Free Series of Greg McMillan Live Process Control Seminars and Demos

We’re launching a new experiment in our world of process automation. I’m teaming up with process automation hall of famer, Greg McMillan, as he launches a series of live seminars and demos over the coming months. Greg has been sharing his process control and process modeling wisdom for years over at the ModelingAndControl.com blog. He’s wanted to do more to pass along the skills required to be a good process automation engineer.

In his post today, he recounts how the introduction of a “virtual plant” to junior and senior chemical engineering students at Washington University in St. Louis:

…for a weekly lab of hands-on learning, the attitude shifted from annoyance to enthusiasm.

Several of his students went on into careers in process control. Realizing this impact led to Greg’s thoughts in an American Control Conference (ACC) 2009 paper, Bridging the Gap between Universities and Industry.

Building on the ideas expressed in that paper, we’ll be conducting a series of live seminars/demos. Greg will make on-line labs and this self-learning experience available to process automation professionals around this globe. These events will be freely available and open to all. Knowing that it’s impossible to find a convenient time for everyone, the Live Meeting sessions will be recorded and made available on our respective blogs.

Greg’s role will be the teacher, and mine will be to provide technical assistance, field questions for Greg, and help bring visibility to these sessions, through many of the social media channels. Deb Franke is also joining us to help Greg with his content and flow and me with the production.

The first seminar will kick off Wednesday of this week– April 7, 2010–at 1pm CDT (UTC-5). The topic will be PID Control of Sampled Measurements. The target time will be an hour, but we’ll go as long as the questions keep coming.

Here’s the preliminary schedule for the rest of the known events at this point:

  • PID Control of Valve Sticktion and Backlash – April 21, Wed 1:00 CDT
  • PID Control of Slow Valves and Secondary Loops – May 12, Wed 1:00 CDT
  • Web Lab Access and Use Instructions – May 27, Thurs* 1:00 CDT
    *Thursday date is to avoid conflict with the World Batch Forum
  • PID Tuning for Self-Regulating Processes – June 9, Wed 1:00 CDT
  • PID Tuning for Integrating Processes – June 23, Wed 1:00 CDT
  • PID Tuning for Runaway Processes – July 14, Wed 1:00 CDT
  • PID Tuning for Split Ranged Valves — July 21, Wed 1:00 CDT

In his post, Greg describes the on-line lab component he hopes to introduce in the May 27 seminar:

…make labs as a self-learning experience available over the web with the idea that an employee could spend a few hours a month at a convenient time (e.g. lunch and learn) trying out the latest in PID control capability for various process and automation system designs and objectives. These labs provide a chance to find process control improvements by setting up scenarios that are of particular interest. Since the user interface employ operator graphics, knowledge of the particular DCS is not required. The capture of the last and best scores in terms of key performance variables (KPI) should help promote recognition and competitiveness for finding the best solutions.

As with any new endeavor, we appreciate your patience as we work through the kinks. From some of our early testing, you’ll want to connect in with a monitor with at least 1280×800 resolution or the image will have scroll bars. Lower resolutions still work, but are not optimum.

To attend the any or all of these events, go to http://bit.ly/JC-LiveMeeting. If you’ve not used Live Meeting before, you can go here to install the Live Meeting client on your PC, MAC, or Linux box.

Audio streams with the seminars, but should you encounter any difficulties, here’s how to connect by phone:

  • Toll-free: +1 (877) 771-7176
  • Toll: +1 (225) 383-1099
  • Participant code: 264679

We hope you’ll join our maiden voyage on Wednesday or catch the recorded episode once it’s posted.

Posted Monday, April 5th, 2010 under Control Strategies, Education.

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