New software helps pinpoint root causes of plant upsets

By Control Engineering Staff August 2, 2006

ExperTune’s color-coded process interaction map helps identify potential plant upset sources.

ExperTune’s PlantTriage software, combined with a simple color-coded interaction map, helps users locate root causes of plant upsets by analyzing critical process interaction points. Once these are identified, the process of stabilizing the plant and optimizing production is said to be much simpler.

PlantTriage continually monitors and performs 60 assessments of performance for every control loop in the plant. The new Process Interaction Map helps operators evaluate this real-time data, along with lead and lag data, to highlight interactions between process variables. The color-coded display then focuses attention on the most important interactions.

John Gerry, President and founder of ExperTune, says “Finding the root cause of upsets in a large plant can be a tedious and time-consuming job. Our goal with PlantTriage is to help engineers and technicians save time and effort by focusing on the most important aspects of the process. Process Interaction Mapping saves time and takes the guesswork out of root-cause analysis.”

Process Interaction Mapping displays the extent of interaction between one process variable and every other process variable in the plant, which makes both periodic and steady-state upsets visible. Even complex lead and lag relationships stand out to identify the earliest stages of an upset while it is still forming. From a simple Web browser interface, operators can narrow their search based on any number of criteria, such as unit operation, type of measurement, economic value, oscillation, or more than 80 other criteria.

Gerry adds, “With the PlantTriage tools, opportunities jump right out at you. It is immediately obvious where to focus your attention. With Process Interaction Mapping, people are solving some of their most difficult process interaction problems, and showing a direct improvement to cost and quality.”

PlantTriageecommendations for performance improvement.

–Control Engineering Daily News Desk

Peter Welander , process industries editor