A New Hybrid Supervisory Control System for Cabinet-Type Firebox Furnaces

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IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering


cabinet-type firebox furnaces, Control systems, fault diagnosis methods, Furnaces, fuzzy inference system, Heating systems, Monitoring, Process control, Safety, Supervisory control system, Temperature sensors


In this paper, an intelligent hybrid Industrial Control System (ICS) and a Supervisory Control System (SCS) are proposed to improve the efficiency, safety, availability, and control capabilities of industrial furnaces. The main components of ICS are process control systems and advanced control systems that consist of overheating protection and load control. New soft sensors are designed as a combination of Laguerre filters and an artificial neural network to estimate the surface temperature of the furnace’s tubes, which allows the protection system to adjust fuel flow rate via overriding commands. Model-based fault detection systems are developed to detect faults in the combustion system and fouling in the furnace tubes and prepare features for the supervisory system. The supervisory control system is responsible for interfering between different components, evaluating the situation, and decision making based on the unit status and process conditions. An intuitionistic fuzzy inference system is employed as the core of the supervisory controller to tolerate disturbance and faults by switching the control modes. Test studies using experimental data of the furnace indicate the capability of the proposed monitoring and control system to operate in various loading situations and recover the system from abnormal conditions. Note to Practitioners—In petrochemical industries, several reports have been issued about the load reduction of fired-heater furnaces imposed by combustion system faults and emergency shutdowns to carry out un-planned repairs due to fouling and wax-formation in tubes. Different activities such as detecting abnormal conditions, identifying faults, and enforcing corrective action can be performed by operators through manual actions. This paper is focused on designing a new supervisory control system (SCS) to be able to recover the fired heater furnace from abnormal conditions and keep running the plant. The SCS evaluates the condition of the unit by acquiring information from main variables, sensors, actuators, operating status of components and utilities, and operator commands. By identifying the root cause of faults, SCS makes decision on recognizing hazard degree, raising alarms, and applying automatic corrective actions.