Process Control, Process Monitoring White Papers and Technical Articles

Articles and white papers on process control technologies used in the factory and plant automation industry.

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Significant Financial Gains Come with Upgrading an Aging Control System to More Modern Technology

By upgrading aging control systems, manufacturers and processing companies are optimizing production flow and enjoying significant gains in productivity and ROI on their control system investments. Read full article

Creating a Virtual, More Efficient Plant

In today’s plants, operators are faced with an ever-increasing number of servers that are used to perform various functions within a facility. Each of those servers has an incremental burden around things like maintenance, space, power and cooling. Platform virtualization is a technology that allows multiple operating systems to share a single hardware server, thus decreasing maintenance and operational costs. Read full article

How Control Engineers Can Deliver the Most Value

By George Buckbee, ExperTune
Control Engineers are a scarce and valuable resource for process plants. When applied to the right tasks, control engineers can easily deliver 10X their annual salary in results. This paper discusses the various tasks that a control engineer typically performs, and examines ways to help focus these valuable resources on the areas that yield the greatest returns to the business. Read entire article by ExperTune. Click here to learn more about PlantTriage

Performance Improvement for Cooling Water Systems

Availability of cooling water system is critical to operation of a plant. This white paper provides an update on real-time process control technology based on corrosion measurement that provides a comprehensive understanding of unit operating condition and fouling/scaling activity in cooling water and process water systems. Read full article

Flexibility guaranteed

By John Croft, ABB
Technical note describes how software libraries in ABB’s Extended Automation System 800xA can gather information from multiple plant sources and transform it into relevant information for users such as maintenance technicians, process engineers, production managers, or plant operators. Read full article

Integrated electrical…

By Tom F. Nestli and Peter Tubaas, ABB
Seamless integration of electrical and automation systems are highly desirable in a process plant, At the Statoil Snøhvit liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, the Electrical Control and Supervision System (ECSS) communicates with a wide range of equipment and ensures a stable power supply to the LNG facility. Read full article

Integrated engineering

By David Dobson and Robert Martinez, ABB
The design of a process plant is a daunting task. Numerous sensors and actuators need to be installed and connected, cables must be laid and cabinets wired. The instrumentation within the plant is specified and designed by different teams. Highly complex documentation is required to keep track of all this. Read full article

Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) Algorithm

A lot of papers, articles, and guides have been written over the recent years addressing Continuous Process Improvement (CPI). However very few address methodologies related to the improvement of the process itself, that is, the processing of the metrics used to measure the effectiveness of a process. The methodology proposed in this paper can be applied to any processes i.e. manufacturing, management, software development, financial, etc. Read full article by Francois Yves Simon.

The Dynamics of Process Control

How best does a process controller go about controlling the controlled variable at or very near set point at all times? Gain new insights into process control and find out how a specific process controller works. Read full article by Ken Melvin.

Hierarchical State Machines in the Automation Process

Often during the process of supporting, modifying or re-engineering automation software, I have found myself making the same conclusion: “This is a Hierarchical State Machine trapped in the body of a C program, struggling to get out!” It seems that many programmers tackle a problem in the A to Z approach, creating a program that is chained to the original programmer’s concept of how the process is to be automated. The result is a system that is difficult to support, suffers from instability, and is difficult to add or modify functionality. This article will introduce you to the concept of a Hierarchical State Machine (HSM) and show you how this approach works so well in software engineering for the automation industry. Read full article...

Object Oriented Programming in Control System Software Engineering

Object Oriented Programming (OOP) crept into mainstream Information Technology (IT) applications by the mid 1980's. A decade later, OOP permeated Control System Software Engineering applications with many commercially available libraries and applications. The very popular incarnation of these object-based process control applications comes in the form of OPC client/server technology. These applications use OPC as the standards-based communication mechanism. OOP methodologies played a key role in the rapid adoption of the OPC technology. With widespread adoption, OPC facilitates the abstraction of control systems components such as DCSs, PLCs, process historians, and many others. Read full article...

OPC Tunneling Eliminates Setup Headaches

From the shop floor to the top floor, OPC is the preferred communication standard for sharing process control data at all levels of the enterprise.  But as OPC pours into mainstream acceptance, integrators are finding configurations where OPC can be a hindrance to the panacea of plug-and-play application interconnectivity.  The most common situation occurs when applications on different Windows domains must communicate with each other.  Still, other designs call for the use of low-bandwidth or unreliable networks.  It is in these setups that OPC can make use of new “tunneling” technology, which eliminates the biggest OPC headache for integrators: setting up DCOM. Read full article...

Geometry Unifies Process Control, Production Control & Alarm Management

Geometric Process Control (GPC) combines the three key plant applications of Process Control, Production Control (i.e. Achievement of Business Objectives such as producing in-spec product, maximizing Yield or Recovery, minimizing waste and many other Key Performance Indicators) and Alarm Management. It improves all three applications which were previously quite separate as they lacked a unifying mathematical basis. They came together only in the different brains of individual process operators hence inconsistently. Substantial economic and safety improvements result. Read full article

IEC-1131 - The First Universal Process Control Language

IEC-1131 is the first international standard for process control software. By using IEC-1131, a programmer can develop a control algorithm for a particular brand of controller, and import that same program to another brand with minimum modifications, primarily to process input/output subsystems. More Info...

PAS (Process Automation System) Independent Process Monitoring and Field Device Management

Today, over 12 million installed process field devices allow full access to measurement and configuration data via the open HART® communication standard. However, the challenge is to get practical access to this data. Access to the information within HART communication capable devices is often not possible through legacy telemetry and automation platforms. This article describes the application of the Fieldgate HART to XML based field server and the open standard Fieldcare Field Device Tool (FDT) to gain on demand access to selected HART devices over wired and wireless Information Technology based Local Area Networks (LAN) and Wide Area Networks (WAN). Visibility of and access to field device information contributes to efforts to improve the life cycle management of process plants and associated distribution operations. Read complete article...

Measure. Decide. Act. Applying Real-Time Feedback to Deliver Business Results

By George Buckbee, P.E., ExperTune Inc.
To control a business, key measures include sales, profit, productivity, and cash flow. This white paper discusses appropriate measures for control of single loops, unit operations, and entire businesses. The “right things” have a few common characteristics. Read full article