A View of MPC Control from Operations to Design

I caught up with Emerson’s Lou Heavner the other day and we traded a few teenager “war stories.” Lou is an advanced automation consultant and I’ve shared some of his expertise in posts over the years. He mentioned he had done a very basic presentation to show the interaction of operations, control, advanced control, and control strategies using the DeltaV system as his example.

I asked if I could post his presentation in my SlideShare account and discuss it here in this post. He was kind enough to agree.

Lou starts by describing key areas of the operator graphics describing the navigation, toolbars, alarm banner, and buttons to the model predictive controller (MPC) display that he typically will add to the advanced control project. He shows the loop faceplate which comes up when the operator clicks on an alarm. He notes that the operator:

…can change mode, SP, etc. He has one click access to loop tuning, alarm acknowledgement, trending, and with the appropriate privilege, he can access the engineering environment.

He shows the operator faceplate for a PredictPro MPC controller where the operator can view the optimizer, change modes and setpoints, and view the trend prediction horizon. For those who may be unfamiliar with an MPC controller, Lou shows the optimizer, which shows the variables being maximized or minimized and their associated economic value.

Lou next switches to the engineering environment where the modules and their associated parameters are located. Advanced control functions like loop tuning, neural networks, and MPC are available along with the regulatory control options. Lou shows the engineering side of creating MPC controllers from initiating automation step tests to creating and downloading the MPC controllers into the Delta controllers.

He shows an example of a composite block to calculate heater efficiency using the heat loss method. The calculation nests these composite blocks and Lou shows how to drill down and back out. He closes the brief presentation showing an on-line view which aids in troubleshooting the control strategy. This on-line view is available when the strategy is in simulate mode or actually running on-line in the controllers.

I hope Lou’s simple descriptions and screen captures helps show the interaction of the advanced controls from their design through to their operation. We’d also like your thoughts on if you’d find this valuable to be seen in another form like a screencast.