Vol 2 Issue 4
February 2020
In This Issue

Advanced Process Control

You are probably reading this indoors. It is probably comfortable because somewhere on the wall is a thermostat. This device measures the temperature in the room and strives to keep it at a comfortable setting.
Is this Advanced Process Control (APC)?
Most of us would not regard this simple duty cycle algorithm as advanced. If this is not advanced, where do we draw the line?
The next step up is a PID loop. Unlike the on-off duty cycle control, PID is a second order differential equation that requires some degree of expertise to tune it properly. Despite the fact that it is ubiquitous and ancient, many engineers have not mastered the configuration and tuning of PID loops. While many would not regard PID as advanced, it seems to be more advanced than the skillset required by many that use it.
The reason I am bringing this up in the context of a newsletter devoted to Industry 4.0 is that there is an impression that APC is a new capability in the Industry 4.0 portfolio. We need to define advanced control to know whether there is anything new here.
If PID is not advanced, the next level would be variants of single loop algorithms. By this, I mean a control loop like PID that only has one measurement, one setpoint, and one actuator for control. Examples would be deadtime compensation algorithms like IMC, Smith Predictor, and Dahlin. Another example is a Fuzzy Logic controller, which uses fuzzy membership functions instead of differential equations to determine control actions. Also, a Neural Network can be used to provide a virtual sensor prediction of a property that cannot be measured online, such as tensile strength, and this could be used as the controlled measurement in a PID loop. All of these could be considered advanced control.
At a more advanced level are algorithms that control multiple measurements and actuators with an optimizer to select the best settings subject to economic or physical constraints. The Dynamic Matrix Control (DMC) algorithm that originated in the 1980s sparked the development and application of Multivariable Predictive Control (MPC). Clearly, these are advanced control techniques.
Of note is that all of these techniques predate Industry 4.0. Therefore, we must ask if Industry 4.0 provides anything new in advanced control.
If you go above MPC, there can be batch and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). These applications can automate the scheduling of production from the corporate level to the plant operation. Setpoints and economic constraints in MPC can be dynamically and automatically updated. The December issue of InTech magazine included the article "Integrating Production Planning using APC and Other Technologies" by Simon Rogers, in which he describes such an approach.
Is this APC?
Well, it certainly is advanced. It is very pertinent to Industry 4.0 since it relies upon connectivity to get data from one point to another in a cost effective and secure manner.
However, the skillset involved here has to do with data communication and databases. It does not require the math of differential equations, optimization, and neural networks. A control engineer that is fully competent in PID through MPC may be out of their element when they try to put MES on top of it. It seems to be a different discipline that might not fit the definition of APC.
Industry 4.0 does indeed bring us into an era when automation can extend beyond the unit operation for a plantwide and corporate wide closed loop control. The fundamental math of APC is not part of that offering since it was born long before this era. However, Industry 4.0 does offer the possibility of a more advanced means of control that might enable someone to achieve optimum performance from the comfort of their climate controlled corporate office.

Pat Dixon is Southwest Region Engineering Manager for Global Process Automation (GPA), a controls system integration firm.   

His LinkedIn profile is https://www.linkedin.com/in/dixonpatrick/.


What does Industry 4.0 mean?

I remember making a sales call in St. Louis, probably about 1979 or 1980.  The young engineer I was calling on told me their company was revolutionary and they were "fast tracking" all their projects.  I asked a few questions.  Leaving, I thought to myself, this person doesn't know fast track from race track.  At the time, "fast track" was a buzzword phrase and he was just parroting what others had said.

Industry 4.0 is suffering the same fate, I fear.  Half the people I talk to about Industry 4.0 don't know what they are talking about.  I have actually had people tell me they are "industry 4.0 compliant" as if that is a term that means something.

In our own home, the IOT, or Internet of Things is a marvel and still trying to grasp its meaning.  Our air conditioning units, solar panels, security system and lawn sprinklers are all digital, all accessible from my  phone anywhere.  Are we Internet of Things Compliant?  I don't think so, for that is an undefined term in my mind.  Oh, and did I mention the Alexa units all over the house listening to our every word? Yes, I am a digital junkie.

But when it comes to Industry 4.0, never fear, help is on the way.  Our client SAP is on top of this (and I will be at their conference in Madrid, in June).  Additionally, Pat Dixon, our regular contributor, does a great job of explaining the mixed up terms flying around.  When you need an explanation, I'll volunteer that Pat and SAP are your definitive sources.

His LinkedIn profile is

What do lettuce and carrots have to do with the IIoT?

Seven predictions for 2020.  

Read the entire article here.

Michael Kanellos 


3 Ways Tech Will Change Manufacturing in 2020
2020 really should be an exciting year. After decades of incremental productivity growth, the result of lean initiatives, automation and stern discipline, manufacturers will use technology not to optimize, but to create. AI will let us create new ways of doing things, and that means new revenue.

Read the entire article  here.
Antony Bourne is senior vice president, IFS Industries.


The key challenges facing the pulp and paper industry in Industry 4.0
By implementing customised lubrication solutions, pulp and paper mills will drastically increase durability, reliability, availability and productivity by avoiding undesired breakdowns; and enhance safety as unsafe manual lubrication is eliminated. Furthermore, a customised lubrication solution will help minimise friction which will lead to reduction in energy consumption, heat generation, wear and noise. Additionally, it will decrease operating expenses, mitigate product contamination and corrosion, and minimise lubricant consumption and maintenance.

Read the entire article  here.

JSG Industrial Systems

Dell's take on the state of IOT

We believe that enterprises will continue to use public and hybrid clouds for storing large amounts of data, which can be used for data analytics and the training of machine learning models, while making use of Edge and IoT solutions, even edge clouds, for applications that require more immediate responses from automated systems.
Canadian manufacturers lag in the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies

The survey for accounting, tax and advisory firm BDO Canada LLP by PLANT magazine/Annex Business Media looked at how 251 owners and senior executives view these technologies and probed their level of adoption. Many see the value of advanced technologies but are wary of costs and return on investment as they continue to apply more traditional manufacturing methods. They're also concerned that people with the skills necessary to make the most of digital technologies and networks are in too short supply. Challenges include data being complicated and requiring special knowledge, increased cybersecurity risks, and the massive investment needed to replace machinery.

Read the entire article here.

RK Insights 


Coming up next month...
  • Making Factories Smarter
  • Where Industry 4.0 is delivering results now
  • Predictive Maintenance via IOT
  • and much more

Industree 4.0 is exclusively sponsored by SAP