Next-Gen Process Control Leaders

Does Being a Process Engineer Help in Being an Innovative Process Control Engineer?

By Greg McMillan, Stan Weiner

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Stan: What have been some of your main accomplishments?

Flávio: I have three main projects I consider the top ones in terms of business delivery. In the first one, we implemented a model predictive control strategy to reduce steam usage in the plant, achieving significant savings and avoiding investments in a new boiler. The second project used an innovative temperature control strategy for a batch reactor that reduced the main raw material usage, achieving significant savings. The third one involved the complete redesign of operation logics for a continuous plant, which significantly increased the plant's productivity and delivered extra finished goods volume to Brazilian markets.

Héctor: I've remotely assisted sister plants worldwide with consulting and sharing of best practices; successfully led the process control area in an accelerated schedule for a major capital project in Mexico; improved the structure of a batch temperature controller eliminating overshoot; and  became part of Solutia's Advance Interlayer Worldwide Engineering Group.

Greg: What are some of secrets to your success?

Héctor: I seek to always deliver more than expected. If I'm supporting trials on site at other plants, I'm not only looking into my specific commitment. I try looking into other things to improve, wearing always both my control and process engineering hats. If someone needs help, I help. If they do not ask for help, I volunteer. I step up.

Flávio: I involve the right people at the right time and deliver the "product," accomplishing the customer needs (in terms of costs, quality, safety, deadlines and benefits).

Greg: Flávio and Héctor will be working with Jack Ahlers and Greg McMillan on a new book tentatively titled Batch Process Control Improvement—Solutions to Increase Capacity and Efficiency.

Top Ten Reasons to Write a Book on Process Control

(10)  Good way of skipping washing dishes after dinner (or even better, changing diapers).
(9) There are already a lot of good cooking books.
(8) The published book will look good on your desk.
(7) It's a good excuse to avoid visiting your mother-in-law on the weekends.
(6)You have great holiday and birthday gifts for friends and relatives.
(5) You have spend money to buy ISA books.
(4) You develop a stylish signature for book signings.
(3) You become best buddies with Oprah and get in her book club.
(2) You can sell the rights for Automation Engineer "Action Figures" and T-shirts.
(1) Your book is the basis of a reality show: "Desperate Engineers in Automation."

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