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Pc-based control infiltrates process plants

Pc-based control infiltrates process plants - s PC-based...

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By Dan Hebert, PE, Senior Technical Editor PC-BASED control has been slow to catch on in the process industries. Many process end users have no qualms about using Intel-based controllers, but shy away from trusting control of critical processes to Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems. In an ironic twist, however, performance and features specified by process plants are forcing their machine and process-skid suppliers to use PC-based controls. Process-plant machines range from extruders to packaging equipment to inspection systems. End users buy process skids for water treatment, air handling, and specialized chemical processes such as fermentation. Process plants often need their machines and process skids to have a sophisticated local operator interface, connectivity to the enterprise, and remote monitoring capabilities. High throughput and extreme precision are typical requirements for these machines. Process skids may need sophisticated, advanced control algorithms to fulfill specifications. To meet these requirements, many machine and process skid builders are turning to PC-based control. Our sister publication, CONTROL DESIGN , focuses on automation of machines and process skids. We find that about half of CONTROL DESIGN’s readers use PC-based control on at least some of their machines and process skids.
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