PiControl Solutions

Key Trends in Process Control Technology: Staying Ahead in 2024

Est. Reading: 4 minutes


In the ever-evolving landscape of industrial automation, staying ahead of the competition is
crucial for any business to remain competitive. Process control technology is at the heart
and soul of manufacturing and production processes, and as we are stepping into 2024,
several key trends will shape the future industry. In this blog, we will touch the latest
advancements in process control technology and provide insights of how chemical
companies can leverage these trends to maintain their edge in the market.

1. IoT and Industry 4.0 Integration

The integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 principles to a process
control technology is a game-changer. By connecting machinery, sensors, and many final
control element devices through a unified network, manufacturers can achieve real-time
performance monitoring and optimal control. This leads to enhanced efficiency, reduced
downtime, and predictive maintenance capabilities. Implementing IoT and Industry 4.0 can
significantly increase production productivity.

PiControl Solutions has powerful real-time process control performance monitoring and
diagnostics technology (APROMON), which can connect over common OPC industrial
protocol to any PLC, DCS or a plant historian, and detect PID control loop, PLC/DCS-
based Advanced Process Control (APC), Model Predictive Control (MPC), measuring
sensors and any final control element performance issues at the early stage of the
behavior. Unlike many other technologies across the globe, APROMON can be installed,
configured, up and running in a just of few hours. It does not need any special hardware
or industrial server and can easily sit on any existing industrial computer connected to
Industrial OPC network.

APROMON will send early warnings or alarms to the PLC or a DCS, and diagnostic
reports to plant personnel’s emails, whenever process control or its dedicated equipment
deteriorates. All the diagnostic reports are created in the manner that any industrial
technician, operator, engineer, or a manager does not need to be skilled in understanding
of any analytical calculations and/or techniques. Diagnostic reports will be written in a
linguistical manner, understandable for everyone, stating the root cause of detected
problems, and providing very simple predictive step procedures of how the detected
problems should be solved.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote monitoring and control
solutions. In 2023, these technologies continue to gain traction. With remote access,
engineers and operators can manage processes from anywhere, enhancing flexibility and
reducing the need for physical presence on-site. This trend is particularly valuable for
global companies managing multiple facilities.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning are revolutionizing process control by enabling systems to learn
and adapt. Advanced algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data to identify patterns,
anomalies, and optimization opportunities. AI-driven predictive maintenance can foresee
equipment failures before they occur, preventing costly downtime. Additionally, AI can
optimize production processes by adjusting variables in real-time to maximize efficiency.
PiControl Solutions has powerful real-time PID control loop optimization technology
(SUPERTUNE), which can connect over common OPC industrial protocol to any PLC

and/or DCS, and optimize tens and hundreds PID control loops simultaneously, on the fly.
Unlike many other autotuning technologies across the globe, SUPERTUNE can be
installed, configured, up and running in a just of few hours. The power of SUPERTUNE is
that it can optimize tens and hundreds PID control loops simultaneously, including ramp
rate or integrating (like level or very slow pressure PID control loops) and self-regulating
PID control loops (like many others). It can optimize PID control loops while they are up
and running in Cascade or a Program mode, without any need to break a control chain
and flip the control mode to Auto or even in Manual. Moreover, SUPERTUNE, unlike any
other autotuning technology across the globe, does not need plant step-tests for PID
control loop optimization. Whenever PID control loops deteriorates, no matter if it
becomes oscillators or very sluggish, without any need or time-consuming, intrusive and
abrupt plant step-tests, SUPERTUNE will optimize any PID control loop.

3. Edge Computing

Edge computing brings data processing closer to the source of data generation. In
process control, this means that critical decisions can be made locally, reducing latency,
and improving system response times. This is especially valuable in industries where
milliseconds can make a significant difference, such as robotics and high-speed

4. Cybersecurity Measures

As process control systems become more interconnected, cybersecurity is of paramount
importance. Cyberattacks on industrial systems can have catastrophic consequences.
From 21 st century, companies are investing heavily in robust cybersecurity measures,
including encryption, intrusion detection systems, and employee training, to protect their
processes from malicious actors.

5. Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

Sustainability is a growing concern across industries. Process control technology is
playing a pivotal role in reducing energy consumption and minimizing environmental
impact. Advanced control algorithms can optimize energy usage, while real-time
monitoring helps to identify areas for improvement, ultimately reducing carbon footprints.

6. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

AR and VR are finding applications in training, maintenance, and troubleshooting within
process control. By providing employees with immersive experiences and real-time data
overlays, these technologies can enhance training efficiency and reduce downtime during
maintenance tasks.

7. Customization and Scalability

Today's process control systems are increasingly customizable and scalable. Companies
can tailor solutions to meet their specific needs, whether they are a small manufacturer or
a large-scale industrial plant. Scalability allows businesses to expand operations without
significant overhauls of their control systems.

8. Conclusion

To stay ahead in 2024 and beyond, companies must embrace the latest trends in process
control technology. Whether it is integrating IoT and Industry 4.0 principles, harnessing
the power of AI and machine learning, or investing in cybersecurity and sustainability.
These advancements offer competitive advantages that cannot be ignored. By adopting
these trends strategically, businesses can optimize their operations, reduce costs, and
ensure they remain at the forefront of their respective industries. Process control technology is evolving rapidly, and those who adapt will thrive in the years to come.

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