January 2000

Instrumentation/Control

Limitations of model predictive controllers

Simpler control methods often provide better results

Hugo, A., Control Arts Inc.

Many multivariable model predictive controller (MPC) vendors imply that the MPC applications have been an unqualified success and that MPCs are the preferred solution for all control problems. While MPCs can be effective in the proper situation, they have limitations that are generally not mentioned by the vendors. Difficulties with operation, high maintenance cost and lack of flexibility can result in fragile controllers that are not profitable. MPC limitations involve not just the algorithm itself, but also justifying these controllers, applicability on chemical process systems and subsequent maintenance. There are technologies for alleviating some of these limitations. Controller justi

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