Process Control Applications in Chemical Process Industries and Undergraduate Process Control Education in Malaysia: Practices, Challenges and Future Outlook
Operational excellence has become, more than ever, important to meet safety, economic and environmental targets in the process industries. Overall, operational excellence is a continuous pursuit to improve the processes and qualities of their associated products. As such, it leads to higher cost efficiency, better plant capacity and loss reduction as well as compliance with environmental and safety legislations. These targets can be simultaneously achieved by operating the processes in their stable and optimal states. Due to these reasons, industries have been implementing process control technologies and continuously innovating their applications. In Malaysia context, to drive the country towards a high-income nation, initiatives and efforts have been dedicated to spur the Malaysian high technology ecosystem including technology innovation and talent development for sustainable and successful process industries amidst challenges above. In this regard, process control innovations and their applications and education reform in process control are an integral part of the aforementioned efforts.
On 12th September 2017, members of Malaysia Process Control Community and representatives from industries gathered in a process control seminar held in Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS. This forum was intended to identify the missing links between academia and industry and discuss how those gaps can be addressed especially in two aspects: academia and industry collaborations in improving and innovating process control applications; and undergraduate process control education to satisfy the industrial expectations. To follow up these fruitful academia-industry discussions and to further capture the needs for process control technology innovations and industry driven-undergraduate process control course, industrial and academic surveys as follows will be carried out
- Current practice and challenges of applications of process control in Malaysian Process industries ranging from traditional industries (oil and gas refineries and petrochemical industries) to locally emerging industries such as palm oil mill, oleo-chemical, material processing, pharmaceutical industries, food processing and biotech industries
- Academic practice and industrial expectations of undergraduate process control education
The results and findings from the above surveys will be summarized as recommendations and future directions of process control research and education. It is therefore envisaged that those results and findings will bridge the gaps and minimize the mismatch between academia and industry on process control applications and education. These, directly or indirectly, are in-line with national agenda to innovate and modernize industrial technology and produce a pool of knowledgeable and skillful talents for future process control engineers. The duration of these survey projects will be from September 2017 to July 2018. Any new ideas/feedback and possible future collaborative projects are greatly welcome and appreciated.
Dr. Agus Saptoro
Department of Chemical Engineering, Curtin University Malaysia