Process automation can save time and money, the use of technology as it advances can improve on production and costs, using computers, robots and other technologies can operate plant processes with minimal human intervention once set up. With the use of online systems, plant, equipment and processes can be monitored in real time, allowing for modifications to be made via software password protection. A good example of this is with process control for consistent operation and production.
Automatic process control in continuous production processes is a combination of control engineering and chemical engineering disciplines that uses industrial control systems to achieve a production level of consistency, economy and safety which could not be achieved purely by human manual control. It is implemented widely in industries such as oil refining, pulp and paper manufacturing, chemical processing and power generating plants.
There is a wide range of size, type and complexity, but it enables a small number of operators to manage processes within a plant consistently. The development and design of automatic process control systems IS instrumental in enabling the structure of large high volume and complex processes, which otherwise could not be safely or economically operated.
The applications could range from, controlling the temperature and level of a single process vessel, to a complete processing plant with several hundred control loops or more.
Many products manufactured in batch and continuous processes require efficient operation due to thin margins to become economical. In process control products should meet certain specifications in order to be satisfactory. These specifications can be a minimum and maximum for the substance of a material or product, or a range within which the substance must adhere to. All loops can be susceptible to disturbances so a buffer must be used on process set points to ensure disturbances do not cause the material or product to go out of specifications
Process efficiency can be enhanced by reducing the margins necessary to ensure product does not go out of specifications. This can be done by improving the control of the process to minimize the effect of disturbances on the process. The efficiency can be improved by narrowing the variance and shifting the target, margins can be narrowed through process upgrades i.e. enhancing control methods, equipment upgrades, etc. When the margins are narrowed, an economic analysis can be done on the process to determine how the set point target is to be shifted. Effective process control strategies increase the competitive advantage of manufacturing.
Controlsforce are one of the UK's leading industrial Control Panels builders.