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Industry Articles 2017-05-15T20:35:18+00:00
AUGUST 2016 – OVERCOMING LOOP TUNING CHALLENGES

For years, it was nessesary to steady a process before tuning software could be applied successfully. Because most industrial processes exhibit some degree of ocvillatory behavior, the steady-state tuning requirement meant tuning software could be applied only on loops that were already under reasonable control. Recent advances in process modeling have changed that requirement.

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AUGUST 2016 – HOW TO TUNE PID LOOPS: TEMPERATURE CONTROL CHALLENGES

Temperature control applications can be broken into two main categories—fully continuous and semi-continuous (or batch).  An example of a fully continuous temperature controller is a shell-and-tube heat exchanger. In this application, the exit temperature is controlled by adjusting the flow rate of heating fluid, such as steam, through the shell side. As the flow of heating fluid is increased, the temperature also increases until it eventually settles at a temperature well below that of the heating fluid. Similarly, by decreasing the flow of steam, the temperature drops. The change in steam flow impacts the final steady state temperature of the exit steam.  Processes such as this are relatively easy to tune using the basic tuning rules available.  How can practitioners apply these rules to tune more complex temperature applications?

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JUNE  2016 – CLPM: DELIVERING ON THE PROMISE OF PLANT-WIDE OPTIMIZATION

Petrochemical manufacturers experience unique challenges when it comes to maintaining effective regulatory control.  As practitioners know, the dynamics of petrochemical processes are complex.  From the volatility of batch reactions and rapid responses of pressure control to the highly nonlinear and sluggish nature of temperature control, the range of both process dynamics and industry applications routinely push the common PID controller to its limits.  Whereas an effectively tuned PID can enable safe and efficient production, a poorly tuned controller can inadvertently hamper quality and constrain production throughput.  Innovations in process modeling technology have proven to simplify the tuning of individual PIDs.  Only recently have these innovations been applied to simplifying controller optimization on a plant-wide basis.

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APRIL 2016 -IIOT POISED TO DELIVER BETTER DATA 

Our President and CEO, Dennis Nash, was quoted in a recent magazine article. The article covers the up and coming Industrial Internet of Things(IIOT). Dennis provides insight on how IIOT can easily be incorporated into our product, PlantESP.

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FEBRUARY 2016 -OPTIMIZING THE FUTURE BY LEVERAGING THE PAST

The data historian has evolved. Since its introduction in the 1980s, the historian has transitioned from a simple repository of production data to a treasure trove of operational and business intelligence. Whether required by regulatory fiat or deemed necessary for emergency backup, the historian was originally a cost center in the eyes of many and offered what was generally viewed as limited application value. Storage was expensive, so data was limited. That calculus has changed as the cost of data has dropped and the value of analytics has soared.

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FEBRUARY 2016 – HOW AN AUTO PARTS MANUFACTURER CUT CYCLE TIMES

The process industry’s objectives are simple: increase efficiency and throughput. Some process manufacturers are increasing productivity through technological innovations. Segments such as oil and gas and power have invested in new technologies to improve control over complex, often highly interactive processes. Whether multivariable or predictive in nature, these solutions can be costly and complex, creating obstacles for adoption by other process industry sectors. While other manufacturers may lack the broader energy industry’s resources, their need for growth is equally significant.

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SUMMER 2015 – ADVANCED PROCESS CONTROL: MPC BENEFITS FROM NEW BREED OF REGULATORY TECHNOLOGIES

The market for advanced process control solutions is large and growing, and it’s doing so for good reason.  Demand among process manufacturers for improved production control and efficiency is tireless.  Whether in response to a shrinking workforce, increased production complexity, or ever increasing expectations for productivity – quite possibly all of the above – multivariable model predictive control (MPC) solutions in particular promise significant gains by optimizing the control of complex production processes.

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JANUARY 2013 – PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE EMBRACES ANALYTICPREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE EMBRACES ANALYTICS

 

What is the state of the art in asset reliability? Consider a typical production plant. The human machine interface (HMI) graphics flash like a stoplight: red, yellow, and green. Performance values consistently fluctuate up and down. The data is real-time and it is highly dynamic – professionals equate it to a plant’s vital signs. All the while operators monitor the HMI waiting for indications of an excursion, and maintenance staff tend to their calendar-based maintenance schedules in an effort to ward off failure. Condition-based tools monitor the few attributes that are readily correlated. With uptime synonymous with profit, this inefficient and risky approach belies the technological advances and industry’s investments in improving asset reliability.

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DECEMBER 2012 –  PLANT SERVICES

 

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NOVEMBER 2011 – A POWERFUL MIGRATION OPTION FOR PID TUNING

Now that Rockwell Automation no longer offers RSTune and RSLoop Optimizer, customers have a compelling option through the company’s partner program.

The Rockwell Automation Encompass’s Product Partner program offers a dynamic solution for Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) loop control tuning software through its partner company Control Station, Inc. As of September 30, 2011, Rockwell Automation has discontinued the sale of RSTune® and RSLoop Optimizer. The company will honor existing support contracts, and advises its customers to seek migration elsewhere.

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OCTOBER 2011 – LEADERS UNDER 40, CONTROL ENGINEERING CLASS of 2011

This generation of manufacturing automation and controls leaders includes 19 young professionals excelling in control system design and teaching others about the fun in engineering, while resolving local and global challenges through smarter applications of automation and control technologies.

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MAY 2011 – CONTROL LOOP MONITORS HELP OPTIMIZE CONTROLLER PERFORMANCE

Vendors of control loop performance monitoring and optimization software describe what it does and how users benefit.

In a word, control loop monitoring and optimization is all about savings, saving energy, raw materials, and operator effort while improving quality and profitability in a plant that depends on feedback controllers to produce a product. Commercial control loop monitors help the plant’s operators meet those objectives by automatically collecting and analyzing massive amounts of loop data from which to identify opportunities for improvement.

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FEBRUARY 2011 – PID TUNING FOR ALLEN-BRADLEY PLCS

A best-practices approach to understanding and tuning PID controllers.

In the Forward to his “PID Tuning Guide,” Control Station’s Dr. Robert Rice notes that the proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller is here to stay. Although it remains the most widely used technology for maintaining control over business-critical production processes, the PID controller’s nuances continue to mystify practitioners.

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NOVEMBER 2010 – ROBERT RICE, AMONG CONTROL ENGINEERING LEADERS UNDER 40 FOR 2010

Want to meet the next generation of manufacturing automation and controls leaders? In November 2010, Control Engineering highlights 19 young professionals from around the globe who are making their marks in everything from system design to academia. These leaders aim to inspire others to get involved in engineering and resolve local and global challenges through smarter applications of automation and control technologies. Meet Robert Rice

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NOVEMBER 2010 – BIG-TIME CONDITION MONITORING 
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FEBRUARY 2010 – CONTROL ENGINEERING 2010 ENGINEERS’ CHOICE AWARDS

 

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JUNE 2010 – IMPROVING SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH INNOVATION

Sustainability has assumed a more visceral meaning.  For many in manufacturing, just holding on and keeping production facilities afloat has become the singular focus.  Economic upheaval in 2009 has altered the market’s appreciation for Sustainability’s ideals.  Gone – seemingly out of a sense of necessity – were long-term strategies for continuous process improvement and plant optimization.  Inserted overnight were the short-term tactics for simply staying in business.  Lost was the understanding that Sustainability is an answer, not simply an ideal.  Sustainability presents a rational and profitable solution for manufacturers both for the short- and the long-term.

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JUNE 2010 – SOLVING PROCESS INSTABILITY

Some processes just seem hard to manage: Loops won’t tune, upsets are common, products are off spec. Nothing will run in automatic like it is supposed to and you can’t figure out why. What are the main causes of unruly processes, and how do you fix those at the source? How do you hunt down the causes?

Some days it may seem like there are gremlins in the plant doing their best to make your life miserable. Nothing will run in automatic like it is supposed to and you can’t figure out why. What are the main causes of unruly processes, and how do you fix those at the source?

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FEBRUARY 2010 – UNDERSTANDING DERIVATIVE IN PID CONTROL

The third factor in PID is the least understood. Derivative action can do good things, but when used improperly, it causes headaches.

You’ve probably heard the expression, “a little knowledge is dangerous.” This certainly applies to PID loops, especially when you try to dabble with the derivative factor. This element of the control strategy can improve performance, but only in the right situations and when applied properly. Understanding those situations begins with a quick basic review of how PID operates.

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FEBRUARY 2009 – BATCH CONTROL GETS EASIER

Loop tuning package doesn’t demand steady-state operation.

The nonlinear dynamics of most exothermic and endothermic batch reactions require expert attention to assure quality production. For instance, introducing reactants often results in dramatic swings in temperature. Maintaining production tolerances in such an environment tests the effectiveness of any proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller and the associated tuning parameters.

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JULY 2008 – IMPLEMENTING PROCESS SIMULATION-BASED TRAINING

Training the Field Operator of the Future

Simulators are widely recognized as essential to process control training as they facilitate the propagation of a company’s standard operating procedures (SOPs).  This paper explores the use of process control simulators by Chevron Products Company to challenge existing corporate SOPs and to help achieve improvements in overall production performance.

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JUNE 2008 – IMPROVE CONTROL OF LIQUID LEVEL LOOPS
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JANUARY 2008 – CLOSING THE SKILLS GAP

The U.S. industrial sector has seen its fair share of changes and challenges during the past several decades. Throughout it all, however, manufacturers have been able to rely on a steady supply of fresh talent – particularly in the engineering sector – to fuel innovation and hone our competitive edge.

The U.S. industrial sector has seen its fair share of changes and challenges during the past several decades. Throughout it all, however, manufacturers have been able to rely on a steady supply of fresh talent – particularly in the engineering sector – to fuel innovation and hone our competitive edge. Today, however, this competitive advantage is in jeopardy.

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APRIL 2006 –  CONTROL ENGINEERING ENGINEERS’  CHOICE AWARDS

Control Station’s LOOP-PRO Suite was nominated for the Advanced Control category.

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