In his opening speech, Mr. Jacques Richalet, first apostle of predictive control in France, underlined the major benefits of predictive control PFC (Predictive Functional Control): better performance than a traditional PID controller, and easy to set and implement. Since its first implementation in 1968, PFC’s field of application has never stopped expanding, improving performance in all kinds of industries: pharmaceutical, chemical, steel and even petrochemicals.
The first testimony of the day proved PFC’s efficiency in controlling an Alstom coal-fired thermal power station. The constructor’s R&D department had been studying feasibility of using PFC in order to control two loops known for being difficult: holding the water level in the boiler steam drum and the temperature of over-heat steam (power plant efficiency directly depends on these two parameters). Values that came out of simulations showed that predictive control ensures performance imposed by the specifications.
The next speaker described why Sanofi’s technical services chose predictive control in order to regulate internal temperatures in reactors during chemical processes. Using the same reactor for the synthesis of different products brought to light the interest of a model-based command.