On the road again–this time in the Milwaukee area attending the Expertune user conference. There were several great presentations (short, to-the-point, explained problem and results). I have never heard so many stories of oscillating control valves in one day in my life.

One key thing I picked up is the value of loop optimization as a key component of improving plant efficiency. The user/integrator stories uniformly concluded that if you first perform loop optimization and only then apply advanced process control then you will see maximum performance improvements.

The three major integrators talked about their processes–how they first benchmark, then come back with proposal and “guarantees,” implement the system focusing only on the agreed-upon tasks, then come back and measure.

DH Lee of APST in South Korea (whose list of projects was too long to write down) has helped his clients save an average of 2 percent of energy. Tom Kinney of Invensys Operations Management described a project to reduce flare gas. After study, they guaranteed 75 percent reduction. Got 84 percent. Georgia Persali of Accenture (yes, it does this type of work, too), described similar savings in a mining operation.

I also got an opportunity so sit on a panel discussing The Future of Automation. Very good discussion with the audience. I love meeting all the bright people in our industry. It was a cool day.

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