What should you expect from Process Control training?

    How Process Control and PID Tuning training expands your manufacturing skill set

    Searching for meaningful Industrial Professional Development courses can be frustrating. It’s generally understood that Process Control is an important aspect of a practitioner’s job responsibilities. Even so, it’s often unclear what specific knowledge and skills can be gained from a typical Process Control workshop. When the training emphasizes the use of a particular software tool instead of best-practices that can be applied without software, the search can become even more challenging.

    When looking for a Process Control Workshop the best ones apply an approach that transcends any particular technology. What’s more, when it comes to control loop tuning the best workshops eliminate the mystery and uncertainty of the practice. At the end of a workshop participants should possess three important and specific skills related to effective Process Control and PID Tuning. Those skills are: 1) The ability to tune based on the loop’s control objective, 2) The use of a repeatable method that delivers consistent results, and 3) The ability to examine the procedure and the tuning parameters critically. Here are some details to consider:

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    Break the Rules

    Begin with the Control Objective

    By attending a Process Control Workshop practitioners should learn how to begin at the end. Essentially that means that they should learn to start with the control objective in mind. Each control loop has its own unique purpose. As such, starting with the end in mind is an essential skill since it influences decisions that are made throughout the tuning process. In terms of those decisions, the control objective may influence the type of test that’s preformed (e.g. step, bump, doublet, etc.) as well as the duration, size and range of the test. Different objectives such as Set Point tracking versus disturbance rejection will similarly impact the decision-making process. It’s important to start with these considerations in mind in order to prevent re-testing and the associated waste in time and money.

    Utilize a Repeatable Method

    Manufacturing is a standards-based industry. While there are no specific standards for PID tuning, the practice is not lacking for proven guidelines and ‘best practices’. Upon completing a Process Control workshop practitioners should have mastered an approach for analyzing process dynamics and tuning PID control loops. What’s more, that approach should assure consistent results whether it is performed manually or with the help of software. As such the procedure should follow intuitive steps that eliminate guesswork and reduce the potential for rework. Such a repeatable approach should produce results that others can replicate, thereby instilling confidence in both the procedure and the outcome. The most important aspect of a repeatable process is that it should apply to all types of loops. Anything from fast flow loops to slow temperature loops should be easily tuned using the same technique.

    Employ Healthy Skepticism

    Finally, those who attend a Process Control workshop should be equipped with the ability to think critically – even skeptically. Applying a healthy skepticism to the results as well as to each of the decisions that are made along the way will assure that mistakes are identified and remedied before new tunings are implemented. By gaining a true understanding of the PID, the individual terms (i.e. Proportional, Integral, and Derivative), among other relevant details, practitioners are able to spot inaccuracies that would otherwise undermine control. Even simple insights like correcting for a negative Time Constant value can have a meaningful impact. Learning these and other fundamentals allows practitioners to establish a solid foundation for achieving more effective and efficient control.

    Training remains an essential investment for a manufacturing professionals, and knowing what to look for in a workshop is important. Starting with the end in mind provides a clear direction. Employing a repeatable method produces constant results. And understanding how the PID functions empowers critical thinking. This type of knowledge should be considered prior to enrolling in any Process Control workshop. When these three elements are addressed, then the workshop will position you to improve your plant’s safety as well as increase its productivity.

    If you are looking to learn from Process Control experts, then look no further than Control Station and our Practical Process Control workshops. Our instructors bring years of practical manufacturing experience to the classroom, and they use our highly effective Hear-See-Do methodology in order to maximize the value of each learning engagement.