June 2003

Special Report: Process/Plant Optimization

Successful multivariable control without plant tests

First-principles dynamic simulation models can be used instead

Conroy, R. J., Enterprise Products Co.; Mathur, U., Techwrite Associates

Applying multivariable model-predictive control (MPC) technology as a means of improving the quality and profitability of process plant operations has been documented in numerous applications for over 20 years.1, 2 However, almost all such past projects have been based on extensive plant testing to obtain the required linearized dynamic control models for use in the multivariable controller.3, 4 Test duration depends on process settling time, number of manipulated variables and rate at which measured disturbances vary.5, 6 Up to 20 moves per manipulated variable have been suggested,7 although most practitioners are

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