong seem unlimited as each of these factors interact with each other. Anxiety builds. The crowds. The lines. The waiting. If you only had the ability to track the movement of other consumers on a mall-wide basis and avoid problems that put your shopping mission at risk!
There is no app for monitoring shopping mall activity yet, but there is a growing number of technologies for assessing the relative health of a production facility’s regulatory control systems. The category is often referred to as PID monitoring, control loop monitoring, or – as we call it – control loop performance monitoring (CLPM). These tools proactively identify and isolate performance issues plant-wide. They all include some level of graphical diagnostics designed to help users with both pinpointing critical challenges and determining appropriate corrective actions.
When considering a CLPM technology and its diagnostic capabilities it may be helpful to keep the following in mind:
If a picture can tell a 1,000 words, then different visual cues should make a plant’s problem areas immediately obvious. Traditional ‘stop light’ charting has been shown to quickly draw attention. In the context of PID diagnostics it highlights loops that are in critical condition. So too the sizing of different loop icons based on their economic importance can put performance details into clear context. In the end, these visual cues should indicate where to begin and they should facilitate choosing what to do next.
Relevance is another essential attribute of effective diagnostics as it eliminates information that’s little more than ‘noise’. The need for relevance is particularly important when characterizing control-related issues and customizing data based on different job functions. KPI-based filters should screen noise and help to specify common performance challenges ranging from mechanical problems, loop interaction, and tuning issues. They should also cater to the different information needs of Operators, Technicians, and Engineers.
At the start of each appointment doctors routinely begin by checking their patient’s vital signs – fundamental attributes such as blood pressure and body temperature. Those details provide important information that put the patient’s symptoms into context. The information from a loop diagnostic technology should help to establish a similar baseline. When viewed in the context of a performance problem, simple details that clarify a given loop’s name, type (e.g. pressure vs. temperature), and other KPI specifics can influence decisions related to root-cause analysis and corrective action.
The purpose of a CLPM technology is to simplify what could otherwise be an overwhelming task – to quickly and accurately assess performance issues and to facilitate corrections and continuous process optimization. Like crowds at the mall during Christmas, performance issues are unavoidable. With the help of intuitive diagnostics process manufacturers can anticipate those issues thereby enhancing production efficiency and throughput.
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