Ah, summer! Time for days at the beach, relaxing with family. Take some downtime around the house, order take-out food, and let teh laundry go for a few days. It feels to good that we don’t have to be “in control” all the time.

But what about your plant? Can you afford for it to not be “in control”?

It may surprise you to find out that, in a typical plant, 30% of control loops are running in MANUAL. That is, they are not “in control” at all. Any upset that comes along passes right through!

This can lead to losses in efficiency, and greater potential for safety or environmental problems. In fact, control loops left in manual have been found at the root cause of several industrial disasters.

Should you run out to the plant, and force everything into AUTO? No, no, no!! Control Loops in MANUAL are more of a symptom than a problem. Usually, the operator put the loop in MANUAL for a reason: The tuning was bad, the instrument failed, or there was a control valve problem.

As a good control guru, you want to be sure that your plant stays “in control”, even while you are out on vacation. Here are some suggestions:
1. Start by understanding the extent of the problem in your plant. Monitor the % of control loops in MANUAL using on-line tools, like Control Loop Monitoring.
2. For each loop, make sure you understand WHY it was left in MANUAL. Ask the operators. Then resolve the root cause issue.
3. Continue to monitor for loops in MANUAL. This is a very effective way to spot new problems when they occur, even if the operator forgot to tell you about it.