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A polymer, large molecule composed of many connected small molecules, due to its broad range of properties plays an essential and ubiquitous role in everyday life. Polymers are created from the polymerization process of many small molecules (monomers).

Polymers are of two types: naturally occurring and synthetic. Natural polymeric materials such as hempshellacamberwoolsilk, and natural rubber have been used for centuries. A variety of other natural polymers exist, such as cellulose, which is the main constituent of wood and paper.  The world’s importance list of synthetic polymers includes polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, synthetic rubber, phenol-formaldehyde resin, neoprene, nylon, polyacrylonitrile, PVB, silicone, and many others.  The most common polymer used for the preparation of plastics is polyethylene whose repeating units are based on ethylene monomer.

Polymer large molecular mass, huge chains, and strong bounds produce unique physical properties such as; toughness, viscoelasticity, and a tendency to form glasses and semi-crystalline structures, which are of huge value to the production of essential and everyday used materials, like plastics.


Primary Process Control Improvements for Polymer Processes

Prior to any advanced process control (APC) project, even in polymer processes, base-level PID tuning and optimization is a critical pre-requisite step. Unless base-level PID control loops are well-tuned, advanced process control (APC) cannot work well, since advanced process control (APC) will be manipulating the setpoints of the base-level PID control loops. Therefore, the first necessary step in the overall process control improvement procedure for polymer processes is PID tuning and optimization of primary or base-level PID controllers. The benefits of PID tuning and optimization in polymer unit is the reduction of the oscillation amplitude or increase of the controller action by a factor of 2 or 3. This allows to enable smoother running of the polymer plant with increased stability in all control loops avoiding unnecessary polymer plant problems such as: damage and/or to fast wear and tear of the equipment, plant irregular shutdowns or off spec product properties and/or grades.

PiControl Solutions LLC has extensive experience in PID tuning and optimization for polymer controllers, especially for polyethylene, polypropylene, elastomer, polyester to styrene and polyester fiber plants and control systems.

We understand and know how to tackle with typical PID control loop problems and have customized PID tuning and optimization software tools to help optimize all polymer unit controllers.

Our unique and novel closed-loop system identification technology makes it possible to tune and optimize base-level PID control loops quickly, efficiently and precisely. With our closed-loop technology, we can perform system identification and PID tuning optimization of the following critical base-level PID controllers easily. Moreover, all process and data analysis and PID tuning and optimization work can be easily performed remotely by PiControl Solutions LLC process control engineers.

Advanced Process Control (APC) Improvements for Polymer Processes

PiControl Solutions LLC has extensive experience in advanced process control optimization for polymer processes,especially for polyethylene, polypropylene, elastomer, polyester to styrene and polyester fiber plants.

We understand the economics factors that drive the profit margin and have customized multivariable closed-loop system identification and advanced process control (APC) design and optimization tools to help optimize and improve the polymer units.

Because of the huge and abrupt polymer grades and different polymer product properties, it is more cost-effective to implement DCS-based APC (advanced process control) rather than model predictive control (MPC) techniques. DCS-based APC (advanced process control) approach is fast, cost effective, all inside the existing DCS/PLC, avoiding the complications of OPC/other data communication links from computer to DCS.

Polymer facilities can have many different process and process control configurations. We focus to analyze the process and provide the right economic advanced control solution for each polymer plant. Our DCS-based APC (advanced process control) methodology has proven particularly successful in this polymer area, especially for polyethylene, polypropylene, elastomer, polyester to styrene and polyester fiber plants.

Our DCS-based APC (advanced process control) technology works on all types of polymer processes, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, elastomer, polyester to styrene and polyester fiber plants. For polymer units making polyethylene, polypropylene, elastomer, polyester to styrene and polyester fiber, we ensured 2 – 4% increase in profits.  There are other benefits from our DCS-based APC (advanced process control) technology, such as: smoother plant operation, automated loading and unloading and less work for the operators.


PiControl Solutions LLC has developed an advanced process control (APC) suite comprising of several proprietary advanced process control (APC) schemes for polymer processes ranging from polyethylene, polypropylene, elastomers, polyester to styrene. These proven solutions have been packaged and ready to be tailored to your plant needs. Application of PiControl Solutions LLC DCS-based APC (advanced process control) technology to polymer plants will improve plant-wide key performance indicators and accrue the following tangible and monetary benefits:


1. Polymer Property Online Predictive Models

PiControl Solutions LLC has the ability to calculate polymer properties, such as melt index, density and/or MFR. The calculations run every minute and are displayed on the DCS/PLC screen. As soon as new lab values are detected, the model predictions get auto-updated to account for the error between the lab and the model values corresponding to the time of lab sample collection. PiControl applies powerful automation and programming internally, inside the existing DCS/PLC to provide the best, most user-friendly operator interface.

2. Steady State Polymer Property Control

By using the predictive models for melt index, density and/or MFR, PiControl Solutions LLC implements powerful closed-loop controllers for controlling melt index, density and/or MFR by automatically manipulating the appropriate raw material feeds. Control action is smooth and optimized for tight and stable control.

3. Transition Sequence Control

PiControl Solutions LLC uses its revolutionary DCS-based APC (advanced process control) technology to provide powerful automatic controls for product transitions. The operator just specifies the new grade number or name and PiControls Solutions LLC technology automatically do transitions from the current melt index, density and/or MFR to the new targets. PiControl Solutions LLC technology is totally unique and completely unparalleled and unprecedented in terms of simplicity, ease of operator use, understanding, maintenance and intervention.

4. Production Rate Control and Maximization

PiControl Solutions LLC DCS-based APC (advanced process control) technology can be used to control production tightly at a given target. The DCS-based APC (advanced process control) technology also provides the capability to automatically maximize the production rate subject to any process, economic or equipment constraint. The DCS-based APC (advanced process control) technology includes methodology for identifying closed loop dynamics between the catalyst feed with production rate and all relevant important constraints that need to be considered. The DCS-based APC (advanced process control) controller determines the optimal path to move as fast (but in a stable manner) to the desired (target) production rate while satisfying the constraints. PiControl Solutions LLC also provides specialized DCS-based APC (advanced process control) technology for handling process non-linearity. The internal based APC (advanced process control) controller parameters are automatically adjusted based on process non-linearity, completely transparent to the operator.

5. Optimal Temperature and Pressure Control

PiControl Solutions LLC uses multivariable closed-loop process identification and controller tuning optimizer and simulator to identify multivariable closed-loop process dynamics and then determines the optimal tuning parameters to control the reactor temperature and pressure optimally with minimal oscillations. Use of this multivariable closed-loop process identification and controller tuning and optimization technology has resulted in truly spectacular and totally unprecedented results, proven in large commercial polymer plants.

6. Optimal Composition Cascade Control

PiControl Solutions LLC multivariable closed-loop process identification and controller tuning optimizer optimally tunes all the primary and secondary control loops required for closed-loop composition control. Stability and improvement in the process control quality of these control loops in turn improves the process control quality of other control loops – temperature, pressure and quality and has a beneficial impact on the overall process which in turn improves overall plant profits.

7. Online Oscillation Detection and Adaptive Control

PiControl Solutions LLC uses online process control performance quality monitoring and detection software product to detect oscillations in a real-time online manner. Detecting oscillations in chemical processes is often rendered difficult because of varying levels of random noise and process drift. Unlike competitor PiControl Solutions LLC software uses its proprietary TAD (True Amplitude Detection) algorithm to unambiguously and precisely detect real oscillations without ever getting confused by noisy squiggles that make other technologies far less reliable and usable. This distinguishing control technology allows PiControl Solutions LLC to provide genuine adaptive control automatically and reliably and helps to reduce or dampen oscillations that can easily develop in many polymer processes.

8. Pressure Setpoint Optimization

PiControl Solutions LLC uses special online optimization technology to determine the optimal component partial pressures for key components in gas phase polymer reactors. This enables the plant to optimize raw material losses in the flare/recovery systems while improving catalyst consumption efficiency. PiControl Solutions LLC online optimization technology is general purpose non-linear constrained reduced gradient optimizer and may be used for any other optimization applications specific to any plants or process needs.

9. Online Dew-Point and Enthalpy Calculations

PiControl Solutions LLC provides technology for online dewpoint calculations, enthalpy calculations, heat-balance-or-mass-balance-based production rate calculations or any thermodynamic and kinetic calculations as needed by the plant or process.

10. Finishing/Compounding Train Advanced Control

PiControl Solutions LLC provides special DCS-based APC (advanced process control) technology to provide online rate maximizing and constraint pushing type advanced process control (APC) on the finishing/compounding trains. This section of the plant is full of mechanical equipment – transfer line blowers, solids transfer, extrusion equipment, pelletizers, cutters etc. PiControl Solutions LLC carefully examines the whole process and comes up with a custom design to stabilize, optimize the operation along with train throughput maximization.

11. Reactor to Extruder Throughput Integration

The upstream polymer reactor and the downstream extruder train are like two different plants. Matching the production rate from the reactor and the extruders can be challenging and if not done well, can result in lower efficiency (lost production). PiControl Solutions LLC provides integration between the reactor and extruder train which improves operational efficiency which in turn translates to higher profits.

12. Laboratory Information Management System

PiControl Solutions LLC PiLims OPC-based software product allows the laboratory technician to enter lab data onto a server-type computer and then the data gets automatically transferred to the DCS using OPC protocol.

The PiLims system provides label printing option, comments/notes recording to enter any useful operator/technician notes highlighting the laboratory samples. The lab data can also be trended to allow inspection of historical data. This feature is useful for laboratory data analysis, management and process troubleshooting.

13. Daily Controller Quality Performance Monitoring and Reporting

PiControl Solutions LLC online process control performance quality monitoring and detection software product monitors all of the important PID controllers, cascade PIDs, constraint override type PIDs, low/high selector type PIDs and also certain model-based, custom or advanced process controllers (APCs). Every day, it generates a report on all the controllers showing 25 different control criteria. In addition to these criteria, inside the report, every controller tag is assigned a grade from 0 (worst performance) to 100 (best performance). There is also a custom diagnostic message generated for all controller tags. The grade, diagnostic, and message assists the plants control engineer or technician to focus on the malfunctioning controllers in the whole plant. The end result is improved control quality and timely proactive fixing of control problems.

14. Fast Data Monitoring and Shutdown Debugging

Using the PiLogger OPC-based software product, PiControl Solutions LLC provides debugging and root-cause investigation of equipment shutdowns and plant/process operating problems. The PiLogger product can scan tags at the rate of milliseconds and keep a recent history of data on critical tags. The most recent 2-3 days of data is always saved in history in the form of a circular file. After an incident has occurred, fast-scanned data with 2-3 days of history provides invaluable insights into trying to analyze the problem. PiLogger also helps to identify the first-out which tells the first and foremost event that caused the process problem or equipment shutdown.

15. Process Engineering Online Analysis Tools

Many process engineers, operations experts and research engineers develop and implement various Excel-based spreadsheets to calculate important process calculations. PiControl Solutions LLC provides consulting services to convert all custom applications into online OPC-based software that reads live data directly from any DCS/PLC or external server using OPC. All calculations, rigorous, complex, iterative etc. can be implemented on a server. Calculations can be displayed on the server or may be displayed on a DCS screen or a PLC-PC HMI screen.

16. Expert System Operator Advisory

Many new plants are being built today. Many new and inexperienced technicians, operators and engineers enter the control rooms and plants every year. PiControl Solutions LLC specializes in capturing technical knowledge and wisdom from experienced personnel and then programming a custom Expert System Rule-Based Advisory X. It can be programmed with sophisticated and smart rules that will display special alerts to the operator when the conditions triggering that rule are satisfied. Any complex/smart message needing timers, multiple nested logic and backward logic propagation can be implemented. It helps to capture the knowledge, wisdom and skills of experienced operators, technicians and engineers and then save it permanently for online use and benefits of new personnel. Loss of people through retirement and promotions does not lead to a total loss of skills and knowledge of those individuals.

After all DCS work on advanced process control (APC) schemes is complete and all advanced process control (APC) parameters are calculated and optimized, PiControl Solutions LLC will over factory acceptance test (FAT) make sure that the advanced process control (APC) design is complete, correct and operable.  After completion of process control (APC) control project, PiControl Solutions LLC will conduct dedicated process control training for any polymer company.

PiControl Solutions LLC engineers are skilled in the area of process control, advanced process control (APC), process engineering, plant startup, troubleshooting and possess years of hands-on industry and software experience. PiControl Solutions LLC conducts world-class renowned technical training on process control and other technical topics. Training is conducted on a regular basis in several countries and also can be conducted for clients at their plant sites or office locations.

PiControl Solutions LLC can assist any client in any country remotely on any process control, DCS, startup problem. PiControl can access remote clients plant/process data through its remote monitoring and support system architecture. The plant has the option of showing all data to PiControl Solutions LLC for help and troubleshooting. Or, if the plant does not want to allow outside personnel access to raw data, PiControls Solutions LLC Apromon product provides the capability for displaying only the performance criteria on critical controllers. In other words, PiControl Solutions LLC support engineers will not have access to the plants raw data but only see the criteria and diagnostics for each and every controller at the plant. With this information, PiControl Solutions LLC can provide skilled troubleshooting guidance and help to the plant engineers. This DCS-based APC (advanced process control) methodology is a unique PiControl Solutions LLC development and is a first of a kind in the whole world.

PiControl is an innovative process control software and services company that offers state of-the art, modern solutions at a lower cost, implemented in shorter time compared to competitors.

PiControl Solutions is the only process control and automation company in the world which can perform any advanced process control (APC) project completely remotely. Nowadays, every country uses high speed and reliable internet connection and with a help of medium to high resolution cheap web-cameras or even over widely used remote meeting and screen sharing applications it is possible to do complete design, tuning and optimization, FAT test and start-up of any advanced process control project. Over this low cost online/remote approach huge travel and accommodation costs can be saved and human health and safety can be kept on the high level.

For more information and details, please send us an email: [email protected] or call the Tel: (832) 495 6436.

UNIPOL Processes


UNIPOL Processes


NOVOLEN Process (PP)

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