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Invensys Chooses ExperTune's PlantTriage for its Loop Management Services Business (December 2004)

Invensys has chosen ExperTune's PlantTriage performance monitoring system to underpin their comprehensive new process control Loop Management Services. Together, the two companies will help customers maximize the performance of their installed automation assets.

PlantTriage allows Invensys process control experts to quickly identify where control or process improvements would result in the greatest economic benefit. Full control valve and loop diagnostics are obtained in normal operation while the plant remains on-line. PlantTriage easily connects via OPC to Foxboro I/A Series automation system or any other process control system.

"When we conceived the new service and were evaluating potential technology suppliers, only ExperTune had the complete tool set to enable monitoring, diagnostics and remediation with its award winning Advanced Analysis and Tuning software embedded within PlantTriage," said Harris Kagan, director of technology marketing at Invensys Process Systems. "In order to bring real value to our customers we saw the need to have the tools to correct problems found as critical. ExperTune is the only solution in the market place that filled this need. Moreover, since we are providing a service, the comprehensive reporting available with this tool enables us to quickly track and share with our customers the improvements we've been able to achieve."

Following remediation, Invensys provides a report documenting the loop performance improvements that were achieved. Ongoing remote monitoring, reporting, prioritization, and on-site remediation services are available to help ensure optimal plant performance over time.

Harris Kagan of Invensys continues, "Poorly performing control loops, and particularly oscillating loops, often result in excessive valve wear, thus increasing maintenance requirements. By off-loading day-to-day loop management to Invensys, process manufacturers can realize optimal control loop performance, while freeing typically overworked plant personnel to perform other critical plant tasks."

About ExperTune

ExperTune's full suite of optimization tools are designed to increase the efficiency of processes. ExperTune's PlantTriage monitors and assesses the entire plant, assuring optimal operation. ExperTune's analysis includes simulation, modeling, robustness, linearization, valve wear analysis, pH linearizer, time series analysis, multivariable, statistical, frequency response, and PID tuning tools.

About Invensys Process Systems

Process Systems, a business unit of Invensys plc, provides products, services and solutions for the automation and optimization of industrial process plants. Invensys Process Systems includes industry-leading brands such as Foxboro, Triconex, SimSci-Esscor, Wonderware, and Avantis, whose products are installed in more than 100,000 plants across the world. These range from small hybrid and batch plants to the world's largest refineries, gas plants, petrochemicals plants, power plants, and pulp and paper mills.

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How PlantTriage is Saving Kruger Paper One Million Dollars Annually (November 2004)

According to plant personnel at the Kruger Wayagamack facility in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada, ExperTune PlantTriage automatic diagnostic software has increased the efficiency of the #4 paper machine by 2% annually. This 2% increase corresponds to over a million dollars annually. A video documentary explains in detail how Kruger achieved the percentage increase in efficiency and their goal of fast startup. The video is available from:

In 2003, Kruger started up a new paper machine. Kruger chose to install PlantTriage to assist with their goal of fast startup. PlantTriage helped them surpass their startup curve by 3 months. The Kruger Wayagamack mill manager said: "It is one of the best startups ever in Kruger history."

Within 2 weeks of receiving the software, Kruger had installed it and was receiving diagnostic information. This diagnostic information identified trouble spots in the plant, preventing at least 3 shut-downs in the early startup phase of the paper machine. According to the Superintendent of Production, "The paper machine start-up began on November 1, 2003. We made the first ton of light coated paper on November 7, 2003. Within one week, we were able to produce the final paper for the grades we wanted."

But the benefits did not end at startup. Kruger's use of PlantTriage resulted in a 2% annual increase in paper machine efficiency. According to Kruger's Instrumentation Supervisor, "We are actually working on a project to install PlantTriage in the rest of our plant, where we have the Kraft mechanical pulp process, the secondary treatment and all the other plant processes. We want to add about 700 control loops in PlantTriage in order to monitor all our process sequences. Our goal is to be able to optimize the whole plant with PlantTriage before the end of 2004."

For 18 years, ExperTune has created award winning optimization software that runs in thousands of plants world-wide. ExperTune's full suite of optimization tools are designed to increase the efficiency of processes. PlantTriage is an automatic diagnostic system for the entire plant, ensuring optimal operation. The company's analysis tools include simulation, modeling, robustness, linearization, valve wear analysis, pH linearizer, time series analysis, multivariable, statistical, frequency response, and PID tuning tools.

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Decision-makers need not build castles on sand (November 2004)

In today's fiercely competitive marketplace for manufactured products, the difference between profit and loss can often be found in boardroom decisions. The downstream results of those decisions are directly attributable to the quality of information available to the manufacturer's management team.

A Wisconsin-based software company with a worldwide reputation in the field of plant tuning, believes that senior managers cannot make good decisions unless they have the latest and best information at their fingertips.

CEO of ExperTune, John Gerry, says: "Our flagship software package, PlantTriage, has primarily functioned at engineering level, identifying areas in need of fine-tuning in order to obtain optimum efficiency. Now, PlantTriage has entered the boardroom."

He continues: "The latest version of the software, perfected in concert with experts at the world-famous Oxford University, includes a 'dashboard' that enables senior managers to view real-time performance benchmarks of an entire company's control system—from Baltimore to Beijing."

The new release of PlantTriage includes a corporate overview of multi-site performance in real-time. This is an overview of the complete automated process control system - everything from the controllers to the process instrumentation and control valves.

Mr Gerry added: "The dashboard allows users to compare the performance of one site or plant to others across the enterprise. A board of directors can be shown a snapshot view of current performance, or view performance over time of the entire corporation, with individual sites or plants broken out in detail."

Down to a loop

Available anywhere, anytime, through a standard PC browser (such as Internet Explorer), the dashboard enables engineers drill down into individual plants for more detail in a specific plant.

Mr Gerry explains: "This facility allows managers and engineers to view plants being assessed and monitored under different PlantTriage servers. They can drill down from the dashboard into individual sites, plants, unit operations, and finally loops - revealing a wealth of useful information while conducting a rigorous health check."

ExperTune has created PlantTriage as an enterprise-wide, automation monitoring and diagnostic system. It pinpoints opportunities for achieving the optimum economic impact on operations, increasing reliability, efficiency, and profit. It minimizes cost without adding bricks and mortar or personnel, the company says.

Mr Gerry adds: "PlantTriage is being used by blue-chip manufacturers around the world, and is recommended by the top-tier of automation vendors. Profit-conscious companies are now able to make boardroom decisions that maintain their market leadership and yield additional profits from their existing manufacturing capacity."

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Real-time performance monitoring - enterprise wide (June 2004)

A Wisconsin-based software company, the OPC Foundation, and Oxford University in England have combined to bring unprecedented benefits to manufacturers and processors in almost every industry.

An enhancement to the PlantTriage software package from ExperTune now gives corporations the tools to improve the performance of the entire enterprise in real-time -- even those struggling to extract essential information from older DCS systems.

A dash-board allows users to view the performance of the entire organization, allowing ‘drill down’ to any site, plant, or unit operation. The dash-board is available to anyone via a secure Web browser connection.

The ISA award-winning CEO of the company, John Gerry, explained: "The software enables users to ‘subscribe’ to performance reports of any area. The PDF formatted reports supply only the performance information needed, when it is needed. Users can configure and subscribe to reports via their browser.

He continued: In minutes, users can develop reports containing any analysis for any portion of the operation over any time period. PlantTriage now enables users to balance the communication-traffic load based on the running condition of individual plants at a site.

"Users can turn a plant off-scan while leaving the other plants inside the PlantTriage system on-scan. Thus allowing for balanced load on DCS systems. This is especially crucial on plants that have older DCS systems whose communication loads are already high", Mr Gerry said.

Finding the root cause

Already producing notable results for industrial companies around the world, the performance tracking in PlantTriage has been enhanced, allowing users to create a performance report based on previous performance. For example, users can view the crucial performance opportunities report now, or from three months ago, or averaged over the past two months.

Mr Gerry said: "The program has further enhanced its best-in-class capabilities to pinpoint the root cause of a unit-wide or plant-wide oscillation. Reducing swings or oscillations can dramatically improve the performance and profitability of the plant. Getting at the root cause, fast, is what it's all about."

All of this performance and diagnostic history is now available enterprise-wide via OPC HDA. HDA stands for Historical Data Access, a new standard created by the OPC Foundation and embraced by ExperTune. (The company is a member of the Foundation.)

PlantTriage has added new assessments to help pinpoint and diagnose process problems. The program now monitors itself with detailed explanations of assessment status. Leading-edge technology for signal validation developed in partnership with Oxford University ensures that the results are usable all the time.

Standard templates allow users to quickly implement a PlantTriage system. Templates include flow, level, averaging level, gas and liquid pressure, and temperature. The baseline of performance provides a benchmark for the plant to continuously improve itself.

The enhanced version includes a "super-filter" button that sets-up the performance data inside Microsoft Excel. All of the data analysis tools inside Excel are available to analyze performance data.

Mr Gerry commented: "In boardrooms around the world, company owners and managers are seeking innovative ways to squeeze additional profits from the same plant assets – and now they can. The key to reaching such objectives as increased reliability, minimal downtime, and optimal efficiency is timely and pertinent information."

He added: "ExperTune, the OPC Foundation, and Oxford University have focused their collective expertise on various aspects of these complex issues, and the result is the enhanced version of PlantTriage."

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Engineers quick to spot the benefits of Historical Data Access (March 2004)

The CEO of Wisconsin-based ExperTune, John Gerry, believes that the launch of a new standard opens the door for many companies to extract greater efficiency - and, therefore, profitability - from existing plant and procedure, without expensive installations of the latest 'gee whiz' hardware.

He explained: "HDA is a new standard from the OPC Foundation, of which ExperTune is a member, and it stands for Historical Data Access. It gives clients, such as OSI's PI, access to historical assessment and diagnostic data within PlantTriage (PT) - an affordable software package that is continually analyzing, diagnosing, and storing a history of these assessments."

Mr Gerry, recipient of an Award for software innovation at the last ISA Conference, continued: "With PT and HDA, engineers gain access to the performance history of a plant. The assessments are available in real-time, too, just after they are calculated via standard OPC data access."

This unique package from ExperTune, already being adopted by process plants worldwide, has now expanded its reach with the availability of HDA-based analysis. Now that it is an HDA server, users can capitalize on hidden savings from their process with the power and flexibility of this program.

Holder of 4 patents in process control and a member of the ExperTune team, Tom Kinney, explained: "In many cases, a key event or operating period captured in the PlantTriage assessments could bring significant additional benefit to plant operations."

He elaborated: "This is because its analysis and diagnostics are continually historized, saving the time usually required to repeat important tests or to capture cause-and-effect from prior events. The assessments for all control loops in the plant are now accessible plant-wide, via an HDA OPC interface."

"As PT models process dynamics from historical data, important process models can be developed, validated, and refined from historical data - saving time and money, and eliminating the need for potentially costly tests on the plant."

Tuning for performance

Mr Gerry added: "In these days of fierce competition in almost any vertical sector, in the USA or in the global marketplace, plant owners and operators are urgently seeking ways to optimize output while, at the same time, curtailing costs.

"Industry is about to welcome the new OPC standard with open arms, because of the cost-savings that it makes possible. Now, the monitoring and analysis procedures built into PlantTriage enable engineers to identify the bottlenecks, take remedial action, and extract the optimum performance from legacy plants."

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