Interstates is now offering annual control loop tuning and operator retraining visits to its support clients. As equipment wears down over time and process equipment methods change, a site visit to retune critical control loops is imperative for plants to operate efficiently. When these loops are tuned, plant or process throughput and overall product quality returns to the way it was when the control system was initially installed. This can mean significant savings for the plant as well as the avoidance of costly downtime.
Site visits often reveal the control system is not being operated the way it was designed to work. This could be the result of an operator training issue or because they are working around a problem that was not reported to our support team. Too often, we find equipment being run in manual mode where control system interlocks are bypassed. If there is an issue on downstream or related equipment, the control system will not protect the equipment running in manual mode. This poses environmental, mechanical, and personnel safety risks. Equipment could be damaged, or a process upset could affect product quality. When this occurs, the client will very likely experience extended downtime. When we notice these conditions during site visits, we can help the operators diagnose the root concern and make code changes if necessary. We can also provide training on proper operation of the control system.
Another common problem discovered during site visits is that clients have made mechanical changes to the system but never really modified the control system code to compensate for these changes. This results in the operators finding it necessary to put certain devices or systems in manual control which, again, could impact product quality or throughput of the system. Our goal with annual site visits is to keep your plant control system running as designed and in optimal condition.
Plants that tend to see the most value in this service have:
- Any type of process control system
- Batching systems where ingredient bins often take on new products with different densities
- Pelleting systems where many factors affect the starting and running of the mills
- Systems that are recipe controlled and where recipes are edited regularly
- Skid or process controls that have one or more critical control points
If you would like to learn more about how our automation support team can help you get the most out of your plant through annual site visits, please contact Adam Van Schepen, Support Services Manager, at 712.722.1662 x2119.
Jeff Miller, Director of Project Management