Improving process equipment performance

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

Rockwell Automation has announced PlantPAx model predictive control (MPC) software, which is said to embed MPC technology into Logix controllers to help maximise equipment performance. When used in process applications ranging from consumer to heavy industries, PlantPAx MPC is claimed to improve overall control in a single machine or an entire line to help maximise throughput, increase yield, reduce quality variability and improve energy usage.

The MPC software is said to deliver better coordination of multivariable actions in complex process applications to maximise controller performance and maintain quality. A single control-system-based MPC module supports up to five separate MPC applications, and each of those applications can support up to 10 controllable variables and 10 manipulated variables.

Rockwell says the software also provides the ability to measure disturbance variables that can’t be controlled, such as ambient humidity. Once detected, the system can respond to these disturbances as needed to keep the process optimised.

Both operators and control systems can struggle when managing long and complex processes for applications, such as dryers and kilns. PlantPAx MPC uses dynamic explicit modelling to identify and program the specific responses and requirements for these processes.

PlantPAx MPC predicts process behaviour against identified constraints and makes adjustments to maintain process performance within identified limits.

Dynamic and steady-state constraints can be enforced in the software to maximise equipment performance. For example, enforcing a flooding constraint in a distillation process can help feed levels at their highest without the risk of flooding.

PlantPAx MPC is included in the latest release of the PlantPAx modern distributed control system.

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