Why Process Optimisation?
The chemical industry is fiercely competitive and is constantly trying to significantly improve existing process technologies or develop new technology to satisfy the growing demand. It is essential that the processes are operated to meet key production objectives, such as process safety, environmental regulations, and product specifications.
These key production objectives must be satisfied even when the process is subjected to disturbances during operation. Process operation must ensure proper management of process variability and this task is accomplished by a (well-designed) automatic process control system, with a proper set of parameters.
A chemical plant may have thousands of measurements and control loops. Although the Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) controller has only three parameters, it can be quite difficult to find good values (settings), without a systematic approach.
Finding poorly tuned controllers in process plants is in fact quite common!
A visit to a process plant will likely show the following shape of the control system:
- 85% of controllers perform inefficiently when operated in automatic mode
- 65% of the controllers are poorly tuned, masking control related problems
- 30% of PID control loops are operated in manual mode
- 20% of control systems are not properly configured to meet their objectives.