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PlantTriage Problem Solvers

Problem solvers make finding and solving problems, easy. Here are some of the problem solvers:

Job-Specific Problem Solvers

With User Roles, only those problem solvers that users need will be visible to them.


Problem-Solvers for Maintenance


New plant Start-Up


Bottom-Line Benefits


Enterprise-Wide Improvements

Diagnostics & Recommendations

One of the key tenets of PlantTriage is that the information you get is actionable. Each Problem Solver report contains diagnostics and recommendations for action.

Problem Solvers Get You Fast Results

PlantTriage Problem Solvers are designed to solve a specific control or process problem. They range from high-level overviews of control performance down to specific analysis of control valve problems.

Biggest Payback Loops—Problem Solver

Displays the Top 10 Payback Loops

With the Biggest Payback Loops, PlantTriage looks at your entire plant, and prioritizes all of the control loop problems. The top 10 loops are shown in a web browser interface. Loop ranking includes economic significance, so if 2 loops with different economic importance have the same health, the one worth more bubbles to the top. They can also be scheduled to be emailed daily, weekly, or monthly, so you get the information you need, when you need it.

Like everything else in PlantTriage, the Biggest Payback Loops is being updated all the time. When equipment starts to fail, you can be notified right away.

"I have a PlantTriage report that I check every morning. Overnight, PlantTriage said there was a problem with a repulper valve. Within an hour, there was a sheet break, and the repulper valve stuck fully open, causing a machine shut down. PlantTriage saw that problem before the operators did."
—Maintenance Engineer on a Paper machine

Loop Diagnosis—Problem Solver

Simple Loop Diagnosis

PlantTriage automatically diagnoses every control loop in your plant, and provides a text diagnosis. Example diagnostics include:

  • Flat-lining
  • Sensor Failed or Huge Span
  • Excessive Noise
  • Excess Valve Travel
  • Oscillation—Tuning
  • Unable to hold set point
  • Ineffective Derivative

You will save time and effort by knowing exactly where to look, and exactly what to look for.

Greg Shinskey Advice—Problem Solver

F. Greg Shinskey is one of the most respected names in the field of process control, with over 50 years of practical experience. Working with ExperTune, Greg has developed an expert system to provide detailed, specific advice and expert analysis. Using real-time data from PlantTriage, this expert system identifies many common process control issues, and suggests techniques to resolve them.

Shinskey Report

The Greg Shinskey Advice Problem-Solver summarizes Greg Shinskey's analysis of that loop. The simple and full ExperTune diagnosis is also shown for comparison. Simply click on the menu to drill-down on this report to get detailed analysis and specific recommendations.

Shinskey Dasboard

Build Expertise

It takes many years of trouble-shooting and analysis of control loop problems to develop a sense of where a root cause for a particular problem lies. It is a rare facility where technical staff has the time to perform this analysis and develop this understanding. These diagnostics can speed up that real world understanding of issues for less experienced staff.

With Greg Shinskey's advice, your expertise will grow quickly. Imagine the benefits of having a world-class process control expert in your plant. Mr. Shinskey's 50 years of expertise are being applied directly to data from your plant.

Customize the Analysis

These tools also allow you to challenge the assumptions used in Mr. Shinskey's analysis. With a point-and-click approach, you can make changes to the assumptions in the analysis, and see how it affects your particular situation.

Supports More Context-Sensitive Drill-Down

Just like all other dashboards in PlantTriage, the Shinskey Advice dashboards are fully integrated with the powerful browser-based, context-sensitive drill-down features of PlantTriage. Just point-and-click to uncover more and more relevant information.

More Info

For more information on Greg Shinskey's Advice, Click Here.

Oscillation Details—Problem Solver

This report finds the source of the oscillation—the bad actor. It shows which loops are oscillating together. Several loops with common oscillation periods are likely interacting with each other.

To find the source of the oscillation:

  1. Locate a loop that is oscillating
  2. Look at the loops near this one on the list (the list is sorted, so will be close together)
  3. The loop or loops upstream are potential causes. (note: watch for recycle streams)
  4. Make sure to look for loops at each of the 3 oscillation periods
  5. The loop with a large value in the "Osc—Valve" column (oscillating because of a valve) is a primary suspect

More information on Oscillation Detection

White Paper: "How to Read Sine Language"

Valve Damage—Tuning, Problem Solver

Many signs of valve failure are apparent far in advance. PlantTriage lets you implement valve predictive Maintenance. The software automatically uncovers valves that are likely to experience problems due to excessive over-use. PlantTriage also recognizes the beginning signs of valve problems, long before a failure occurs. PlantTriage is scanning all the loops, all the time looking for problems.

Problem-Solver Valve Damage-Tuning

Preventing a problem is worth much more than fixing a problem. Move toward prevention with PlantTriage.

The valves listed in this report are likely to be suffering damage due to incorrect controller tuning.

Corrective action:

  • Tune the loop with included tuning tools.
  • Reduce or eliminate derivative action.
  • Apply a filter to the Process Variable (use tuning tools to find the best filter).
  • Identify & remove other sources of variation.

When a valve travels more than 3000%/day, this is usually an indication of poor tuning.

PlantTriage calculates exactly how much your control valves are moving in a day. Valves that move excessively due to poor tuning are more likely to require repairs. PlantTriage helps you avoid downtime by reducing valve wear. Applying PlantTriage tools will typically result in a 2 to 6 times reduction in valve travel.

In an on-site training class, a controls engineer learned how to use the "Valves Damage—Tuning" Problem-Solver. After opening the report for her plant she said:
"The valve at the top of this list has been replaced twice in the past six months. No wonder! It's a tuning problem."

Tuning AMCT Opportunities—Problem Solver

Everybody started out using the trial-and-error method of controller tuning. Then there were mathematical methods that took twice as long to accomplish. Now, with the power of modern computing tools, you can tune loops faster than ever before. ExperTune's Advanced PID Optimizer does all the heavy lifting, and you get results—Fast. PlantTriage AMCT technology continually scans all your loops, looking for opportunities to optimize and tune them.

Models captured by AMCT

When you tune a control loop, you want to be sure of the settings before you download them to the controller. PlantTriage includes simulation of both Setpoint changes and Load/disturbance changes. You can compare the "before" and "after" tuning before you try it on the live system.

The loops in this report have been pre-screened for you. PlantTriage has captured a model, qualified that model, and then compared existing tuning against PlantTriage's recommended tuning. Only loops with significant improvement opportunity are shown in this report.

PlantTriage automatically gathers data, identifies process models, completes assessments, and notifies you of the results. It does all of this during normal process operation, without any interventions or process bumping required from you. The results can be delivered to you as an email, or displayed in your user-customized web browser interface.

Learn more about AMCT

Video Shows How to Tune a Loop in 60 Seconds

Cascade Performance—Problem Solver

This report shows control loop cascade connections. Both Primary and Secondary loops are shown. The problem solver highlights control performance issues:

  • Open Cascades
  • Low Service Factor
  • High Number of Mode Changes
  • Loops That Interact (Fight) with Each Other

Keep a close watch on all the cascade loops in your plant, and quickly resolve the issues, using this problem-solver.

Health—Problem Solvers

Each component of the control loop; sensor, controller, and valve have assessments that supply information about performance for that part of the system.

Controller Health

Identify specific controller performance issues, and be able to quantify exactly which controllers have the biggest issues. The Controller Health Problem-Solver summarizes and prioritizes controller issues, then provides detailed back-up information, so that you can resolve the problems directly.

Controller Health

Sensor Health

The Sensor Health Problem-Solver looks at all aspects of instrument/sensor performance. This is very important, because it can be difficult to identify sensor issues on a modern DCS. This problem-solver immediately identifies the top issues. Now you can quickly prioritize among instrument issues. Solving instrument issues can also have a significant impact on stabilizing process operations.

Sensor Health

Valve Health

The control valve is the work horse of the process control field. The Valve Health Problem-Solver quickly identifies valve issues, and points you toward a solution. Many PlantTriage users report that they are reducing their valve maintenance costs by using PlantTriage to provide specific diagnostics of valve issues. Find out how much you can save by contacting ExperTune:

Telephone: +1 (262) 369 7711
FAX: +1 (262) 369 7722

Valve Health

Valves—Stiction, Problem Solver

"Stiction" is a combination of the words "Stick" and "Friction". A sticky valve creates control problems. The controller will force the valve to continuously cycle, as it tries to find the best position for control.

The Valves—Stiction Problem-Solver pinpoints those control valves that are exhibiting signs of significant stiction.

Valve Stiction

Clear Advice

There are several likely causes of stiction. The problem-solver report includes some specific advice to help pinpoint the actual cause of the stiction.

Stop the Problem Before it Gets Worse

A sticky, cycling valve creates more wear-and-tear on the valve and on the process. As the valve wears, it creates bigger cycles, larger process upsets, and even more valve wear. The Problem Solver measures each of these effects, and includes this information in the report.

Better Planned Maintenance

When you know exactly what to look for, you can execute valve maintenance more quickly, in a much better-planned fashion. Resolving these problems in a planned fashion, before it fails, results in significant savings, improved reliability, and less unplanned downtime.

Click here for more information on Stiction.

Valves-Oversized—Problem Solver

Oversized Valves Create Process and Control Problems

Over-sized valves create a number of problems: It is difficult to maintain tight control, and any valve problems are amplified. This problem solver lists valves that are likely to be oversized.

Corrective Actions to consider:

  • Replace with a smaller valve
  • Reduce upstream pump impeller size

Quickly find a complete list of all the oversized valves in your plant with this problem-solver.

Valves-Undersized—Problem Solver

The valves listed in this report are likely under-sized. Under-sized valves tend to run full open, and generally do not add a lot of value to the plant. If the process gain is less than 0.3, this is another sign the valve is too small. Corrective actions to consider:

  • Replace valve with larger valve
  • Replace trim with larger size
  • Remove valve from service
  • Reduce pump speed or impeller size

Opportunity Gap—Problem Solver

Trend of Opportunity Gap Problem Solver

With some loops the closer you can control the PV to the spec limit, without going over it, the more profitable you will be. The Opportunity Gap gives a measure of the opportunity of moving the setpoint closer to the specification limit. Also, the Real Time Savings Advisor provides a monetary value for the process improvement.

This problem solver report shows those loops that are most likely to generate additional value through a setpoint adjustment.

For example, you need to add an expensive ingredient called MTBE to a gasoline so that the final concentration of MTBE is 2%. Adding more than 2% MTBE is giving it away.

But you need to add enough MTBE to reach 2%. So, typically you would have a set point of slightly higher than 2% MTBE. The better the control and lower the IAE, the closer to 2% you are able to set your loop and the less MTBE you will use.

PV Filter Analysis—Problem Solver

This report shows points where the filter is large enough to possibly degrade control. Too large a filter will cause controller performance problems—the controller ends up controlling largely the filter instead of the process. Use the filtering tools to find the largest filter to use without degrading performance.

Video: How Filtering Can Help (or Hurt) Your Process

Sensors-Problems—Problem Solver

Reports Give Detailed Advice

Sensors and instruments give early warning signs of failure. PlantTriage is continually monitoring sensors for these early warning signs. Control Loops that PlantTriage lists in this report are likely to have one of these issues:

  • damaged sensor
  • lost signal
  • transmitter electronics failure
  • sensor in a poor placement
  • faulty wiring

PlantTriage notifies you of these issues before they become problems.

Quality Report—Problem Solver

The quality report provides information on unit product quality performance. Loops that have been configured with 6 sigma parameters will show up in the table. Drill down from the unit operation to identify loops that are having trouble meeting specifications.

Possible causes and solutions are also given in the report. For a unit operation, the report lists:

  • Time off spec
  • Minimum quality
  • Average quality
  • Maximum quality

Operations Summary—Problem Solver

Operational metrics such as time in normal, time off specifications, process capability index, variability, and absolute error can be viewed on a unit roll-up basis. Identify where to target resources to improve performance.

Operation Summary

Service Factor—Problem Solver

Trend of Service Factor Problem Solver

The Service Factor Problem Solver shows List of control loops that are not being used to their full potential. To have Service factor of 100, loop must have a good sensor reading, loop must be in a normal mode, and control valve must not be limited. Corrective actions to consider:

  • If Low Availability—investigate sensor & communications
  • If Not in Normal—discuss with operations
  • If Valve at limit—consider valve or pump size.
  • If Sensor at Limit—troubleshoot, or consider re-ranging.

Process Constraints—Problem Solver

Process constraints limit production, and limit your ability to effectively control the plant. This Problem Solver Report summarizes some constraints in your plant. It also gives suggested corrective action to specific problems.

Process Constraints Problem Solver

MPC—Problem Solvers

Make sure that your MPC controllers are performing well, using the MPC problem-solvers. MPC controllers can be expensive to maintain. Make sure that your in-plant experts have all the information they need to keep your plant running at its optimum.

MPC Model Accuracy Decay

This report shows the CV prediction errors for any MPC controller with high overall prediction errors. Use the trend information to identify which CVs are contributing to error. Trends also show if this was gradual problem or sudden event.

MPC Controller Performance

Ensure that your MPC controllers are all performing at their best. More importantly, get notified immediately when the control starts to have problems. You can be notified immediately by email or text message.

ExperTune Benchmark Data

Problem Solver—ExperTune Benchmark Data

This report can be sent to ExperTune Inc periodically for performance improvement tracking. There is no charge for this service.

  • Use the Export to Excel button.
  • Email the spreadsheet to

From this data, ExperTune can summarize your plant results in a standard form for comparison over time. Your data will be kept in strict confidence, according to ExperTune's privacy policy (

Administrative—Problem Solvers

Helps administrators easily see the status and maintain PlantTriage:

  • Threshold outliers
  • Key Baselines
  • Off Scan Report
  • System Health
  • Network Health

Get a Demonstration of PlantTriage

There is so much to see in PlantTriage. Get a private guided tour. Demo can be accomplished over the web, and takes about 1 hour.

Request a demonstration on-line or Contact ExperTune at +1 (262) 369 7711.


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