How to approach a PID tuning project in a phased way

Posted by Julian Vidal on Aug 17, 2021 9:02:21 AM

Many operations managers face a challenge to maintain all PID loops on their plant in good working order. Plant safety may be at stake in some cases if some of these PID loops are kept in manual mode. Poor PID tuning may also contribute towards degradation in plant performance, leading to unstable operation and, eventually, reduced profitability. Operations managers need to create a culture of continuous PID performance monitoring and improvement, ensuring safe and optimal plant performance. How do you embark on this journey, and what are the best practices?

There are many PID loops, how do you start?

Poor PID loop performance could be due to various factors such as sub-optimal PID tuning, instrument failures and actuator issues. There may be long-standing, unresolved issues due to incorrect configuration of complicated loops. Problems that require immediate attention, such as unstable loops causing safety concerns, will take high priority, so resources are always directed towards resolving such issues first. What approach should you take to address these issues and maintain steady progress towards the goal of maintaining optimal performance of all PID loops?

Build confidence with “quick wins”

Building confidence by making some quick improvements is an excellent way to get started. Operations managers can very quickly identify 20 to 40 bad acting PID loops that require urgent attention. Consultants would spend approximately 2 weeks reviewing, tuning and, optimising these PID loops. This work is typically conducted in the control room, with operator interactions. This type of “hands on”approach fosters trust with operators and builds their confidence in the skills of consultants. During co-operation with operators, they will also provide additional information and history regarding other problematic loops to consultants. These PID loops can then be addressed in future activities. Once there is proven success, additional PID loops can be addressed in 2-week phases until all bad-acting PID loops have been rectified. Showing good results will create interest in PID optimisation activities and lead to a culture of continuous improvements. Regular maintenance of PID loops can be scheduled to ensure a preventive approach is put in place as best practice.


A phased approach provides quick benefits and fosters a culture of continuous improvements

Base layer PID control loops are essential for safe operation of process plants and equipment. A well-defined, 2-week investment in PID tuning will generate excellent payback in the form of monetary benefits and building trust and confidence with operations managers. Several rounds of such 2-week phases will be required before all PID loop optimisation activities have been addressed. This type of phased approach provides an excellent balance between managing investment risk and generating benefits. Creating a programme of preventive PID loop maintenance shall ensure PID loops continue to perform optimally. Operations managers will have peace of mind and there will be reduced stress on operators.

We are happy to advise you about how PID tuning, process knowledge and the right tools can help you accomplish optimized plant performance. Talk to an expert here. 




Topics: PID tuning