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A Real Time Approach To Process Control Education A Paradigm Shift

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.37.1 - 4.37.8

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Paper Authors

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Donald Mahoney

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Brent Young

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William Svrcek

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2313

A Real Time Approach to Process Control Education – A Paradigm Shift William Svrcek, Donald Mahoney*, Brent Young† University of Calgary / Hyprotech Ltd*.


The traditional approach to process control education has been to employ the classical methods of process control that were originally developed as a substitute for the real time simulation of process systems. It is our contention that with the availability of fast and easy to use simulation software, classical methods have limited relevance for process control education. In this paper we will outline our real time approach to process control instruction. The methodology is then illustrated by application to the feedback control of liquid level in a separator. Finally, the results of student subject evaluations from two years of implementation at the University of Calgary are presented.

I. Introduction

The classical approach to process control education of chemical engineers1-3 has been to employ the frequency response methods of process control that were originally developed as pen and paper methods for the modeling of process systems. It has been evident for some time that the way process control is taught to chemical engineers needs to be updated4-6.

There is an academic requirement that the fundamentals of process control need to be taught in a more practical and concrete way than afforded by the traditional classical approaches. The increasingly overloaded degree syllabus provides the academic impetus to reorganize subjects and reduce superfluous detail.

There is also an industrial imperative to teach material that is of use to the practicing engineer. This imperative is reinforced by the comments such as the following that arise from practicing Chemical Engineers. “I never made use of Bode plots or root-locus when I was designing a control loop” “There are no transfer functions out there in the real plant” “The material I had been taught was of no use in commissioning a control loop”

Control education clearly needs to do better.

† The author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Mahoney, D., & Young, B., & Svrcek, W. (1999, June), A Real Time Approach To Process Control Education A Paradigm Shift Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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