Eleven delegate drawn from six of the organisations in the ADDoPT consortium recently enjoyed an intensive, informative, and interactive two-days of training in process control in the context of the pharmaceuticals industry.
The introductory course in Process Control for the Pharmaceutical Industry, held at Cheshire's Daresbury Innovation Centre on 23rd and 24th August, was designed and delivered by ADDoPT partner, and thought leaders in model predictive control, Perceptive Engineering, in conjunction with respected control consultancy Industrial Systems and Control.
Starting from the fundamentals of why and how processes should be controlled, and covering the essential features of Feedback Control, and key elements of a Control System, Day 1 gave delegates a firm grounding before moving on to explore how Process Dynamics can be understood, modelled, and taken into account in the operation and tuning of PID control loops. Day 2 introduced modelling and advanced control design topics including System Identification, and the principles and implementation of Model Predictive Control,
Despite the amount of ground covered, and the ostensibly tricky-looking nature of some of the subject matter, experienced course leader Andy Clegg did an exceptional job in outlining the (bare minimum) mathematics of process control dynamics and modelling in an accessible and intuitive way, focusing on what the (usually underlying) maths enabled you to do rather than on "equations for equations' sake." Plenty of hands-on practice with industry-relevant process control simulations, including experience with Perceptive Engineering's PharmaMV software suite, and practical "tales from the trenches" ensured that the course was much more than a theoretical exploration of an interesting topic. There was however plenty of intellectual stimulation throughout for chemists (perhaps seeking to better understand system dynamic as distinct from more familiar steady state phenomena), engineers (looking to stay up to speed with state of the art approaches to process control and automation). and anyone else interested in how advanced process control approaches can be used to to help achieve step change improvements in pharmaceutical manufacturing efficiency and process capability.
Following the positive reception for the Process Control for the Pharmaceutical Industry course, Perceptive Engineering are looking to run a similar two-day programme in Glasgow this November, with the added attraction of course delegates being able to practise "for real" on working continuous crystalliser and reactor control systems at the host venue, the state of the art EPSRC Centre for Continuous Manufacture and Crystallisation (CMAC). Further details can be found here.