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MANUFACTURING PROCESS CONTROLS FOR THE INDUSTRIES OF THE FUTURE Executive Summary Manufacturing process controls include all systems and software that exert control over production processes. Control systems include process sensors, data processing equipment, actuators, networks to connect equipment, and algorithms to relate process variables to product attributes. Since 1995, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Industrial Technology 's (OIT) program management strategy has reflected its commitment to increasing and documenting the commercial impact of OIT programs. OIT's management strategy for research and development has been in transition from a “technology push” strategy to a “market pull” strategy based on the needs of seven energy-and waste-intensive industries—steel, forest products, glass, metal casting, aluminum, chemicals, and petroleum refining. These industries, designated as Industries of the Future (IOF), are the focus of OIT programs. In 1997, agriculture, specifically renewable bioproducts, was added to the IOF group. The National Research Council Panel on Manufacturing Process Controls is part of the Committee on Industrial Technology Assessments (CITA), which was established to evaluate the OIT program strategy, to provide guidance during the transition to the new IOF strategy, and to assess the effects of the change in program strategy on cross-cutting technology programs, that is, technologies applicable to several of the IOF industries. The panel was established to identify key processes and needs for improved manufacturing control technology, especially the needs common to several IOF industries; identify specific research opportunities for addressing these common industry needs; suggest criteria for identifying and prioritizing research and development (R&D) to improve manufacturing controls technologies; and recommend means for implementing advances in control technologies. The panel 's responses to these tasks are described below.
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MANUFACTURING PROCESS CONTROLS FOR THE INDUSTRIES OF THE FUTURE KEY PROCESSES AND CONTROL TECHNOLOGY NEEDS The panel identified common industry needs for process sensing and manufacturing process controls (Chapter 3) based on key IOF process attributes, including (1) high processing volume and production rates, (2) large-batch or continuous processes, (3) commodity-grade products (low value per unit), (4) harsh processing environments,1 and (5) serial processing sequences (i.e., the output from one process becomes the feedstock for the next). Common needs for process sensing include measurement of temperature profiles in harsh processing environments measurement of chemical composition/stoichiometry in harsh processing environments measurement of physical attributes at high line speeds and high temperatures monitoring of combustion processes Common needs for process controls include methodologies to enable in-situ-level process controls optimization at the plant or enterprise level open-architecture software tools adaptive control systems methods and diagnostic tools for condition-based maintenance of process equipment To address all of these needs, the OIT program should include (1) a cross-cutting R&D initiative to develop fundamental technologies that address common IOF needs, (2) industry-specific R&D to validate and implement advances in technology, and (3) an interagency government initiative to coordinate plans and research objectives. RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES The panel recommends that OIT establish a cross-cutting R&D initiative to address the common needs of the IOF industries. Examples of specific research opportunities (Chapter 4) include (not prioritized) the development of sensor materials with significantly improved thermal and chemical resistance the compilation of a comprehensive database of candidate sensor material properties to accelerate the design and development cycle for the fabrication of new sensor systems 1 A harsh processing environment has one or more of the following characteristics: high processing temperature (with respect to sensor and control capabilities), steep thermal gradients, corrosivity, erosivity, high particle content, combustion, or high processing speeds.
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MANUFACTURING PROCESS CONTROLS FOR THE INDUSTRIES OF THE FUTURE the development of methods to measure temperatures accurately and reliably the development of low-cost, miniaturized, integrated analytical instruments that directly and easily measure process chemistry for a wide range of process flow-streams and conditions, including harsh environments the application of new processing science for the fabrication and packaging of integrated sensor/data processing/actuation modules the development of measurement technologies for the rapid characterization and evaluation of physical properties for wide-sheet and web processes the application of wireless telecommunications technology to advanced wireless sensors the development of process control methodologies, including process measurements, intelligent control algorithms, and reliable process models, to enable the transition from environmental-level (energy transport) to in-situ-level (material behavior) controls the development of techniques and control architectures for using multiple, disparate process models in a cohesive and integrated way the development of technology for process optimization and the plant-wide integration of process controls the evaluation of open-architecture control systems for large-batch and continuous processes typical of IOF industries the development and implementation of machine learning and adaptive controls CRITERIA FOR IDENTIFYING AND PRIORITIZING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT The panel recommends that OIT focus its research on the development of process sensors and control technologies that address the needs of the IOF industries. In addition to the common IOF needs, the organizational objectives of DOE and OIT—to reduce the consumption of raw materials and energy, to increase labor and capital productivity, and to reduce waste—must be considered. The panel recommends the following criteria as a basis for comparing and selecting technologies for the cross-cutting program: the potential for reducing the consumption of energy and raw materials and for reducing waste consistency with the technology road maps of the IOF industries potential cross-cutting benefits for more than one industrial sector (common needs and opportunities are described above) the potential for commercial application One of the key challenges for OIT is to manage the cross-cutting program in a way that facilitates the development of specific R& D performance goals based
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MANUFACTURING PROCESS CONTROLS FOR THE INDUSTRIES OF THE FUTURE on the common needs of several industries. To identify and prioritize research that meets IOF's needs, the panel recommends that OIT take the following steps: Establish an IOF coordination group to develop short-term and long-term goals and to monitor the progress and results of work on cross-cutting technologies. The group would review process attributes and control needs in each IOF industry and establish a consensus on specific goals for the most beneficial cross-cutting R&D. Facilitate interaction between the researchers developing improved process control technologies and potential IOF users. These interactions could include technical progress reviews of cross-cutting R&D programs and technology workshops to discuss technical developments and identify opportunities for validating and implementing them. TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AMONG INDUSTRY SECTORS The panel identified cross-cutting R&D that could benefit several industries without redundancy. However, the process development and implementation phases are unique to particular processes or conditions and could be best addressed by the interested IOF groups. Some industry-specific tasks are listed below: the development of road maps to identify technology needs and implementation plans interaction with cross-cutting technology programs (e.g., technical workshops and R&D progress reviews) the development and validation of process models related to specific key processes that would facilitate moving from environment-level to in-situ-level control schemes the development of actuators to control specific key process variables the optimization of process control systems, especially using supervisory controllers and plantwide integration the validation and implementation of improved sensor technologies and process control systems in large-scale processes Finally, the panel recommends that OIT program managers continue to coordinate interagency and intra-agency progress and plans in complementary technologies to avoid duplications. In addition to monitoring complementary programs, the panel recommends that OIT collaborate with four other organizations. The first is the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is developing standards for open-architecture systems; IOF industries should evaluate and validate system standards for large-batch and continuous operations. The second is the National Science Foundation, which is sponsoring research centers to develop improved process sensing and process modeling capabilities (e.g., the
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MANUFACTURING PROCESS CONTROLS FOR THE INDUSTRIES OF THE FUTURE Measurement and Control Engineering Center at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville; the Center for Process Analytical Chemistry at the University of Washington; and the Center for Industrial Sensors and Measurements at Ohio State University); IOF industries should coordinate the implementation and application of process modeling and advanced sensor technology. The third is the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), especially the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is developing microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices, fabrication processes, and applications; IOF industries should evaluate MEMS devices for sensing/control of industrial processes. Finally, OIT should collaborate with DOD programs (especially Army, Navy, and DARPA), which are developing condition-based maintenance approaches; IOF industries should evaluate sensors and diagnostics developed to monitor processing equipment and machinery.
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