Process control refers to the adjustment and monitoring of processes to produce the desired output, ensuring consistency, economy and safety which manual control cannot achieve.
Process control is used across a wide range of industries, including automotive, pulp and paper, chemical processing, mining, oil refining and more.
Process control can, for example, include controlling and keeping a temperature using a heater or thermostat.
Why is process control important?
Process control systems are pivotal in the maintenance of product quality. These control systems allow for proper ratios of ingredients to be maintained, temperatures to be regulated and output to be accurately monitored. Without proper process control systems in place, product quality is at risk.
In general, process control enables significant improvements in:
Safety - with proper process control systems in place, dangerous deviations in hazardous substances can be avoided.
Automation – automated processes rely on process control to collect data and ensure optimal outputs
Energy efficiency – through process control systems, manufacturers can monitor energy levels and make necessary adjustments
What are important elements of process control?
Process control is generally based on three elements, including:
A measurement (e.g. temperature, pressure, composition, etc.)
A control strategy (e.g. comparing it to desired values)
An element for implementing control action (e.g. taking action and making the necessary adjustments in line with inputs)