Active statistical process control
Most Statistical Process Control (SPC) research has focused on the development of charting techniques for process monitoring. Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to the importance of bringing the process in control automatically via these charting techniques. This thesis shows that by drawing upon concepts from Automatic Process Control (APC), it is possible to devise schemes whereby the process is monitored and automatically controlled via SPC procedures. It is shown that Partial Correlation Analysis (PCorrA) or Principal Component Analysis (PCA) can be used to determine the variables that have to be monitored and manipulated as well as the corresponding control laws. We call this proposed procedure Active SPC and the capabilities of various strategies that arise are demonstrated by application to a simulated reaction process. Reactor product concentration was controlled using different manipulated input configurations e.g. manipulating all input variables, manipulating only two input variables, and manipulating only a single input variable. The last two manipulating schemes consider the cases when all input variables can be measured on-line but not all can be manipulated on-line. Different types of control charts are also tested with the new Active SPC method e.g. Shewhart chart with action limits; Shewhart chart with action and warning limits for individual observations, and lastly the Exponentially Weighted Moving Average control chart. The effects of calculating control limits on-line to accommodate possible changes in process characteristics were also studied. The results indicate that the use of the Exponentially Weighted Moving Average control chart, with limits calculated using Partial Correlations, showed the best promise for further development. It is also shown that this particular combination could provide better performance than the common Proportional Integral (PI) controller when manipulations incur costs.