ARC study into FF control-in-the-field

The Fieldbus Foundation has announced the results of an ARC study into the benefits of the FF control-in-the-field (CIF) capability. Some of the project work was carried out by Industrial Systems and Control (ISC), the control-engineering consultancy closely linked to the University of Strathclyde, and other input came from Shell Global Solutions International (SGSI) who have performed extensive evaluation of control in the field. SGSI recommend CIF for simple and cascading loops, but not for complex loops. The major benefits identified by SGSI were reduced process-controller loading, reduced network traffic, and very fast loop response. This provides a performance benefit with flow and pressure control loops, and can be useful with some position/speed and temperature/pH control loops.

Field-level control is also quoted to enable greater flexibility in plant-automation strategies, because controllers are free to handle higher-level control functions such as advanced control and optimisation. The improved flow and pressure control provided by CIF, which also improves disturbance rejection, then means that the performance of other slower loops could also be improved because of the reduced network traffic and the complex interactions of control loops in process plants (Link).

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