Optimal Real-time Control of Sewer Networks (Advances in Industrial Control)

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Historically, operators adjusted single-loop controller set points and outputs i. They did this based on experience, knowledge of the process, ongoing operating conditions, and input from the greater operating team, which includes supervision, process engineers, and production planning. APC endeavors to automate this task, in order to capture incremental gains in capacity, efficiency, quality, etc.

Figure 1 depicts the essential difference between manual and automated multivariable control. The most common automated multivariable control technology in use today is model-predictive control MPC. Prominent characteristics of MPC include the use of detailed process models, embedded optimizers, and a generally large-matrix approach to application design, i. This combination was expected to be transformative for process control, but it has met with unexpected consequences in cost, maintenance, and reliability. Figure 1. Manual versus automated multivariable control. Automated multivariable control can capture incremental earnings, because it automatically backs the process away from encroaching constraints and pursues receding constraints.

With manual multivariable control, operators tend to keep the process farther from constraints and make moves less often, typically incurring an associated penalty in capacity, yield, energy, or quality. Figure 2. Updated process optimization paradigm.

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The essential role of APC is multivariable control i. Updated limits and targets, which are few and infrequent, propagate from the upper layers of the pyramid as appropriate. Within operating facilities, process optimization is carried out by many participants, such as production planning, process engineering, and operations. Together, these groups arrive at current constraint limits and optimization targets, and propagate them to the control systems via computer links, operating orders, word of mouth, etc.

Most constraint limits and targets rarely change, while a handful change with operating conditions, such as feedstocks, equipment out of service, and time of year. On top of these activities, there may be similar sitewide and enterprisewide optimization layers figure 2. In this picture, the role of the embedded MPC optimizer comes into question.

It may have made sense in , when few other real-time optimization programs existed in industry, but today the entire optimization hierarchy is nearly as automated as it needs to or can be. This makes the embedded MPC steady-state optimizer largely redundant, while it continues to add cost and complexity to the MPC application. However, taking a simple straight-line path, while observing process speed limits along the way, may be a more effective strategy in most cases.

As with driving a car, observing speed limits and arriving safely is usually more important than arriving quickly. Industry endorses this concept whenever it uses approaches such as move suppression, extended closed-loop response times, soft limits, and reduced optimization speeds. Why not just post a safe speed? The essential role of APC at the control system layer is control , i. Control needs to execute at high frequency, but optimization normally does not.

This paradigm has the potential to simplify APC technology by eliminating embedded optimizers that are potentially redundant or unnecessary in most applications. Model-based control requires reliable process models.

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In the original APC paradigm, this need was met by a plant test and subsequent model identification, with the resulting models expected to have an indefinite life expectancy. However, experience has shown that many models change frequently, even dynamically, for a wide variety of reasons. Over the years, the conventional wisdom regarding model life has been reduced to five years, and then to two years.

Today industry is pursuing real-time model updates. Model change poses a fundamental conundrum for autotuning and model-based control. To move forward, APC needs to embrace the idea that process models are basically a moving target. These efforts are leaving users with a simple question: Should we hold off on new purchases of industrial controllers, process controllers, and instrumentation until these secure SoC and methods are integrated into the devices?

The ultimate goal is to incorporate this new breed of cyber security processors into IoT devices and implement more cybersecure systems throughout industrial and process automation components. Microsoft is making an unexpected push into the chip business. This was the first instance of a Microsoft designed chip. Other features include:. This platform also serves as a secure pipeline for getting data to and from those devices.

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The Amazon FQP outlines a set of security, functionality and performance requirements that all microcontrollers along with the associated hardware abstraction layers and drivers must meet. One example includes the configuration of devices to a local network using common connectivity options like Wi-Fi or Ethernet. In order to secure this operating system, the Amazon FreeRTOS comes with libraries to help secure device data and connections, including support for data encryption, key management, and Transport Layer Security TLS v1.

TrustZone is hardware-based security, built into SoCs by semiconductor chip designers who want to provide secure end points and a device root of trust. These products are designed to securely move data from sensor to server. It provides the operating system, gateway, device management services, and partner ecosystem to speed adoption and deployment of IoT solutions. The Mbed IoT platform secures the device itself from untrusted or malicious code, the communications between device and cloud, and the lifecycle of the system itself using uVisor, Mbed TLS, and Mbed Client respectively.

There are already mandatory standards for industrial cybersecurity in some critical industries and the discussion continues to debate broader regulations which require all industries to legally comply with cybersecurity measures. Suppliers and users are certainly discussing the need for cybersecurity and generally draw the parallel to plant and machine safety. There are clear similarities: both provide a protection function and require technology, training, best practices, systems, and procedures.

If cybersecurity follows the same course as industrial safety, it will be the force of law and related fines that will eventually prompt a culture of security investments and industry best practices. It took many years of OSHA inspections and non-compliance fines before safety became deep-rooted in industry. Management is now understanding the value of safety systems. Industrial safety measures are increasingly being considered as investments that ultimately save money long term by reducing disability pay, improving productivity, and increasing uptime. Still today, there is a marked tendency for many businesses to do as little as possible until prodded by laws and major disasters.

A prime example of cyber security regulation initiatives is as follows:.

Advanced process control: Indispensable process optimization tool

This effort - including input from major stakeholders representing the U. Federal government, academia and industry — has a goal to elevate the security measures deployed in the critical infrastructure supply chain. The standards were developed to provide cybersecurity criteria for product testing, in order to validate the security claims of vendors.

This would parallel fire safety laws, product certifications, and facility site certification. Given that UL in North America is a prime certification group for electrical, industrial control panel builders, fire safety, and physical security, it is really not surprising that they would be involved in cybersecurity as well.


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Data privacy and ownership has also become a prominent discussion. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU.

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Thus, it will be directly binding and applicable. Powerful open platforms are starting to be deployed as automation and process controllers, and the introduction of these devices continues to rise. These devices may well disrupt existing PLC and DCS controllers, and their vendors, with high performance processing and low cost. Yet, even still, many traditional industrial automation field controllers have remained closed proprietary computers, highlighting the analogous relationship to the obsolete computer mainframe and minicomputer era.

There is growing unrest in the user community over the lack of implementation in process and industrial automation. Having come to the understanding that industrial automation systems technology is lagging in these industries, many in the community feel this limits delivering functionality and value compared to other computer industry, IoT, and consumer products.


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In fact, a growing number of industrial automation users I meet are experimenting and piloting new solutions on their own, using the new breed of edge devices and tools available as standard off-the-shelf solutions and particularly Raspberry Pi devices. Amazon sells a wide range of edge devices to build such solutions.


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One example I witnessed was a pharmaceutical company, which used OPC servers at each of their production sites to gather information which created plant historians on Amazon Web services; at a fraction of the cost of existing solutions and with greater flexibility.