Optimizing power plant control systems can be challenging, but new tools are available to simplify and improve the process. On this episode of The POWER Podcast, Executive Editor Aaron Larson spoke with Jon Towslee, digital engagement leader for ABB Inc.’s Industrial Automation Power Generation & Water business.

Towslee explained how ABB Ability is focused on improving customers’ businesses by optimizing assets and operator effectiveness, and enhancing top-to-bottom performance. Solutions like the company’s loop performance monitor can be used to identify such things as transmitters that are providing bad data, noisy signal lines, and actuators that aren’t working correctly. Once maintenance crews have all equipment functioning properly, technicians can evaluate process control schemes to ensure they are responding appropriately, which then permits loops to be tuned for optimal performance.

The loop performance monitor evaluates control loops on 17 different parameters. Once individual loops are optimized, higher-level adjustments can be made. Ultimately, the tools allow plant operators to expand boundaries and operate plants more closely to maximum safe operating limits. This enhances performance and increases profitability.

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Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine).