Earlier this month, when Control Engineering awarded Canvass AI a 2023 product of the year award for its APC Solution, it took a few people by surprise (well, namely our competitors), who didn’t know that we have such a solution or what it does.
So, we thought it would be helpful to them if we brought a little clarity and understanding to the market with the following Questions and Answers.
- What is APC?
APC stands for Advanced Process Control, a broad range of techniques that communicates with level one DCS (Distributed Control System) controllers. APC is usually optional and deployed on top of basic process control to continuously manage the manipulated variables to control the set point to an objective function.
APC applications require that the process model created accurately represents the process dynamics. Improved economics of the operation or production improvements are typical driving forces for using these applications.
In practice APC deployments are complicated, expensive and require a high level of expertise in the process and modeling. APC models require regular maintenance as the process evolves and inevitably deviates, which can also be expensive and sometimes even require production to be stopped to re-calibrate the APC models.
- How big is the traditional APC market?
According to various industry researchers the worldwide Advanced Process Control (APC) Market is expected to grow to nearly $3.5B by 2030, growing at a CAGR of over 9 and a half percent per year.
- Who are the main companies in APC?
AspenTech and Emerson have about 30% of the market. ABB, AVEVA, GE, Andritz, Honeywell, Gensym and Rockwell are all key players with between 3-5% of the market.
- How is the Canvass AI software defined as an APC Solution?
ARC Advisory Group, research analysts specializing in the process industries describes APC as: “Advanced process control includes model-based software that is used to direct the process operation and is commonly referred to as multi-variable predictive control (MPC) or model predictive control” Canvass AI’s solutions have been used in various industries to achieve the same objectives as APC.
For example, Ingredion, a food ingredient manufacturing company uses the Canvass AI software to manage the energy set points for each of their steam production lines. This is a classic APC application. The same can be said about our solution at a Steel plant for production optimization, polymer melt point prediction and many other applications where the Canvass AI software predictions are used to control input or manipulated variables to meet production or quality set points.
- How does Canvass AI compare with other APC solutions in the industry?
Canvass AI solutions works with other technologies in a customer’s eco-system to maximize value for them from all of their investments. There are many ways Canvass AI solutions can complement and co-exist with APC implementations.
- Canvass AI solutions can be implemented as an overarching solution to orchestrate APC set points towards a global optimization economic function. Owing to the complexity of the APC solution, typically APC is limited to the scope of a unit, and a broader economic optimization would create new value for operations.
- Canvass AI can provide APC for lower priority units where APC is too expensive to be deployed. APC is typically only deployed on the most complex and high value units, but all units have potential for value creation through optimization that can be achieved with Canvass AI solutions.
- Canvass AI can replace APC in units where APC has been turned off for being out of calibration. Since APC models are expensive to maintain and re-calibrate, many units, with some estimates at 50% of all units, have APC turned off. These units are also potential targets for the Canvass AI Solution.
- What features of the Canvass AI software make it the best APC Solution in the industry?
Canvass AI solutions have many advantages for solving APC challenges. The Canvass AI software is much easier to train and deploy when compared to standard APC solutions. The software can incorporate a much larger process area and data sets that include variables that have material impact on set points but would otherwise be ignored in an APC model because of limitations with APC. For example, in the case of Ingredion, the Canvass AI solution includes ambient temperature as one of the key variables to predict steam and cooling demand, resulting in more accurate predictions.
When compared to other industrial AI solutions on the market, the Canvass AI software makes AI predictions understandable and interpretable to engineers by showing the contributing variables and their degrees of contribution towards the predicted value. This explainable AI contrasts with the black box nature of other industrial AI offerings, which is the biggest hurdle for AI adoption in APC applications. Canvass AI overcomes this hurdle by making it more accessible to APC engineers.
- Does Canvass AI have packaged APC solutions?
As outlined above, APC is a collection of techniques for the supervisory control of a process. Canvass AI solutions are a complete, modular package of technologies, features and workflows designed to solve a key challenge for the industry. Many Canvass AI solutions can be used for APC applications such as Soft Sensor, Quality Prediction Solution, Set Point Control, and more.
Well, that covers it. Have any more questions? Click to connect with one of our AI Experts.