Loop tuning: Utility software adds sophisticated modeling capability

New modeling capability means tuning process can begin before reaching steady state condition.
By Control Engineering Staff September 2, 2008

Control Station has released Loop-Pro Version 5, its patent-pending PID diagnostic and optimization technology, which it bills as a major advance in PID controller tuning. The core of v5 is the non-steady state (NSS) modeling innovation. Control Station filed a patent for the NSS modeling innovation with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office in June, 2008.

The company says this advance provides manufacturers with new capabilities for improving control over complex production processes and achieving more profitable plant operations. With NSS modeling, the platform can handle an exceptionally broad range of processes because it eliminates the requirement for steady-state operation prior to the performance of process “bump” tests. Consequently, users no longer need to wait extended periods of time for processes to settle out, minimizing disruption to ongoing production. With increased focus on production efficiency, Loop-Pro v5 offers a highly effective solution for increasing productivity and product quality while reducing production waste.

“Loop-Pro Version 5 has demonstrated unique value especially in terms of optimizing the performance of batch systems,” says John Gaines, senior controls engineer at Evonik Jayhawk Fine Chemicals. “We’ve successfully used Version 5 to model and tune complex processes such as the temperature of batch reactors. The software’s ability to accurately model non-steady state process data has proven to be highly effective.”

Loop-Pro claims many leading manufacturers as users across a range of process industries. Beta tests were reportedly conducted successfully by select Control Station customers, including those from the oil & gas, pharmaceutical, specialty chemical, and food & beverage industries. In each case, customers realized significant improvement in their modeling of process data and in achieving enhanced regulatory control.

“Control Station continues to move forward with impressive product enhancements,” says John McIlwain, process control leader at Honeywell Specialty Materials. “From an end user’s perspective, the new capabilities within Version 5 propel Loop-Pro toward best-in-class status for optimizing the performance of PID controllers.”

Achieving and maintaining steady-state operation is challenging in real plant operations. A typical production environment is inherently dynamic, due to hundreds or even thousands of interacting process variables. Ensuring that all elements of a production process are stable prior to and during bump testing is often difficult, if not impossible. Eliminating that requirement can help increase throughput, improve quality, and reduce operational expenses.

—Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, PWelander@cfemedia.com ,
Process & Advanced Control Monthly
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