ExperTune patents Loop Health Metrics

By Control Engineering Staff March 27, 2006

The U.S. Patent Office has issued patent #6,993,396 for Control Loop Performance to John Gerry, president and founder of ExperTune Inc. The company has invented methods and programs to calculate overall Control Loop Performance based on process, control, and economic measures. This patented technology is a core component of ExperTune’s PlantTriage Performance Supervision System.

PlantTriage gathers data from the control system, performs a series of numerical assessments, and then combines them with economic data to provide a dimensionless measure of control loop performance, or “Control Loop Health.” Using this single number, process plant personnel can prioritize process improvement efforts and maintenance activities.

Control Loop Health can be customized at each plant site to emphasize those measures of performance that relate to the business strategy. For example, one site may emphasize a reduction in oscillation and variability, while another may focus on alarm rates, maintaining loops in normal mode, and speed of control response to upsets. These measures become customized Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs.

Within PlantTriage, Control Loop Health is tracked, trended, and logged at the loop, unit, plant, and site levels. Web-based visualization tools display the information in a colorful, graphical, and intuitive manner. Drill-down capabilities are used to drive analysis to root cause. Integrated control loop optimization and tuning tools ensure that problems can be solved quickly.

According to Gerry, “With so many different pressures facing the process industries, a customized metric for Control Loop Performance is crucial to achieving process performance results. Our clients have been very successful in applying this technology to their specific business environment, whether it is oil refining, pulp and paper production, mining, fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, or other process industries.”

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Richard Phelps , senior editor, Control Engineering