Reduce variables – reduce cost

Process control systems comprise a number of variables coupled together. It takes effort to control these variables. With fewer variables to be controlled, less hardware is needed and the process is simpler. Advancements in computer power, combined with the development of Object Process Control (OPC) and improvements in software, enable engineers to use the processing capabilities of a desktop PC to control large plants with a combination of new technologies (sensors, algorithms, etc), which improve throughput while reducing costs and optimising the process. This author uses two case studies to illustrate the point – with one company achieving unmanned overnight production, increased productivity and reduced machine downtime while another increased throughput by 25%.


Take note

  • When designing or upgrading an installation, thought must be given to how to reduce costs.
  • One way of reducing costs is to actually reduce the number of variables that must be measured and controlled.
  • Advanced Process Control (APC) allows multiple variables to be controlled together, thus offering significant cost reductions


Published as:

Decreasing the cost of control

By Javier Gutierrez, National Instruments

Electricity+Control, August 2012 (pgs 4 – 6)