Successful manufacturing is inextricably linked to process control. If processes are not controlled, the eventual output may not fall within the required parameters. Using baking as an example, when the oven isn’t at the desired temperature and the ingredients have not been measured accurately, there is a strong likelihood the resultant cake will not be cooked properly
The manufacturing sector relies on the same principles and process control is all about ensuring specific processes are maintained so their output falls within strict parameters. Read on for a guide to process control and why it is so important in manufacturing.
Many manufacturing processes are extremely hazardous, particularly those in the chemical and petrochemical sectors. The smallest deviations in boiler pressure or exhaust gas output could cause significant safety problems.
Process control ensures the safety of workers at all times, by preventing dangerous deviations from the norm.
Manufacturing relies on automation, which in turn needs process control to run efficiently. Modern manufacturing plants use extremely complex machinery to produce products. Thanks to automation, relatively few people are needed to operate this machinery, but automated machinery needs process control to collect data and ensure that the plant’s output is optimal.
Process control uses automated sensors to collect data from industrial processes. This data is then used for decision-making purposes. For example, if the data from a process control sensor from providers such as Telstar Instruments indicates a key machine part needs replacing, this helps prevent costly manufacturing errors that could lead to significant product wastage.
Variables such as temperature, flow, vibration, pressure, and level are all monitored by process control sensors. Process control mechanisms can also measure or control connectors and analytical components.
Many manufacturing plants consume a huge amount of energy, which increases production costs. Since manufacturers are always looking for ways to reduce their overhead, ensuring a plant is more energy efficient is essential.
Process control allows factory managers to closely monitor the energy efficiency levels of production processes. If the equipment is run at optimum levels without wasting energy unnecessarily, fewer defective products will be produced.
Which Industries use Process Control?
All industrial sectors benefit from using process control, but it is particularly important in the food and dairy, oil and gas, biopharmaceuticals, power generation, pulp and paper, and petrochemical sectors.
What is Model Predictive Control?
Model Predictive Control (MPC) is a highly advanced form of process control. This ensures a process is controlled while a series of constraints are satisfied. MPC has been used in the oil, gas, and chemical sectors since the 1980s but is increasingly being used in the power sectors. MPC models predict changes based on independent variables, using algorithms. They can be used even for non-linear processes, as processes are considered linear over short operating ranges.
Without process control, modern manufacturing would not be as efficient or as safe as it currently is. In fact, process control is now so common that most tools in manufacturing fall under the process control umbrella.