Process Control Week

Process control week combines our Introduction to Automation, Regulatory Control and Safety Systems and Practical Control Loop Tuning courses to create an intensive week that equips you for the real world application of process control and automation.

Target Audience

Operations engineering support teams, instrument technicians and panel operators will all benefit from this course. New control engineers will also gain from practical advice to complement the theory from school. Technicians should have at least three years field experience, engineers do not require any experience.

Course Topics

The course starts with a breakdown of automation from final element all the way back through a control loop; to the architecture of control systems, including emergency shutdown and fire and gas systems, all the way through integration with management information systems.

There should be no element of automation systems that we do not explain such that the purpose and the contribution to analytical, regulating and safety systems can be understood.

We start from process dynamics explaining how each piece of information is used to select the appropriate control technique. The course gives a practical introduction to the application of control from the standpoint of modelling process dynamics and selecting an appropriate control technique to reflect the process dynamics.

Participants will be able to tune the various control techniques from basic on off control to feed forward, even applying feed forward techniques to decouple control interactions. Computer simulations allow us to practice tuning via a control system interface whilst a dynamic simulation runs in real time giving immediate feedback on control performance. At the end of the course delegates will be able to collect and analyse process data. Importantly, they will understand the ongoing demands of different control techniques.

Building on a thorough understanding of the basics of control, each participant will be introduced to our concept of the ‘automation toolkit’ such that they understand and can apply appropriate automation techniques.

They will be able to identify and explain each element of an automation hierarchy, from the measuring instrument to the analytical packages delivering diagnoses to the executives’ interface.

Ultimately, we will go hands on into the world of video gaming and augmented reality to explore how information and automation can be combined into a single universal interface for the whole organization, such that we bring clarity to the business allowing focus on the highest value opportunity at any given time.

Course Overview

Automation done properly performs repetitive tasks better than humans, simplifying operations, but automation done poorly increases the demands on humans, complicating operations.

We aim to explain a digital enterprise starting from the sharp end, moving the final control elements that deliver quality product, and continuing on to the intelligent integration of information technology with automation to increase productivity for any organisation.

In our experience, the teaching of control theory does not adequately explain the concept of process dynamics. Nor does academia touch on the use of automatic safety systems for emergency shutdown and fire and gas detection, and how it integrates with regulatory control. Programming information technology does not equip the programmer with a knowledge of assets and operations. In other words, we need to get all these aspects right for automation to deliver its promise.

This whole course has been prepared to build from the concepts of process dynamics towards the application of the most appropriate automation technique

We will use a range of simulation models to measure process dynamics, test and tune control techniques; just as you would do onsite. We limit the theory to what you need to know to understand the practical exercise of process control.

We then consider control system architectures and information technology architectures seeking to integrate the systems together, stripping out duplication and redundancy to deliver a streamlined automation of your enterprise.

Your job in the real world is not to develop new control and automation techniques, we can leave that to the many theorists out there, your job is to apply known control, analysis and automation techniques to get the maximum benefit in productivity optimisation.

Learning Objectives

The overall objective is to learn how to use process control engineering, digital (information technology) and business process best practice in combination.

You will learn how to:

  • Automate the management of opportunity and risks
  • Assess current system architectures
  • Construct a plan and carry out programme evaluation and review
  • Implement digital tools to integrate and automate analysis and improvement
  • Introduction to Control and Protective Systems
  • Role of each element of a control system
  • Tune control loops
  • Plant control objectives
  • Produce desired response using a range of control options
  • Controller Terms
  • Automation Toolkit: Automate and integrate the complete range of operations


Howard Thomas has advocated practical approaches to handling complexity for over 20 years. He has a unique ability to make the complex clear for his clients and audiences.
He combines an in depth technical background with a wide ranging business experience but is probably best known for his engaging style of presentation.

He is formally technically accredited as a Fellow of Engineers Australia and a Chartered Professional Chemical Engineer and has worked on hydrocarbon installations all over the world, from roles as a technician to executive consultancy.