Your ultimate goal as a DCS engineer is to get the most out of your plant operations. Over the years you’ve developed your own rules of thumb and used your gut-feeling to tune your PID loops. Most of the time this works well. But what if I told you PID loops can be tuned the first time right? INCATools — a set of PID tuning and process control tools — enables this. It is developed to overcome the challenges you face everyday. In this blog, I tell you about the top 5 reasons to use INCATools as a PID tuning software to tune PID controllers.
What is INCATools - PID tuning software?
First, I’ll dive deeper into what INCATools PID tuning software exactly is. INCATools is a set of process control tools to optimize your plant operations. The INCATools PID Tuning packages, PID Tuner and AptiTune, help you to overcome the daily struggles of finding the right PID. Tuning your PID controllers with trial and error might feel like a shortcut to finding the right parameters, but in the end it is much more efficient to take an in-depth, but first time right approach.
With INCATools you are able to use engineering objectives instead of just your gut-feeling and experience. INCATools lets you work according to a proven methodology which offers structure. It enables you to specify and obtain the required behaviour of your PID loop.
Optimal Reason 1: Reproducibility of your results
You’ve probably heard people say ‘PID tuning is an art, it requires experience’. Tuning PID controllers is often an iterative process where you define your PID parameters based on your gut-feeling. The INCATools PID Tuning packages guide you through the process of model-based PID tuning. They offer reproducibility of your actions because you don't have to set the parameters manually. The software will calculate the right parameters and after tuning, you never have to look at it again. On top of that, the software provides you with an automatically documented project file per PID loop. It allows you to make a consistent translation between engineering objectives, constraints and PID parameters. This translation helps you achieve the desired results faster and simplify the process of improving the control of individual PID loops.
Reason 2: A structured work process
Working with INCATools will provide you structure in getting the optimal PID parameters resulting in more efficient plant operations. It’s impossible to tune your PID loops without understanding the loop completely. INCATools will help you taking a close look into the loop details. By going through your PID loops step-by-step, INCATools helps you identify root causes that might have been missed for a long time.
This may seem time-consuming, but you’ll benefit in the long run. You only have to observe your PID loop once instead of tuning it every single time an operator complains about it. This improves the employability of your plant staff. INCATools eliminates the requirement of having years of experience. The tool will guide you through the tuning process. It means you can also ask your junior DCS engineer to tune some of the PID loops, instead of putting it all on the shoulders of the senior DCS engineer.
Reason 3: INCATools knows how your loops work
Did you know that you need to tune your parameters differently when you have different DCS brands within your plant like for example, Honeywell, Yokogawa or Emerson. The PID parameters are by definition different because the used PID Equations differ for each brand.. Or did you know that even within a DCS you have different PID equations? Many DCS engineers are not aware of these differences. This could be one of the reasons why you’ve never succeeded in tuning some of the loops within your plant correctly.
All these challenges are solved within INCATools. The software is aware of these different PID equations and is able to react accordingly. There is no need to worry about converting your PID parameters for different PID equations anymore. Or to worry about the impact of instrument ranges on your PID parameters.
Reason 4: Tune multiple loops at once
When your PID loops run smoothly and you have a clear view of your process, you might want to take it one step further. INCATools enables you to tune multiple PID loops at the same time. Some of the PID loops influence each other. When you change the parameters of one loop it might affect the process behavior of another. If you’re not aware of these interacting loops, it can affect your plant operations negatively. INCATools provides the aspect to tune multiple loops at the same time, taking into account all the interactions. A nice feature of INCATools is also that you can tune cascade controllers in one go.
Reason 5: it just makes your job easier
Specifying the desired behaviour of your PID loops offers structure and stability. That’s not only beneficial for you as DCS engineer, it also results in less wear and tear of the equipment. Using INCATools makes your job easier, because you can tune the PID loops right the first time. Most importantly, the PID tuning changes are automatically documented for later reference to maximize your performance, while keeping the plant running safely.
Freeware vs. software
If you want to stay in control and tune PID loops the first time right, freeware will not do the trick and you should use PID tuning software.
We’ll take you through the 7 main reasons why you should use a PID tuning software package instead of freeware downloaded from the internet.
Do you like to know what INCATools PID tuning software can offer you?
Request your demo here.