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Industrial Control Problems: The Other Classroom

We learn early in our careers that the field of control systems spans many disciplines, and has many facets. We learn it is a field where electrical, mechanical, aerospace, and chemical engineers befriend one another and embrace problems with common themes, using common tools. We learn it is also a field where theory meets practice in a substantial and meaningful way. But what we do not typically learn in the classroom is how to make the leap from our homework, textbooks, and theses projects to the industrial setting to solve real world problems. The classroom environment does not always teach us how to make the connection between the various disciplines of engineering under the umbrella of control science. This talk relates a personal journey (with student accompaniment) through a variety of control problems important to industry, focusing on four particularly interdisciplinary problems: moisture control in a paper machine, temperature control in a glass furnace, fillet weld control in a manufacturing environment, and model-based control for internal combustion automotive engines. The underlying theme highlighted from these industrial control problems will be the need for attention paid to “non traditional” concepts which typically allude our classroom setting for control systems education, such as a company’s need for “high tech” solution (even if the application is “low tech”), the necessity of interfacing with experienced plant operators (often in harsh environments), difficulties in sensing, actuation, and modeling, and the importance of cost effectiveness in solutions. What this talk will not be is another oration referring to the disconnect between the traditional academic “theorem-proof” environment and realistic problems in industry; in fact, control engineers of all shapes and sizes have come a great distance along these lines in the past 10-15 years. Rather, it is a talk to revel in the progress control engineers, as a community, have made toward solving real-world control problems, and toward educating our students through involvement in practice-oriented research.

Type of Seminar:
Public Seminar
Professor Stephen Yurkovich
Center for Automotive Research, Ohio State University, Columbus
Aug 12, 2005   17:15

ETH Zentrum, Gloriastrasse 35, Building ETZ, Room E6
Contact Person:

Prof. L. Guzzella
No downloadable files available.
Biographical Sketch:
Stephen Yurkovich holds the rank of Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Ohio State University, and is a Fellow of the IEEE. He is Director of the Honda Partnership Program at Ohio State, a program with endowments totaling more than US$14M. He has held numerous leadership positions within the IEEE Control Systems Society, including many in conference organization, culminating with a term as President in 1999, and was Editor-in-chief of IEEE Control Systems 1993-1998. In 2000 he received the IEEE Control Systems Society Distinguished Member Award, and also that year was a recipient of an IEEE Millennium Medal. Professor Yurkovich’s research has focused on the theory and applications of control technology, in the areas of system identification and parameter set estimation for control, in application areas including flexible mechanical structures, industrial control systems, and automotive systems. He has been an author on more than 150 technical publications in journals, edited volumes, and conference proceedings. He has authored and co-authored the books Control Laboratory (1992, Kendall/Hunt), Fuzzy Control (1998, Addison-Wesley-Longman), Control Systems Laboratory (Simon & Schuester, 1998), and Control Systems Technology Lab (Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2003). Professor Yurkovich has been very active in the educational activities of the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State, through the development of graduate programs in automotive systems and continuing education for control engineers in the automotive industry.