PC education.pdf - Teaching Process Control in the 21st...

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Teaching Process Control in the 21 st Century: What has Changed? D.E. Seborg, T.F. Edgar, and D.A. Mellichamp Department of Chemical Engineering University of California, Santa Barbara University of Texas, Austin Abstract The process control course should continue to be a required course for chemical engineering undergraduates because of its fundamental importance and because a large number of graduates are employed in manufacturing or fields connected to manufacturing. Process control technology has changed considerably during the past 15 years, requiring that text books be updated accordingly. In this paper, we discuss some of these changes in the context of revising one of the leading textbooks in process control, “Process Dynamics and Control”. Trends that influence how process control will be taught in the future are identified. 1. Introduction Process control has become increasingly important in the process industries as a consequence of global competition, rapidly changing economic conditions, and more stringent environmental and safety regulations. Process control is also a critical concern in the development of more flexible and more complex processes for manufacturing high value-added products. Furthermore, the rapidly declining cost of digital devices and increased computer speed (doubling every 18 months, according to Moore’s law) have enabled high- performance measurement and control systems to become an essential part of industrial plants. It is clear that the scope and importance of process control technology will continue to expand during the 21 st century. Consequently, chemical engineers need to master this subject to be able to design and operate modern plants. An introductory course should provide an appropriate balance of process control theory and practice. In particular, the course should emphasize dynamic behavior, physical and empirical modeling, computer simulation, measurement and control technology, basic control concepts, and advanced control strategies. The process industries have generally embraced digital hardware, and enhanced/advanced control algorithms are widely used, although the PID controller remains the basic building block for feedback control. Indicative of the changing nature of process control is the plethora of textbooks for process control introduced over the past 20 years (Bequette and Ogunnaike, 2001): 1980’s - Stephanopoulos (1984); Seborg, Edgar and Mellichamp (1989). 1990’s - Luyben (1990); Coughanowr (1991); Ogunnaike and Ray (1995); Smith and Corripio (1997); Luyben and Luyben (1997), Erickson and Hedrick (1999). 2000’s - Marlin (2000); Riggs (2001); Bequette (2003); Seborg, Edgar and Mellichamp (2003); Srvcek, Mahoney, and Young (2000); Chau (2002). Compared to other core courses in chemical engineering, the textbook market for process control is very fragmented with many competing books. Most core courses such as reaction engineering and thermodynamics have only about four or five textbooks in use at the current time (vs. 13 books for process control).
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