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Metso receives patent for Automated Root Cause Analysis

The U.S. Patent office has issued a patent for Automated Determination of Root Cause to Metso Automation USA. 

The patent was developed by Metso's ExperTune team, and is used in their PlantTriage Control Loop Monitoring software.

The key to assessing a control loop is to locate the original root cause of upsets. The new patented method determines the most likely root cause using a "big data" technique and it eliminates several costly and time-consuming steps in the problem-solving process.

"Our clients see the benefits in energy savings, production increases, and quality improvements. With the proper training and methodology, a single engineer can perform like a large team of engineers," says George Buckbee, General Manager, Automation, and the inventor of record.

The new tools are available in the current release of Metso ExperTune PlantTriage software which is an integral part of Metso's Control Performance Business Solution.

The new automated method determines the most likely root cause using a "big data" technique. First, it gathers real-time data from hundreds or thousands of controllers. 

Then, it looks at correlations between controllers, and especially at the effect of time-shifting on correlations. Since root causes come usually appear as the first in a series of similar events, the software is able to identify the most likely root cause from this combination of correlation and time shift.

Because the new technology does not rely on process models, it is very adaptable, and can be applied across many various unit operations. This is especially important in complex process plants where interactions are complex, and accurate dynamic process models may not be available.

Results of the automated analysis are displayed in a Process Interaction Map. The Process Interaction Map shows the relationship graphically, using bands of colour to highlight the strongest correlations. For oscillatory interactions, the PlantTriage software also includes the Oscillation Details Problem-Solver.

The advantages of root cause analysis tools:

  • Locates the root cause of routine variation in a manufacturing process
  • Determines the root cause in quality upsets or alarms, as well as, the variation under normal conditions
  • The end-user needs no prior process knowledge: The cause can be determined without physical description of the process
  • Prioritises a list of likely root causes, displaying it in an easy-to-understand graphic

Metso ExperTune PlantTriage software is the foundation for Metso's Control Performance Business Solution. 

This customised service program pairs PlantTriage software with experienced control performance specialists, who collect and analyse real-time performance data, identify the root cause of underperforming loops, make and prioritise corrective action recommendations and report progress. 

These specialists are trained to recognise the economic value of control improvement so they can focus on the most important issues and report on their impact in business terms.

"By providing a global network of service experts and improved process control tools, such as Metso ExperTune PlantTriage, clients can expect results like sustainability and profitability," says John Cullen, Vice President Portfolio and Marketing, Automation Services.

Metso announced acquisition of U.S. the software company ExperTune beginning of 2013.

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