The Pillars of Process Control

Sept. 28, 2010
Emerson's Terrence Blevins and Mark Nixon Offer Their Expertise on the Foundations of Process Control

Come along as two of today's leading process control practitioners plumb the fundamental foundations of process control—from reading process flow diagrams to the application of multivariable control. Emerson's Terrence Blevins and Mark Nixon pack a wealth of process control expertise into a three-hour course being held twice on Wednesday this week at the Emerson Global Users Exchange in San Antonio, Texas. Take your pick of 8-11 a.m. in Room 006A or 1:15-4:15 p.m. in room 003B at the Henry T. Gonzalez Convention Center.

The course and newly published companion book (available for purchase at the onsite ISA bookstore and ISA's online store) are designed to cover essential material that often is not covered in an academic environment, according to Blevins. "We'll cover the fundamentals as well as when to use specialized strategies such as split-range control," he says.

In the book, the authors address the concepts and terminology that are needed to work in the field of process control. The material is presented in a straightforward manner that is independent of the control system manufacturer. It is assumed that the reader may not have worked in a process plant environment and may be unfamiliar with the field devices and control systems. Much of the material on the practical aspects of control design and process applications is based on the authors' personal experience gained in working with process control systems.

Thus, the book is written to act as a guide for engineers, managers, technicians and others that are new to process control, or experienced control engineers who are unfamiliar with multi-loop control techniques. After covering the traditional single-loop and multi-loop techniques that are most often used in industry, the authors provide a brief introduction to advanced control techniques. Whether the reader is working as a process control engineer, working in a control group or working in an instrument department, the information will set the solid foundation needed to understand and work with existing control systems or to design new control applications.

At various points in the chapters on process characterization and control design, the reader has an opportunity to apply what was learned using Web-based workshops. Dynamic process simulations are built into the workshops to give the reader a realistic hands-on experience. Also, one chapter of the book is dedicated to techniques that may be used to create process simulations using tools that are commonly available within most distributed control systems.

As control techniques are introduced, simple process examples are used to illustrate how these techniques are applied in industry. The last chapter of the book, on process applications, contains several more complex examples from industry that illustrate how basic control techniques may be combined to meet a variety of application requirements.