PiControl Solutions

Benefits of Industrial Advanced Process Control (APC) Implementation

Est. Reading: 3 minutes

Advanced Process Control (APC) refers to the use of sophisticated control algorithms,
process models, and optimization techniques in order to improve the performance of
industrial processes. It goes beyond traditional control methods by incorporating real-time
data acquisition, analysis, and advanced analytical and predictive techniques to
continuously optimize process operations. The implementation of industrial APC involves
several key components and techniques:

Data Acquisition and Monitoring

APC systems gather real-time data from various sensors and instruments installed in the
industrial field. The data is consisted of temperature, pressure, flow rates, and quality
parameters measurements or calculations.

Process Modeling and Simulation

APC utilizes mathematical models and simulations to represent the behavior of the
industrial process. These models capture the relationships between process variables,
enabling predictions of process dynamics and responses. Models can be developed based
on first principles, empirical data, or a combination of both.

Control Algorithm

APC employs advanced control algorithms to analyze process data, predict future
behavior, and calculate optimal control actions. These algorithms often use techniques
such as model predictive control (MPC), adaptive control, fuzzy logic control, or neural
networks. These algorithms calculate optimal targets (setpoints) and control adjustments
(manipulated variables) based on the desired process objectives, constraints, and
optimization criteria.

Optimization and Control Objective

APC systems aim to optimize process performance by adjusting control parameters and
targets in real-time. The control objective focus on optimizing key process variables to
maximize efficiency, minimize energy consumption, reduce waste, or improve product
quality. These objectives consider operational constraints, safety requirements, and
business objectives as well.

Real-time Decision Support

APC provides operators real-time insights and decision supporting information. Operators
can monitor process performance, visualize data trends, and receive alerts or
recommendations for corrective actions. This enables proactive decision-making and
facilitates timely responses to process disturbances or abnormalities.

Integration with Process Control Systems

APC is typically integrated with the existing process control systems, such as distributed
control systems (DCS) or programmable logic controllers (PLC). The APC system
communicates with these control systems in order to pass calculated control actions and
adjust process parameters accordingly.

Implementing Advanced Process Control (APC) in industrial operations can bring also
several benefits, such as:

Improved Process Efficiency

APC optimizes the control action of complex industrial processes by continuously
adjusting process parameters in order to maximize plant efficiency. It can enhance
production rates, reduce energy consumption, minimize waste, and optimize resource
utilization. This leads to improved overall process performance and increased productivity.

Enhanced Product Quality

APC helps in maintaining tighter control over process variables, resulting in improved
product quality. By continuously monitoring and adjusting critical process parameters,
APC minimizes variations and deviations, leading to higher product quality and reduced
defects or deviations from specifications.

Increased Operational Stability

APC systems provide real-time monitoring and control of process variables, allowing for
quick identification and response to process disturbances or abnormalities. By automatic
adjustment of control parameters, APC can stabilize the process and reduce the occurrence
of process upsets, ensuring smoother and more reliable operations.

Reduced Operator Workload

With APC, complex control tasks that would typically require manual intervention can be
automated. This reduces the workload on operators, allowing them to focus on other
critical tasks such as troubleshooting, maintenance, and other process related issues. APC can also provide operators with valuable insights and recommendations for decision-
making, further enhancing their efficiency.

Faster Process Optimization

APC systems utilize advanced algorithms and process models to analyze process data and
identify optimization opportunities. They can quickly adapt to changing conditions, predict
process behavior, and recommend optimal control moves. This enables faster process optimization, reducing the time required to achieve desired production targets and
minimizing the need for manual trial-and-error adjustments.

Improved Safety and Risk Mitigation

APC systems can incorporate safety constraints and alarms to prevent process conditions
from reaching unsafe or undesirable states. By continuously monitoring critical process
parameters, APC can detect potential safety hazards or deviations from safe operating
ranges and trigger appropriate control actions to mitigate these risks. This helps to prevent
accidents, equipment damage, and environmental incidents.

Increased Asset Lifespan

APC can contribute to the longevity of industrial assets by optimizing their usage and
reducing mechanical stress on equipment. By ensuring optimal process conditions and
minimizing process variations, APC helps in reducing wear and tear, extending the
lifespan of machinery, and reducing maintenance costs.

Better Data-driven Decision Making

APC systems generate and analyze large amounts of process data in real-time. This data
can be leveraged to gain insights into process performance, identify trends, and support
data-driven decision making. By providing actionable information and performance
indicators, APC enables proactive decision-making, process improvements, and better
overall business outcomes.

Overall, the purpose of APC is to optimize industrial processes, improve efficiency,
enhance product quality, ensure operational stability, reduce operator workload, support
decision-making, mitigate risks, and extend the lifespan of assets. By achieving these
objectives, APC helps industrial organizations achieve higher productivity, lower costs,
and a competitive edge in the market.

Leave a Reply