E-News December 2008 Edition

2009 – A Year of Opportunity by Professor Mike Grimble

As the year comes to an end business conditions become more difficult but this also provides more opportunities for engineers to provide improved systems. Advanced control can provide competitive advantages, save energy or provide production improvements.

One of the pleasant items of news in 2008 was the Heaviside medal that Professor Mike Grimble was awarded from the IET. This august body kindly recognised his theoretical contributions and his work with industry both through ISC Ltd. and through the Industrial Control Centre he established at the University of Strathclyde. Further recognition of success came from the award of the EPSRC grant with Dr David Anderson of the University of Glasgow to consider the application of nonlinear control techniques in high speed machinery controls and other applications. The appointments to this project have just been made and it involves close cooperation with SELEX in Edinburgh whose manager Matt MacDonald is of course the industrial chairman of the ACTC. Another new project within the ICC concerns nuclear reactor core condition monitoring. This is a two year project supported by British Energy that will include a senior research engineer and a research student undertaking a PhD program. New ACTC training programs for the nuclear industry will be used to support the transfer of technology for this project.

Companies involved in metal processing or indeed machinery controls will be interested in the Rolling Mill Academy which is organised for 2nd – 6th March and is very relevant to other rolling and strip processing line applications. The Rolling Mill Academy began as a course run through the University of Strathclyde more than a decade ago and in cooperation with Alstom it was taken to Pittsburgh and Amsterdam in addition to being run in both Rugby and Glasgow. The most recent event was organised by Converteam and was held in Leamington. It attracted a good attendance even in these hard times. There is a significant cost to the academies but ACTC members receive two free places in locations where they are mainly organised by the ACTC.

Following this event there will be a Process Control Academy that will be run in conjunction with Emerson Process Control and is to be held early next year. The Process Control Academy has also become an annual fixture in the calendar and is held at different locations around the UK. Again, ACTC members receive two free places. Both the IRMA and the PCA include basic tutorial lectures on topics common to all areas of control engineering and hence members should look at the agendas and course contents for the meetings to see if they are relevant.

There are several plans afoot to develop energy related courses for the nuclear and power industries. These may be specialist one day events held at company premises. One of the new projects awarded to ISC Ltd. that manages the ACTC is on offshore wind energy and it involves some of the leading wind turbine manufacturers, consulting companies and universities. The EU supported Aeolus project is managed by Professor Thomas Bak at Aalborg University in Denmark and it involves Industrial Systems and Control Ltd., Lund University, Sweden; University of Zagreb, Croatia; the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, and Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Denmark There has been some interest from members in the organisation of a technical workshop on wind energy systems and this will also be considered during 2009.

Members are reminded that we also run courses of wider engineering interest including, for example, engineering mathematics which can be tailored to different speciality engineering areas. One of the newest courses to be developed for Boeing in Seattle concerns robust multivariable control and reliable control systems design. It covers subjects such as the modelling of uncertainty in systems, robust control design by classical and optimal techniques, condition monitoring and reconfiguration. The course focuses on engineering design issues, the do’s and don’ts of good design, the accommodation of transport delays, nonlinearities and uncertainties and many other topics related to the safe and reliable operation and condition monitoring of systems.

Over the last few years we have held an annual automotive workshop for the automotive special interest group in Detroit. We are hoping to run a similar event possibly during March working again with National Instruments and Freescale. We are all hoping that the major US automotive manufacturers are prospering by this time.

Finally, it is our pleasure to welcome Iggesund Paperboard from Workington to the ACTC. We hope that they and all the ACTC members, past members and our project partners have a very successful 2009.

Mike Grimble


Next Rolling Mill Academy.

ISC are pleased to announce details of the next Rolling Mill Academy. The 11th International Rolling Mill Academy will be held at the University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow, Scotland on 2-6 March, 2009.

ISC will manage the 11th Academy, which will be held at the University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow, Scotland on 2-6 March, 2009. Its focus will be on advanced rolling mill control and technology, and how improved control can provide a competitive advantage through greater reliability, robustness and performance. There is a greater emphasis on advanced concepts, such as multivariable control and loop tuning methods. This makes the event of interest to control engineers, plant managers, plant engineers and operations/production staff. Basic control concepts are explained in an optional section of the course, for personnel without a (recent) background in control theory. Converteam will contribute with lectures on gauge control and drive technology.

For further information visit www.rollingmillacademy.com

the lectures will be given by experienced industrial experts together with leading international researchers in hot and cold mill control systems, who each average 20 years’ experience in the field. Ideal for engineers involved in process control, metals production or control engineering, the Academy includes ‘hands-on’ training using mill model simulations to allow delegates to gain practical understanding of the techniques described for control of material properties. Delegates all receive full colour lecture notes together with samples of the simulation software used as part of the course.

The previous Academy events, organised by ISC, the University of Strathclyde and Converteam, were held in events in Glasgow in Scotland, Rugby in England, Pittsburgh in the USA, Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Shanghai in China. They have attracted more than 200 delegates from 50 companies and 25 countries, including Alcan, Alcoa, China Steel, Corus, Dunaferr, Mittal and US Steel.

Contact for 11th International Rolling Mill Academy - Advanced Control:

Lesley Breen, ISC Ltd., 50 George Street, Glasgow G1 1QE, United Kingdom,Tel: +44 (0) 141 5531111, Email: iscmail@isc-ltd.com


ACTC - New Appointment

I am pleased to let you know that we have just appointed Meghan McGookin to manage and support the ACTC activities. Meghan will be able to schedule training courses at your company premises or make arrangements with you regarding case studies or consulting support.

Just by way of background I will mention that she worked with Dr David Anderson now of the University of Glasgow who was of course our senior ACTC engineer for a period. Meghan has completed a PhD in EEE at University of Glasgow in control engineering and she is therefore very well versed in many new areas of control. She has an interest in both theory and applications and will be happy to visit you on some occasion to gain your perspective on how to improve links and provide value.

By the way, I will mention because of custom and demand the number of training courses has been increasing and there is now a very wide range. We can run these covering periods of between half a day to three days at your company premises for your own engineers and for others you may wish to invite. There are also exciting plans for technical meetings and workshops but we will announce these as they arise.

I hope this information on our appointment is helpful and you must not hesitate to contact us if we can help. Meghan's contact details are as follows:

Meghan McGookin
Switchboard: 0141 553 1111
Direct Tel: 0141 553 4026
Fax: 0141 553 1232
Email: m.mcgookin@isc-ltd.com


Training Course at Glasgow and Birmingham, UK

Dr Andy Clegg presented an ACTC training course, “Introduction to Process Control” at Glasgow in October 2008. The course was well attended by major companies such as UPM Caledonian Paper, RWE Npower, and Scottish and Southern Energy. The course provides a basic understanding to process control and the delegates found the course easy to follow and provided them with fundamental knowledge of process control.

The course was also delivered to SevernTrent Water Limited, Birmingham and similarly, the course was well received and the delegates appreciated the tutorial sessions to reinforce better understanding of the control theory.


ACTC Training Courses for Jaguar Land Rover in Gaydon

Two advanced control courses were delivered by ACTC to Jaguar Landrover in Gaydon, UK. They had chosen Optimisation and Genetic Algorithm, and Introduction to Predictive Control for Linear and Nonlinear Systems. Both courses were well attended by enthusiastic automotive engineers and provided an insight to advance control theories. Discussion sessions were held to discuss the possibility of applying these control methodology in real practical application.


ACTC Training Course for BAE Systems, Barrow

Another control course, namely “Control Fundamental” was delivered to a major company, BAE Systems in Barrow this November. This course provided an engineering refresher in classical control theory and control system design. Even though the delegates come from various departments, such as instrumentation, mechanical side, power distribution and control system implementation, they all found the course extremely useful in terms of applying control system design and also an understanding of using the software Matlab and Simulink. Positive comments were received: “Better understanding of control methods and issues of control” and “I would recommend it to a colleague and would attend a follow on course if available”.


Training Course for Boeing, Seattle, USA.

Recently, Professor Mike Grimble and Dr Pawel Majecki presented two training course for Boeing Commercial Airplane Grounp (BCAG), Seattle, USA. The first course, “Linear Dynamic Modelling and Classical Control Theory” was targeted for delegates who require a refresher in control theory and/or newcomers who have minimal knowledge about control systems. This course also provided a basic understanding of using Matlab and/or Simulink for control system design.

A new advanced control course, namely “Robust and Reliable Control Systems Design”, has been put together and delivered to Boeing as well. This course is targeted for delegates who have good background knowledge about control theory and would like to study and design advanced control system for more complex nonlinear systems. This course was attended by experienced aerospace design engineers.


New ACTC Member - Iggesund Paperboard

Iggesund Paperboard based at Workington (http://www.iggesund.com) have joined the ACTC to investigate opportunities for improving control performance and energy savings on their board manufacturing process. The mill at Workington employs 500 staff and has a capacity of 260,000 tonnes of high quality Incada board, which is used for the packaging of food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals etc., as well as book covers and greeting cards.

The first control investigations are already being looked at, which are specifically around closing the loop on a key board quality measurement, a process which is dominated by long and varying transport delays together with significant interactions from other process variables. ACTC is investigating control solutions using simple, but practical simulation models, and will be able to help Iggesund engineers undertake trials of the proposed control solution. Another area we hope to be helping Iggesund with is identifying opportunity for energy saving throughout the plant.


Professor Mike Grimble awarded Heaviside Medal for achievement in Control

Professor Mike Grimble of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering established the Industrial Control Centre and the University spin out company ISC Limited more than two decades ago. He later introduced the Applied Control Technology Consortium that is still very active. He has recently been recognised for his research contributions and industrial applications work by the Institution of Engineering and Technology - IET. He was awarded the Heaviside Medal for achievement in Control at an IET 2008 Awards Ceremony and Dinner held in London. The photograph shows Professor Grimble receiving his certificate and medal at the Park Plaza hotel during November.