Best Practices for Implementing a Process Control Driven MES System

Emerson's Jonathan Lustri


Author: Jonathan Lustri

I have previously been interviewed and written about a process control and MES [Manufacturing Execution Systems] architecture where the batch control logic within the process control system is the single procedural engine. It drives procedural logic and workflows executed by the MES system when called by the process control system. The benefit of this architecture is an overall lower cost of ownership since after the initial implementation, and changes to the process based on new products can be most implemented by only modifying the process control system.

I am nearly completed with a project using this architecture and would like to share best practices for implementing this architecture.

Architecture after Basic Design Phase

This architecture should be developed only after a basic design phase where process maps are developed defining the high-level functions and integration touchpoints between the two systems. This should be completed before any functional specifications are developed. In this architecture, MES workflows are functions that are called by the batch logic for manual activities that cannot be performed by the process control system. Continue Reading

Avoiding Forced Outages from Rotating Equipment Issues

Emerson's Kevin Rossi


The reality for manufacturers and producers is that their plant assets continually degrade over time. Valves wear over time, electrical assets may experience intermittent faults, and rotating equipment imbalances may lead quickly to forced outages.

In this 3-minute YouTube video, Alert Plant Operations When Rotating Equipment Problems Pose a Threat, Emerson’s Kevin Rossi shares ways to equip plant operators with insights to reduce or eliminate forced outages tied to rotating equipment problems issues.

For electrical power, water and wastewater facilities, the Ovation Machinery Health Monitor module can provide early detection capabilities to avoid unplanned downtime. Continue Reading

Advancing Innovation in Pharmaceutical and Biologics Manufacturing

FDA Voice: FDA Budget Matters: Investing in Advanced Domestic ManufacturingIn a U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s FDA Voice blog post, FDA Budget Matters: Investing in Advanced Domestic Manufacturing, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb opened noting:

Advanced manufacturing, which includes various technologies, such as continuous manufacturing and 3D printing, holds great promise for improving the American market for drugs and biologicals.

Emerson's Ron Rossbach


Emerson’s Ron Rossbach shared his thoughts with me on this post. He noted that both pharmaceutical & biologic manufacturers and the FDA share a common goal of having a greater patient-centric focus with great accessibility to medicines and therapies.

What has held back some of the innovations needed to achieve this goal is the inability to engage in early discussions of novel technologies with regulatory agencies like FDA, absent formal submissions.

Dr. Gottlieb signals the willingness of regulators to take a much more collaborative approach between manufacturers and regulators: Continue Reading

A Novel Thermodynamic-Based Metric: The Magic Bullet for Resource-Efficiency?

Emerson's Ana Gonzalez Hernandez


Author: Ana Gonzalez Hernandez

In my previous post, I introduced the concept of resource efficiency: the integrated efficiency with which energy and materials are transformed in industrial processes. I mentioned that improvements in resource efficiency are considered indispensable to achieving globally agreed CO2 emission and energy reduction targets. This is because trends in production volumes are predicted to keep rising to meet growing population demands, and opportunities for improving energy efficiency are beginning to reach technical limits.

Energy-intensive material producers have compelling reasons to take resource efficiency seriously. Altogether, the production of metals, chemicals, plastics, paper and cement generate over 60% of total industrial CO2 emissions. Improving resource efficiency promises to be the most cost-effective option to simultaneously avoid wasting scarce and toxic resources, reduce operating costs and CO2 emissions, and improve responsiveness to future climate and environmental regulations. In fact, understanding the current state of a facility’s resource use, the factors driving it and the opportunities available to minimise it, will be a prerequisite to staying competitive in the future. Continue Reading

Handling Processes with Long Lag Times

Emerson's Mircea LupuEmerson’s Mircea Lupu shared his thoughts on Ovation system algorithms for handling processes with long lag times—a control challenge that vexes many.

Mircea opened noting that control algorithms are at the heart of any control system to provide stable and accurate response and robustness against disturbances and process changes. Tuning these algorithms to achieve the desired performance can be laborious.

Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) control is the workhorse algorithm but has difficulty with processes with time lags. There are solutions to address these lags but setting and maintaining tuning can be tedious. From a loop stability standpoint, the integral gain in a PID loop works against the time delay.

The derivative gain in a PID helps if tuned in a proper range. Too little or too much causes oscillation in the loop. In summary, proportional gain should be decreased, integral reset time should be increased with time delay and derivative gain may increase with time delay, but too much may destabilize the loop. Continue Reading