The research at the Centre for Advanced Control and Process Monitoring of INTEC (CONICET-UNL) focuses on the development and application of advances control techniques, known as Model Predictive Control (MPC) to industrial processes of interest. In large scale industries, the great number of units involved in the process, jointly with the requirement of an efficient performance, makes the use of multivariable control techniques, like MPC, very common. However, the controllers actually used are still versions of the earlier formulation of MPC, and do not take into account the theoretical advances achieved by the academic.
In the last years, MPC formulation achieved a huge theoretic progress, particularly concerning with stability guarantee, the managing of constraints, robustness and the incorporation of economic objective into the control problem. In some cases (as the one of the Brazilian company PETROBRAS), these advanced formulations have been already applied to real plants. However, it is still necessary to realize some modification to the theoretic formulation, in order to apply them to real plants, taking into account each specific control problem.
For these reasons, the aim of our control group is to study and develop advanced control strategies (mainly MPC), that considers additional objectives to the standard dynamic control objectives. These additional objectives include economic objectives, monitoring and supervision of the process, and other technical aspects like feasibility for changing operation points, stationary optimality, low computational costs, etc.