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Integrated Process Control

Specific challenge:Process control of the industrial operations has a major role in assuring high quality standards and optimal operations in terms of resource use and economic viability. Technological progresses in this area that could allow measuring properties of process streams and final products, accurately and in real-time could represent a major step forward towards more reliable and sustainable industrial operations. These real time process data (e.g. chemical composition or biological contamination data) could allow the implementation of “near real time” closed-loop process control concepts making it possible to operate industrial processes at their optimum both economically and ecologically while ensuring high level of safety.. To obtain real time process data, the development of reliable fast inline measurements will be fundamental. These measurements can easily be integrated into closed loop process control concepts, thus delivering the highest value and near real time process control for industrial operations and decision-making support tools, facilitated, for instance, by integrated databases covering measurements and computational data. The development of these new “near real time” integrated process control methods is particularly important considering the recently introduced intensified or modularised production concepts, e.g. presenting smaller continuously operated pieces of equipment or integration of process steps that pose new challenges for process analytics in terms of size and speed of analysis.


New technologies suitable for “near real time” integrated process control are expected to introduce significant novelties with respect to sensor technologies, data treatment and data mining, in particular:

-          Provision of dynamic information about product properties, stream characteristics and process conditions.

-          Provision of spatially resolved process data.

-          Data management for processes optimisation.

-          Sensors for intensified process technology.

-          Fast inline measurements (instead of extractive ones).

-          Robustness and reliability insuring minimum operation and maintenance costs.

Proposals submitted under this topic should address several aspects which are considered of major importance in this area; such as:

-          Cross-sectorial application of process analyser technology (PAT) and product measurement techniques (PPMT) in closed-loop process control capable of inline measurements.

-          Integration methodologies within a large number of production conditions.

-          Swarm sensors.

-          Development of new soft-sensors and sensing concepts and models for improved process control using PAT data for the measurement of properties and quality of process streams and final products.

-          Miniaturised PAT- and PPMT-based advanced control for intensified processes.

-          Disposable sensors in batch and in continuous processes.

-          Control strategies for flexible processes or disposable sensors using integrated and validated PAT data.

-          Process and Product life cycle management.

Proposals submitted under this topic are expected to demonstrate the proposed technologies and control systems in relevant industrial environments, to prove their technical feasibility and economic viability.

For this topic, proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation and business plans, which will be developed further in the proposal project.

Activities expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 3-5. A significant participation of SMEs with R&D capacities is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 3 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

                     Improved capabilities for valid, reliable and real-time measurement of the properties and quality of process streams and final products for existing and for more flexible process operation concepts.

                     More sustainable plant operations due to the extensive usage of all information available from validated PAT and PPMT measurements for model based control.

                     Improved monitoring and control of continuous plants.

                     Improved support of the operators leading to safer, more reliable and sustainable process operation improving process efficiency.

                     Better process operations with respect to resource and energy efficiency.

                     Significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.

                     Strengthening of the competiveness of the European industry both in the domain of PAT technologies and control solutions and with respect to economically sustainable industrial processes.

                     Retention and creation of jobs for the European measurement and automation and process industries.

Type of action: Research & Innovation Actions