Voices: McMillan & Weiner

Getting innovation back into process control

Virtual plants and online metrics can capitalize on the synergy between modeling and control to unleash engineers' imaginations to push the process control envelope

By Greg McMillan and Stan Weiner
Apr 6, 2015

*Greg:* I don't have the statistics, but I have the general impression that process control innovation is on the decline. We are into a copy approach to automation projects with an objective of just keeping the plant running. This step backward can be attributed to the retirement of specialists, downsizing of corporate and plant staffs, overwhelming emphasis on project schedule and cost, lack of technical resources that provide practical guidance on the implementation and value of process control improvements (PCI), and an attitude that the profession is mature, and it has all been done before. In reality, new advanced control tools and an increase in PID and tuning software functionality can empower the individual to the point where imagination is the limit. We conferred with Todd Jaco, a recent graduate of the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) and new business manager for Mynah Technologies to see what we can do to turn this around and open up minds. Todd has extensive practical experience as a simulation consultant and is a great communicator with exceptional interpersonal skills.

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