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Applied Process Control by Michael Mulholland

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5Control Strategy Design for Processing Plants

The piping and instrumentation diagram (Section 2.1) is the key document describing a processing plant, around which the rest of the design revolves. In the design and construction phases, it must be kept up-to-date, and in computerised documentation systems it will be found to link automatically to virtually every other design document. So at an early stage, it becomes necessary to specify the plant instrumentation scheme and control philosophy. The objective of the control engineer is initially that the plant ‘should be able to take care of itself’ under most circumstances. Once that objective is reached, he or she will seek to get the plant to ‘take care of itself optimally’. This rests on the field of advanced process control, arising from the common use of digital computers. As industries have improved their safety, efficiency and product specification compliance through advanced approaches, so too have their competitors been obliged to develop advanced control capacity, in order to remain competitive.

In modern processing plants, the processing scheme itself is becoming more complex, owing to flow scheme optimisations such as ‘pinch’ technology which seeks to minimise energy demands or waste streams. These developments lead to a lot of interactions across the plant, for example heat recovery interchange after a reactor. It is understandable that this complicates plant control – how does one get a stream up to its reaction ...

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