Faster, Safer and More Accurate Step Testing With Pavilion8 Advanced Process Control Software

Feb. 20, 2017
The Pavilion8 Model Predictive Control software from Rockwell Automation reduces design and execution time of step tests by up to 30 percent. Full article brought to you by Rockwell Automation. Visit The Connected Enterprise for more.  

Rockwell Automation Pavilion8 Model Predictive Control (MPC) software now empowers engineers to design and execute step tests faster, safer and more accurately. Unlike manual step tests that must be continuously monitored by on-site engineers, the Step Test Assistant in Pavilion8 version 5.12 independently makes adjustments in a test environment to more quickly identify models that drive operations to the maximum level of performance. The easy-to-use tool slashes testing time by up to 30 percent, avoids constraints for safer testing, and helps reduce the need for repeat tests by adapting to and identifying good tests.

Manufacturers with complex processes leverage model-based, multivariable control to maximize uptime, reduce variability and control closer to performance-limiting constraints. When a process has significantly changed, engineers conduct step testing to understand the effects each process variable has on other process variables. As each step test requires a series of small changes, it can be time consuming to collect all the data, build algorithms and generate a dynamic model. 

“Being responsible for the productivity of an entire operation relies on efficient operators and processes,” said Michael Tay, Pavilion product manager for Rockwell Automation. “Pavilion8 software is like having your best engineer available 24/7. It conducts complex, prescriptive analysis to identify the changes needed to improve performance.”

The Step Test Assistant automatically schedules the next test until a sufficient number of good tests are achieved. This helps conduct step testing 20 to 30 percent faster than with manual testing processes. In addition, the tool learns and avoids constraints through MPC enforcement and provides predictive operation visualization. Using manual processes, step tests usually require engineering oversight 100 percent of the time. With the automated tool, however, step testing is repeatable, adaptive, protected and a more accurate process.

Pavilion8 v5.12 software is control system independent, but smoothly integrates with the PlantPAx process automation system from Rockwell Automation. It includes the following four key features:

Windows-based configuration and support – The overall user experience for expert and inexperienced users alike begins with Windows-based solution builder tools, which improve workflow by enabling users to create a customized working environment and providing access to online help. 

Multivariable run-time controller – The robust run-time controller allows users to quickly add predictive disturbance rejection, add new process limits, and easily compare differences in advanced process control (APC) application versions. Users can easily apply and adapt powerful, advanced MPC features with software supporting a flexible workflow. This reduces troubleshooting time. 

Continuous controller monitoring – Users can configure process models with specific metrics for production, quality, energy usage and other factors. They can also continuously measure their processes according to these metrics and use historical records to track and report ongoing benefits. 

Supports modern browsers and operating systems – To make the Pavilion8 experience consistent with other software environments, the software’s user interface aligns with current technology standards. This includes support for newer browsers and operating systems. 

Pavilion8 software is the leading Rockwell Automation platform for APC software solutions. It is also the first platform to combine empirical and first principle models into a single composite model. With proven return on investment across a wide range of industries, processes and equipment, Pavilion8 software uses an unrestrictive and robust configuration approach. This allows it to adapt to changing business needs and to flexibly meet simple linear to the most challenging nonlinear processes.

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