From the Trenches: Distillation Columns – Internal Reflux Control

Jun 6, 2012 3:31:03 AM | Posted by Jim Ford

Distillation columns are one of the most often used unit operations for separation and purification in the process industries. They can also be some of the most complex to operate and control, because they involve two-phase, multi-stage, counter-current mass and heat transfer (each tray or segment of packing is a theoretical equilibrium stage). The greater the number of trays, the longer the time constants related to composition changes.

Read More →

Fine-Tuning Your Alarm Management System

Jun 5, 2012 5:45:36 AM | Posted by Bruce Brandt

In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, alarm management has moved once again into the forefront for many companies as they ask: “What is the best way to keep an operator from missing a key alarm when things start to go wrong? What are the obstacles to having an effective alarm management system?” In my experience, the decision to have, or not have, an alarm is more often cultural than it is based on a good operational analysis of the process. That’s why the alarm rationalization process is so necessary and beneficial. It strips away the cultural, “I want the operator to know about…” and replaces it with, “This is the most important thing the operator has to do.”

Read More →

Getting More Out of Your Historian, Part 2

May 31, 2012 3:29:00 AM | Posted by John Clemons

In the last post I mentioned that you probably had lots of data that you might not even know about all over the place just waiting to be collected and put into your historian. I suggested that if you collected that data you could put the data to work and would probably find out that the data was actually very valuable and quite worth it to have collected. In this post, I’d like to suggest another idea to get more out of your historian.

Read More →

MOC for Plant Control Systems

May 30, 2012 2:52:00 AM | Posted by Jason Montroy

Management of change (MOC) can apply to nearly anything from organizations to projects to IT infrastructure. But does it apply to plant control systems? Considering that control systems need to change over time - process optimization drives changes in control logic and software updates occur on at least a monthly basis – the answer is: MOC is essential for plant control systems.

Read More →

Ten Tips for Successful Team Leadership, Part 2

May 29, 2012 4:34:00 AM | Posted by Control Engineering Team

Here are the final suggestions to get the most out of a leadership role by creating an enjoyable and productive experience for you and your team.

Read More →

MES – Seeing the Big Picture by Looking Small

May 23, 2012 2:41:00 AM | Posted by John Clemons

I’ve said this before- any system, be it MES or MOM or even ERP, if it’s going to be considered successful it has to meet the needs of the organization. It has to actually bring value to the company and do something that the company needs doing and is valuable to the company.

Read More →

Ten Tips for Successful Team Leadership, Part 1

May 22, 2012 3:49:00 AM | Posted by Control Engineering Team

They say that some are born to lead, but to paraphrase Mr. Orwell’s wonderful line from Animal Farm, “Some leaders are more born than others.” Here are some suggestions of things you can do should you find yourself in a project or team leadership position that will make the experience an enjoyable one for you and your team.

Read More →

Getting More Out of your Historian – Part 1

May 17, 2012 2:42:00 AM | Posted by John Clemons

You probably already have a data historian of some kind. And, if you don’t, get one! The data historian collects some data and probably gives you some reports and what not and that’s probably about it. It works pretty well. No one ever thinks about it. It just does its job and not much else.

Read More →