New ISA5.9 project to focus on controller algorithms and performance

  • Standards

The time-honored proportional, integral, derivative (PID) algorithm is used in a vast majority of applications for basic control and in many for advanced control. However, there appears to be a widespread lack of understanding of the different forms, structures, and features, and of how performance objectives determine appropriate choices. Consequently, most of the capability of the PID is underutilized, reducing process safety, efficiency, and capacity, points out ISA Fellow, author, and mentor Greg McMillan, a widely recognized expert on process control who received the ISA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

This concern prompted McMillan to propose a new ISA standards project on controller algorithms and performance, which has led to the recent formation of ISA5.9, Controller Algorithms and Performance. The new working group will function under the ISA5 committee, Documentation of Measurement and Control Instruments and Systems.

ISA5.9 will seek to clarify the algorithms used in industrial control systems to aid in their selection and application to improve manufacturing processes. The working group will develop technical reports, recommended practices, and standards documenting the algorithms used in industrial control systems and the measures of performance for those algorithms. The documents may include guidance on algorithm selection.

ISA5, the oversight committee for ISA5.9, is also responsible for the widely used standard ISA-5.1, Instrumentation Symbols and Identification. The committee is chaired by former ISA Standards & Practices Department vice president Tom McAvinew, co-author of the ISA book Control System Documentation: Applying Symbols and Identification.

The ISA5.9 cochairs are Yamei Chen of Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, and Michel Ruel of BBA, Qu├ębec. Those who are interested in participating in the new ISA5.9 are asked to contact Charley Robinson, ISA Standards,

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