Worth More Than a Thousand Words

Oct. 7, 2008
Process Operations Offer Exciting Possibilities Through Simulation

It’s hard to just talk about simulation. You need to see it to truly grasp the exciting possibilities it offers for process operations. Below is a list of the links on ControlGlobal.com to the simulation videos referred to in this story.

The China Syndrome
This video from Longwatch that would have saved Jack Godell’s life. In the simulation, the HMI screen first shows normal operation. Then an alarm goes off, and the video switches to a “live” camera in the pump room. We watch as the pump shakes itself apart and falls to the floor.

Speed Racer
In the new iRacing racing simulator (www.iRacing.com), the builders laser-scanned each racetrack to replicate the personality, eccentricities and challenges of the track with mathematical precision. This video from Grassroots Motorsports magazine (http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/), shows a driver running an iRacing simulation,and explains how the simulation was done.

Better than 3-D for Batch
N-D lets operators see many more variables with alarms and all the interactions between them and is capable of eliminating alarm floods. In the video black dots are variable process variables; red indicates an alarm; blue is corrective advice for open- or closed-loop use. Green lines are the multi-variable control limits. All an operator has to do is keep the black dots inside the green lines for a perfect batch.

Warehouse Robotics
Discrete automation simulations have much better graphics than process modeling, probably because it’s important to see what the equipment is actually doing. This video is a Simcad simulation of proposed changes to a 300,000-sq  ft warehouse. In the video, you can see simulated robots, AGVs and people scurrying around the floor of the warehouse.

Helicopter Controls
See the online continuation of this story for the solution to control problems in a helicopter control system involving three interacting PID controllers. Engineers used LabView to put the data into the simulator, create a model and run tests. The simulated control had 10 times better response than the helicopter’s standard control system, and the final control algorithms in the simulator could be loaded directly into the helicopter controller.