Simulation shows the ROI of better pH control

April 21, 2016
CyboSoft Real-Time pH Process Modeling and Control Simulation Software allows users to calculate the financial case for replacing on-off control.

This article is part of our Product Exclusive series—

Achieve stability

CyboSoft Real-Time pH Process Modeling and Control Simulation Software allows users to calculate the financial case for replacing on-off control to save thousands of dollars on reagent. 

Despite the increasing sophistication of today’s regulatory and advanced controls, pH of process and effluent fluids remains a technical backwater. “Ironically, about 90% of industrial wastewater pH processes are still controlled by on-off, bang-bang control, resulting in chemical reagent wastes, equipment corrosion and environmental pollution,” says George S. Cheng, CEO, CyboSoft.

Plants resort to on-off control because they haven’t been able to get PID or other strategies to work any better, Cheng says. “Many people blame the sensors, but the sensors are getting better, and lasting longer when the pH doesn’t go to extremes.”

CyboSoft is developing a series of process modeling and control simulation software packages that allow users to see the control problems and how to gain better control. Actual implementation can be done using CyboSoft’s existing or new Model-Free Adaptive (MFA) control software and hardware products. “It’s our mission to provide software tools and control solutions to help the industry improve control systems and achieve better safety, higher quality and lower costs,” Cheng says.

The first in the series is CyboSoft Real-Time pH Process Modeling and Control Simulation Software (Industrial Flare Process Modeling and Control is coming). It’s designed to help engineers learn how their pH process behaves, and how to effectively control this extremely nonlinear process for better stability, to comply with EPA wastewater discharge rules and/or save on chemical reagent.

The software is built in National Instruments’ LabVIEW platform and includes:

    • pH process diagram,
    • Strong-acid-strong-base pH model,
    • Strong-acid-weak-base pH model,
    • Weak-acid-strong-base pH model,
    • Weak-acid-weak-base pH model,
    • MFA control simulation for the four pH processes using a MFA pH controller, 
    • PID control simulation for the four pH processes,
    • On-off control simulation for the four pH processes,
    • Graphical interface with control faceplates and real-time trends,
    • LabVIEW diagrams, and
    • pH process model description, MFA controllers used, and recommended control strategy.

“Most process models are presented as mathematical equations or formulas, which are important but have limited usage,” says Cheng. “A real-time process model can be used as a virtual process to simulate a real process with minimal setup time and cost.” 

CyboSoft’s pH process models are delivered as VIs (virtual instruments) in LabVIEW. The user can design and test their pH control systems using the pH process models running in real-time. For instance, a pH process model can run in a PC with real-time interface to a popular pH controller on the market or to an existing pH controller in service. The control results can be compared with the MFA pH control results obtained in MFA control simulations. The user can then take the results, estimate the chemical reagent savings, and show the potential return-on-investment (ROI) when applying for budget to buy the proper pH controller or control software to improve pH control performance. 

“Many plants spend tens of thousands of dollars every month on chemicals, but don’t have the capital budget for better pH control,” Cheng says. “We hope this product can solve this dilemma.”

CyboSoft will release a number of real-time process modeling and control simulation software products in its virtual plant software family that can be purchased from CyboSoft’s online store or National Instruments’ Tools Network store, where a 30-day free trial version is available. Customers can also contact CyboSoft for various MFA control products or for consulting and engineering services. Vendors also are welcome to contact CyboSoft for embedding MFA pH control software in their devices.  

For more information, visit