November 2, 2010 – Innovative Technology Simplifies Isolation, Optimization of Regulatory Controllers

Innovative Technology Simplifies Isolation, Optimization of Regulatory Controllers

November 2, 2010 – Control Station, the leader in PID control loop tuning and process control technologies, today announced the launch of the Company’s newest product innovation – PlantESP. The launch of this software-based technology significantly expands Control Station’s suite of process control diagnostic and optimization solutions. PlantESP addresses the growing need among process manufacturers for intuitive technologies that alert plant staff of negative trends before production is affected.

PlantESP actively monitors the performance of a production facility’s PID controllers, facilitating the isolation and correction of underperforming regulatory control systems. It complements Control Station’s award-winning suite of LOOP-PRO PID controller tuning products. In addition to identifying control loops that are in need of tuning, PlantESP also alerts users to performance issues related to a plant’s mechanical final control elements and its process limits.

The solution’s launch is the result of years of extensive product research, development, and testing. The concept for PlantESP was first established in 2007 as Control Station’s growing base of licensees solicited the Company for a proactive performance monitoring and alerting capability. Nearly two dozen of Control Station’s customers provided essential input during the requirements definition phase. A formal pilot program was initiated early in 2010, allowing the technology to be thoroughly tested by the end-user community. Each pilot involved the active participation of numerous leading manufacturers from key process sectors.

PlantESP has been a major undertaking and its design reflects the direct input of our customers,” stated Bob Rice PhD, Control Station’s Vice President of Engineering. “Most every production facility can benefit from improving PID control, but isolating a handful of ‘bad actors’ represented a significant challenge. We’ve solved this problem by equipping manufacturers with this logical, intuitive, and effective technology.

Central to PlantESP’s value are features that provide timely plant-wide analysis, customized communications, and actionable recommendations for reestablishing effective control. Developed specifically for small-to-midsize process manufacturers, PlantESP is highly scalable and is capable of monitoring and analyzing 1,000s of PID controllers simultaneously. The software allows each registered user to configure alert and report settings to match their individual responsibilities, changes in production goals, or other job-specific criteria. Beyond the notification of negative performance trends, PlantESP prescribes corrective actions for further root-cause analysis or for process adjustments.

PlantESP is a secure, web-based application that can be accessed through the end-user’s Intranet. It leverages Microsoft’s Silverlight® technology and accesses process data directly from a production facility’s existing data historians and Historical-OPC servers. By using historical data as the primary data source and storing metric values only, PlantESP places minimal demand on a plant’s limited IT resources.

The solution evaluates individual controller performance against a collection of essential metrics and relative to user-defined performance benchmarks. Metrics that are proven to accurately evaluate controller tunings as well as determine the health of final control elements, including stiction analysis, are among those included in the PlantESP solution. Interaction analysis is performed using Power Spectrum and simplifying the isolation of upstream loop interactivity.

PlantESP’s introduction offers process manufacturers a highly valuable means for enhancing the performance of their existing automation investments. With its ability to analyze thousands of individual PID loops as well as to assess their interactivity and recommend corrective action, PlantESP is the ideal solution for improving overall process performance and plant profitability.

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