Leading Lights

The Process Automation Hall of Fame Adds Four New Luminaries

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After leaving SC Johnson in 1986, he founded Expertune Inc. on the concept that it should be possible to easily and automatically tune not only individual instrument loops, but also the processes of the entire plant. "I think my most important contribution is making control loop optimization technology easily available to engineers. This has been one of my life goals for years," he says.

"In the future," Gerry says, "there will be more available tools to help engineers optimize, with the whole plant looking at the same, simple optimization tools."

Willy WojsznisWilly Wojsznis
The Advanced Algorithm Man
"My imagination in high school in the late 1950s was affected by the starting of the era of space flights and popular versions of cybernetics," advanced control pioneer Willy Wojsznis says. "This affected my selection of control engineering education. My professional career was rewarding in many respects, and over time I had no thoughts of changing, rather merging deeper into control, moving toward advanced control."

Born in Eastern Europe, and with degrees from Kiev Polytechnic Institute in Ukraine and the University of Wroclaw and Warsaw University of Technology in Poland, Wojsznis pioneered in designing computer control system hardware and software and computer applications in steel mills, pit coal mines and power plants.

The work resulted in eight European patents and 18 conference papers. He's developed and co-developed (often with fellow Process Automation Hall of Fame inductees Greg McMillan and Terry Blevins) innovative advanced control algorithms. These included an embedded LP optimizer, control loop auto-tuner, adaptive tuner, optimal model-predictive control algorithm, process model identifier, batch fault detection algorithm, a set of diagnostics and quality prediction tools, a fuzzy logic controller and an intelligent neural network toolkit. He has 30 U. S. patents, and a dozen pending patent applications.

Wojsznis also co-authored the bestselling book Advanced Control Unleashed, wrote one chapter in Béla Lipták's Instrument Engineer's Handbook, and produced many conference and journal papers.

Wojsznis' award-winning advanced control designs have been implemented in Emerson Process Management's DeltaV DCS system. "It was a great professional adventure, working on adaptive control, MPC, optimization, fuzzy logic and other advanced control projects, and I may rely on users' opinion in selecting my more important contribution." He continues, "They like, in particular, DeltaV Insight. This product gained common high acceptance and broad use. The design is based on adaptive process modeling and PID tuning algorithms developed with my major contribution."

What does Wojsznis see in the future? "The trend of integration of advanced control products into the control system which started 15 or so years ago will continue," he says. "Robustness and ease of use of advanced control will progress. Industrial processes will be designed jointly with complete advanced control strategy, using models developed from high-fidelity simulations. The process operation will take more advantage of advanced control from the early start-up." He concludes, "Activity on perfecting control strategies for batch control, fault diagnostics and quality prediction will intensify."

Yukata WakasaYutaka Wakasa
DCS Pioneer
In the Class of 2009 was Renzo Dallimonte, who designed the first Honeywell TDC2000 DCS. At the exact same time in 1975, Yutaka Wakasa was one leader of the team at Yokogawa developing the Centum DCS. Wakasa is one of this year's inductees into the Process Automation Hall of Fame.

Some people seem to suddenly find themselves in the automation professions—but not Wakasa. "As I started my job to develop process control systems," he says, "I found my way into the automation profession quite naturally."

Wakasa is a senior consultant for Yokogawa Electric Corp. and a technical advisor for the Japan Electric Measuring Instrument Manufacturers Association (JEMIMA). He joined Yokogawa in 1965 as a development engineer to design the central processing unit (CPU) of the Yokogawa DDC system, the predecessor of the DCS. Wakasa was one of the leaders  of the Centum project in 1975. "My most important contribution was establishing the system architecture of Centum, especially the fault-tolerant system architecture and the continuous enhancement of the system," he says.

In addition, as his career at Yokogawa flourished, Wakasa also was promoted to director of the Test and Measurement business, and then in 2000 to President of Yokogawa Denshikiki Co., Ltd.

Wakasa predicts that the next generation of DCS will be based on highly networked advanced technologies.
Like many of his peers, Wakasa is a renaissance man. His hobby is playing the violin, and in 1999, he organized the Yokogawa Symphony Orchestra, which gives an annual concert.

The Class of 2010 has some thoughts for young people entering the automation profession. Yutaka Wakasa believes that one should "make continuous effort to be a professional engineer of process automation. Global warming due to the increasing energy consumption has become a serious problem in the world," he continues, "and process automation should make a significant contribution to improve energy efficiency.

"To enjoy industrial automation profession," he says, "a person starting work needs to be patient, rely on teamwork, gaining as much as possible from seasoned professionals. With time, someone would see more beauty in this profession than it seemed to him or her at the start."

John Gerry advises, "You have to work hard at what you love to do, but keep in mind that there are parts of any job that are not fun and just have to be done."

Joe Alford adds, "Automation involves some really neat technologies, but that, by itself, will not sell project proposals. Learn to define, demonstrate and articulate the benefits of process automation, such as reducing process variability. This will sell projects to plant managers, who will invest in automation technologies if they are convinced that significant operating plant cost reductions will result."

All the inductees in the Class of 2010 of the Process Automation Hall of Fame have been "changing art to science." 

Walt Boyes is Control's editor in chief.


The Process Automation Hall of Fame

Founded in 2001, the Process Automation Hall of Fame seeks to identify and recognize outstanding contributions to the field of Process Automation over a lifetime's body of work. The members of the Hall are:

  • Marion "Bud" Keyes
  • Béla Lipták
  • Greg McMillan
  • F. Greg Shinskey
  • Terry Tolliver
  • Harold Wade
  • Karl Astrom
  • Lynn Craig
  • Charles Cutler
  • Terry Blevins
  • Thomas M. Stout
  • Ted Williams
  • Richard H. Caro
  • William G. "Bill" Luyben
  • R. Russell Rhinehart
  • Edgar Bristol II
  • Richard E. Morley
  • Wyman "Cy" Rutledge
  • Kathleen Waters
  • James H. Christensen
  • Thomas F. Edgar
  • Angela Summers
  • Vernon Trevathan
  • William M. Hawkins
  • Dale E. Seborg
  • Hans D. Baumann
  • Renzo Dallimonti
  • J. Patrick Kennedy
  • Carroll Ryskamp
  • Cecil Smith
  • Joseph S. Alford
  • John Gerry
  • Willy Wojsznis
  • Yutaka Wakasa
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