Process control technology – paths into the future

12 July 2011

The 74th NAMUR general meeting takes place from 10 to 11 November 2011 in Bad Neuenahr, Germany, focussing on the future of process control technology.

Over recent decades, process control engineering has evolved to an indispensable factor of added value in the processing industry. It will develop further in the future because the technological development of process control systems, sensors and actuators will enable new applications and also because more sophisticated processing technology will require it.
At its 2011 conference, NAMUR will take a look into the future of process control engineering. In the plenary speech, Dr. Peter Terwiesch, chairman of the Executive Board of the German ABB AG, will elaborate o this theme, from ABB’s perspective, looking at the possibilities of state-of-the-art process control engineering and where process control engineering may be heading to in the future.

In ABB’s view, one of the major functions of a process control system is to enable the plant operator to keep track of the process and to take the right decisions in all situations in an environment which is growing more complex at a rapid speed. For this purpose the interface between humans and the process control system must process information, whose volume has increased markedly.

ABB will present new ideas and concepts for the presentation of relevant plant data. Not only the plant operator will be in the focus in this context, the whole operating crew of a plant must be provided with the information required for their respective work area.
However, process automation is only one aspect that plant operators and suppliers of such plants must consider. The challenges posed by economic viability, efficiency increase requirements, global competition and environmental issues, which are increasingly gaining importance, demand an integrative approach which starts in the planning phase of the control system and actually ends with the decommissioning of the production plant many years later. An appropriate life-cycle management including indexing, migration and evolution strategies ensures that the I&C equipment of a process plant continues to be reliable, future-proof and easy to operate while it is benefiting from the technological progress in information and communication technology.

Additional plenary presentations will present the users’ point of view in speeches on subjects such as “Control systems as production factor” and “Acceptance of higher level control strategies in applications”. In addition, this session will give account on the survey conducted among manufacturers and users of process control systems. The contributions reflect the dilemma of increasing complexity versus the demand for reduced planning effort, improved control over the plant and better resource efficiency.

Other aspects, which have to be taken into account within the framework of a comprehensive approach to process control engineering will be discussed in depth in workshops which ABB will offer. NAMUR will present their whole range of subjects with contributions from all fields of work in their own workshops.

Another focus of this year’s conference will be the launch of FDI technology which has almost reached marketability. FDI technology caters to what users have demanded for many years: combining instrumentation and control systems of different manufacturers as desired with only minimal effort. In recent years, ABB collaborating with other leading I&C suppliers has developed a standard for the required engineering tools. In the accompanying exhibition, ABB will present a function model which demonstrates this interoperability

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