This model is adaptive and based on all the key signals coming in. Every time a new physical measurement is done, the model is adjusted and calibrated, giving a continuous predicted Virtual Measurement reading.
Based on the deep domain expertise in APC and monitoring systems that ABB possesses, we have created a mature, robust, adaptive software framework that supports these Virtual Measurements. They are not theoretical; they are real world, reliable measurements that serve the process just as traditional physical sensors do.
Multi-variable control delivers the perfect mix
By taking more measurements, more frequently – and in which we have high confidence – allows us to deploy true multi-variable control to fiber processing. As the name implies, multi-variable control lets us get the optimal combined fiber properties by managing all the variables that influence the result.
A very simple analogy could be a water tap with a hot/cold mixer. Previously, in older days, we had one hot water tap and one cold water tap, and we tried to get the right flow and temperature coming out of the tube by manually adjusting both. But the modern single tap mixer adjusts both the temp and flow to achieve the desired result, quickly and easily.
Predictive cruise control on pulp lines
When we bring all these insightful new tools together – including faster and more accurate fiber morphology tests, virtual measuring, and multi-variable control algorithms – we get valuable real-time predictive powers. This means we have the capability to make future forecasts, both short term and long term, of where we are taking the process and how we’ll do it, such as what actuators we will employ.
Another analogy for this could be with the cruise control function on a car that is climbing a hill. But, instead of applying more gas when the car is actually already on the hill, by using predictive power of an APC solution, the car can sense when a hill (or other disturbance) is coming and will proactively accelerate before it has started climbing the hill. This both saves fuel and gives a smoother ride, at the desired speed.
In a paper or pulp mill, APC gives us the visibility to see what process fluctuations are coming up ahead and adjusting in advance, rather than reacting after an upset has already begun.
Of course, just like when using cruise control on a new car for the first time, it takes time for the operators to gain confidence in multi-variable APC. This is perfectly normal and reasonable. That's why our operator-focused approach works to make them feel comfortable every step of the way, so they can see where we want to take the process and are with us. And delivering APC as a service also means we are there before, during and after implementation. This is a major factor in building operator trust and confidence.