The Control Talk Blog provides guidance from a user's viewpoint on the design of automation systems, equipment, and piping for process control improvement. Details are offered on the selection and installation of PID controllers, control valves, variable speed drives, and measurements to maximize loop performance. The blogs are often more intensive and extensive and less vendor specific than a white paper. The goal is an advancement of the profession by sharing conceptual principle based knowledge.
Greg McMillan is a retired Senior Fellow from Solutia/Monsanto and an ISA Fellow. At present, he contracts with Emerson DeltaV R&D via CDI Process & Industrial in Austin and consults for MYNAH Simulation Technologies in Saint Louis. Greg received the ISA Kermit Fischer Environmental Award for pH control in 1991, received the Control magazine Engineer of the Year Award for the Process Industry in 1994, was inducted into the Control magazine Process Automation Hall of Fame in 2001, was honored by InTech magazine in 2003 as one of the most influential innovators in automation, and received the ISA Life Achievement Award in 2010.
The mechanical, piping, and process design determines the steady state and integrating process gains and the process deadtimes and lags. The process engineer usually sets the project basis for the control system in the development of the Process Flow Diagram (PFD) and in the writing of the operating and process descriptions.
Noise in control loops can wear out valves and get amplified by proportional and derivative action. The filter should reduce noise to an acceptable level without appreciably slowing down the loop. I have enlisted the help of key industry experts to provide their guidance.
The PID structures with proportional on error cause a step change in the PID output for a large setpoint change. For structures with derivative on error there is also a sharp bump almost looking like a spike unless you zoom in.
What are the relative merits of different PID structures, a setpoint (SP) filter, and analog output (AO) setpoint rate (velocity) limits? Should I seek a general solution I can use all the time and each knob fits a particular purpose, or a controller with fewer knobs that does exactly what...
Anti-reset windup (ARW) protection is a standard feature of industrial PID controllers. In some DCS, ARW limits are adjustable besides output limits. The ARW limits may not be at their best values. ARW default values may not match up with output limits as output scale and engineering units change.
This last checklist may help you get the most out of your career and your life. Our accomplishments and our humanity are tightly related. The checklist is a summary of an understanding gained of an attitude and philosophy that has helped me be a better engineer and person. The checklist...
Contrary to common conceptions, bioreactors have more sophisticated analysis and control and with the advent of at-line analyzers more extensive opportunities than chemical reactors. The specialty chemical industry can get a preview of the future from the biopharmaceutical industry.
Nearly every process input is a flow, whether directly via a material input flow or indirectly via an energy input (e.g., utility flow). Good flow control is important for achieving the desired material and energy balance and stoichiometric ratio for reaction rates.
Nearly all of the deadtime in pressure loops comes from the automation system. For gas pressure there is a process time constant or integrating process gain that becomes slower as the volume increases and the throughput decreases.
Compressor surge is the fastest gas dynamic phenomena. A precipitous drop in flow occurs in 0.05 seconds and subsequent flow reversals occur every 1 to 2 seconds. The speed of response requirements for control valves, measurements, and controllers are extraordinary.