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Drag And Drop Graphical User Interface For Process Control Education

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Novel Courses and Content for ChEs II

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.451.1 - 13.451.15



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Paper Authors

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Ruben Morales-Menendez Tecnologico de Monterrey

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Tomas Lopez Tecnologico de Monterrey

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Ricardo Ramirez Medoza Institute Tecnologico De Monterrey

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Luis E Garza Tecnologico de Monterrey

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

Drag-and-Drop Graphical User Interface for Process Control Education


One of the difficulties in process control education consists of providing a theoretical foundation maintaining the practicality. Experimental laboratories represent a powerful option to avoid this gap. An experimental laboratory must include industrial equipment and software systems in order to provide a real experience. However, industrial equipment demands several time- consuming procedures (i.e. training, configuration, etc). A Drag-and-Drop Graphical User Interface (GUI) is designed to facilitate these procedures and to assist students in achieving deeper understanding on process control. The GUI allows students the implementation and evaluation of different process control strategies exploiting industrial equipment. Early results are motivating.


Important recommendations regarding needed reform in undergraduate control education consider4: “to provide practical experience in control system engineering…”. Additionally, “ the community and funding agencies must invest in new approaches to education and outreach for dissemination of control concepts and tools to nontraditional audiences”. The panel also recommended the integration of software tools such as Matlab into these courses29.

The proposal considers a Drag-and-Drop Graphical User Interface (GUI) that communicates an industrial PID controller with a personal computer. The communication system is hidden to the students. The GUI, follows the plug-and-play philosophy, which avoids the training and configuration time that every experimental laboratory demands. This interface allows students to interact with real process systems. Several control strategies can be easily implemented based on Matlab/Simulink or compiled on ANSI C scripts.

This paper is organized in the following way: First, a state-of-the-art review of similar projects is presented. Second, the design principles of the engineering course at Tecnológico de Monterrey are briefly described. Third, the academic proposal is described. Fourth, results of undergraduate senior students are presented. Finally, conclusions and future work end this paper in section Fifth.


Although there are many significant projects in this field, the projects described below are mainly related to the continuous control systems domain. The papers were organized in three tables based on the main contribution/innovation: simulation, laboratories and remote laboratories.

Morales-Menendez, R., & Lopez, T., & Ramirez Medoza, R., & Garza, L. E. (2008, June), Drag And Drop Graphical User Interface For Process Control Education Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4370

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