Control Systems Audits

How do your control systems compare against industry benchmarks?

The accuracy of measurements and the stability of regulatory control loops are essential pre-requisites for decision support and advanced control/optimization systems. Measurement and control must function well to ensure that the business benefits of maximum production, low cost, quality product and on-time delivery are realized. However, some overseas surveys have shown that the benefits from many control loops have a half-life of only about six months!

A process and it’s control system are highly interdependent. If any part of the process or control loop changes in behavior, the systems performance degrades and must be re-tuned.

Many systems perform poorly because:

  • The characteristics of the process may have changed
  • Control loop components such as control valves may have changed (degraded condition or replaced)
  • There may be poor sensor calibration
  • There is often poor control tuning (and the control system increases variability rather than reduces it!)
  • There is inadequate operator training.
  • There is poor assessment/communication of the business benefits and economic returns
  • Target values are not properly established.

Classic examples are the high level controls on which most on-machine quality control systems are justified:

  • Maximum throughput
  • Maximum moisture
  • Grade change

The control systems in mills offer a rich source of improved profitability with a relatively modest investment. Audits can pick up where tuning, maintenance or training is needed, or where there are opportunities to improve process stability or profitability through better control strategies.

With the merging of Electrical and Instrumentation groups in many companies, the importance of control and instrumentation has been diminished at both the trade and professional levels. Hence there is a need to supplement these groups with process control expertise.

Procex can provide the following services:

  • Conduct process control performance audits on a regular basis to compare against industry benchmarks and ensure that benefits continue to be achieved.
  • Investigate opportunities to improve your manufacturing operations by the effective use of advanced control and optimization.
  • Provision of decision support systems in areas such as production scheduling, quality and cost.
  • Assist with troubleshooting and rectifying of process control problems.

These services can add value to Continuous Improvement and Asset Management initiatives.

To organise an audit of your plant, Contact Procex!

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