Vaaler Awards: Two Products Win Honors

Many plants stand to benefit from these innovative products.

By Mark Rosenzweig, Editor in Chief

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Most chemical facilities face ongoing demands to improve their operations. Today’s economic climate is ratcheting up pressure while making cash and resources harder to get. While there’s no “magic bullet” to bolster performance, plants certainly can achieve gains by taking advantage of new offerings from vendors. This year’s Vaaler Awards honor two products that promise significant benefits for a wide range of sites.

Every other year since 1964, Chemical Processing has presented Vaaler Awards to products and services that can dramatically improve plant operations and economics. To be considered for this year’s award, a product or service must have been commercialized in the United States between July 2007 and June 2009.

The awards are named in honor of the late John C. Vaaler, editor in chief of Chemical Processing from 1946 to 1961, and chairman of the magazine’s Editorial Board until his death in 1963.

Chemical Processing’s Editorial Board, which includes technical professionals with diverse responsibilities and from a variety of industry sectors (see below) evaluated 12 entries for technological significance, novelty or uniqueness, and breadth of applicability. This impartial panel didn’t have to bestow any awards but did judge two nominees worthy of the honor:

• Loop-Pro Version 5 from Control Station; and
• Rosemount 848T Wireless Temperature Transmitter from Emerson Process Management.

Software Speeds Control Loop Tuning
Loop-Pro Version 5, introduced in August 2008, was developed in response to customer requests for easy-to-use regulatory control tools. In particular, says Control Station, Tolland, Conn., customers wanted proportional-integral-derivative (PID) diagnostic and tuning software that didn’t demand an initial steady-state condition to produce an accurate process model and viable tuning parameters.

After all, many processes involve numerous interconnected and moving variables — keeping each of these elements “quiet” for an extended period of time can be all but impossible. Moreover, maintaining steady-state operation might result in decreased throughput, lower quality or other penalties. In addition, business-critical control loops often are highly sensitive to change and attempts to steady them can be costly.

Loop-Pro v5 doesn’t require steady-state operation before performing controlled testing. So, the software makes it easier to model and tune systems with transitional and oscillatory process data, integrating processes that are subject to drift, batch processes that exhibit highly dynamic exothermic/endothermic characteristics, and control loops with extended settling times. (For details on the software’s application at a batch processing plant, see “Loop Control Gets Easier,” www.ChemicalProcessing.com/articles/2009/027.html.)
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