Award-Winning Article on Tips for Control Loop Performance

Emerson's Mark Coughran


A few weeks ago, I recapped an article by Emerson’s Mark Coughran, Know when to look outside the PID tuning. It turns out that this article was not only filled with the wisdom that Mark has accumulated over the many years as a process control & optimization consultant.

ISA Intech: Know when to look outside the PID tuningIt was also award-winning.

The International Society of Automation (ISA) recognized this article with the Nels Tyring Award:

The Nels Tyring Award recognizes the author or authors of the best published article in one of the Society’s journals. The award category was established in honor of Nels Tyring, an ISA member who served the Society for many years, particularly as the Chair of the Journals Editorial Advisory and Oversight Committee.

The recipient of this year’s Nels Tyring Award is Mark Coughran for his Special Section article, “Know when to look outside the PID tuning,” published in the July/August 2016 issue of InTech.

I’ve highlighted Mark’s expertise in many posts over the years. Mark has also written an extremely popular whitepaper on the Lambda tuning method that’s hosted over on the ControlGlobal.com website. You might find this whitepaper very valuable in reducing variability in your process. There is also a very good Emerson Educational Services course on applying the Lambda tuning method. Continue Reading

Building a Trusted Advisor Relationship

Process manufacturers and producers are relying on automation suppliers more and more to achieve the operational performance they require. Technology and expertise alone are no longer enough to satisfy what’s needed to achieve this performance.

innovations in Process Control - Fall 2017In the latest edition of Emerson’s innovations in Process Automation magazine, European president, Roel Van Doren opens by sharing that:

…it is vital that we are not only perceived as a world-class provider of technology, but also as an ethically strong and trusted advisor, whose problem-solving expertise can deliver significant benefits for our customers.

He describes the areas of focus to achieve this.

There are three pillars to achieving this – customer proximity, industry fluency and being easy to do business with. Emerson has taken significant steps to move production and support services as close as possible to major process industry clusters. In terms of industry fluency, Emerson continually invests in its people with training and development to ensure they can ‘talk the same language’ as our customers rather than just selling the technology. We want to understand our customers’ challenges and provide the right solution, which perhaps isn’t just a single product.

In the article, Perfect Execution reduces product lead times, Per Ahlgren explains that: Continue Reading

Simple Apps and Wireless Sensors for Effective Monitoring

Emerson's Brian Joe


Effective monitoring requires good measurement, effective analytics to help understand the measurement, and clear guidance for action to resolve the issue. For manufacturing and production facilities already instrumented for process control, adding measurements can be difficult due to existing wiring infrastructure.

In an Automation.com article, Apps Simplify Wireless Monitoring, Emerson’s Brian Joe describes how the combination of additional wireless measurements and mobile device enabled apps provide easily accessible and power monitoring capabilities outside the traditional control, safety and data acquisition systems.

Automation.com: Apps Simplify Wireless MonitoringBrian opens noting the issue with adding measurements for monitoring beyond what may be already installed. The project team:

…had to wire the new instruments to the existing 4-20mA or fieldbus I/O system. If the existing system was full, this required new cabling, conduit, junction boxes, marshalling cabinets and/or input cards. In some cases, adding a single wired instrument could cost $15,000 or more in labor, materials, new wiring, additional input cards, etc.

By contrast:

…wireless instrumentation and low-cost apps make it possible to monitor pumps, steam traps and other equipment for a fraction of the previous cost, and in much less time.

The wireless instruments form a communications mesh to supply process variable and diagnostic information back to the gateway, which then connects to system such as a historian, control or data acquisition system. To give meaning to this information: Continue Reading

Laser Gas Analyzers for Optimizing Ethylene Production

The ethylene molecule consists of a double bond between carbon atoms and four hydrogen atoms bonded, two to each carbon atom. Per the Wikipedia Ethylene entry, it:

…is widely used in the chemical industry, and its worldwide production (over 150 million tonnes in 2016[5]) exceeds that of any other organic compound.[6][7] Much of this production goes toward polyethylene, a widely used plastic containing polymer chains of ethylene units in various chain lengths.

Th growth of natural gas production from the shale gas formations in the United States has led a rapid increase in global ethylene production. Per a recent Petrochemical Update post:

The ACC [American Chemistry Council] estimates there are 310 projects currently under construction or planned and $185 billion in potential capital investment as of mid- 2017, up from the 97 projects and $72 billion in Mach 2013.

Emerson's Amanda Gogates


Emerson's Jeff Gunnell


Hydrocarbon Processing: Optimizing ethylene production with laser technologyIn a Hydrocarbon Processing magazine article, Optimizing ethylene production with laser technology, Emerson’s Amanda Gogates and Jeff Gunnell describe how laser gas analyzer technology is being used in ethylene production.

These analyzers are being applied to improve production throughput, reduce energy consumption and help to meet ethylene purity specifications. They open noting that gas chromatographs (GCs): Continue Reading

Improving Plant Staff Effectiveness

Emerson's Jonas Berge


Manufacturers across many industries continued to be pressured to be able to do more with fewer staff in their plants. Technologies have advanced to provide more measurements added more easily to be able to optimize the efforts of plant staff.

In a Control Engineering Asia article, Plant operations – from good to great, Emerson’s Jonas Berge highlights specific examples of how pervasive digital sensors and networks can reduce time spent in traditional practices while improving operational performance. I’ll highlight a few examples and invite you to read the article. Continue Reading