Allan Kern has 40+ years of industrial process automation experience, primarily in the role of end-user. He has authored dozens of technical articles, editorials and presentations outlining more practical, cost-effective, reliable and sustainable advanced process control solutions.
Mr. Kern is the inventor of patented Rate-Predictive Control (RPC), industry's only inherently adaptive process control algorithm, and XMCO, industry's only model-less method of multivariable control & optimization.
Mr. Kern retired in 2008 as Automation Group Leader from Saudi Aramco’s flagship Ras Tanura Refinery, located in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia. In 2012 he founded APC Performance LLC, in order to pursue development of RPC and XMCO and advocate a more practical and effecitve approach to APC in the process industries.
Mr. Kern is a Professional Engineer in Chemical Engineering and Control Systems Engineering, a Senior Member of ISA, and a graduate of the University of Wyoming.
APC Performance's vision of process control is characterized by a high level of base-layer competency and a high level of participation in operations support, with process control playing a key role in continuous operational improvement. Base-layer competency means a high skill level regarding DCS, SIS and field instrument capabilities, a knowledge of their respective roles and the role of APC, and robust agile work processes to implement base-layer changes, repairs and improvements.
A high level of participation means ongoing teamwork with production engineers and operations personnel to solve both day-to-day and long-term operational pain points. We believe this vision represents the most effective strategy to leverage modern process control and automation technology into process performance, optimization, reliability and safety gains.
APC Performance believes some of the largest gains and “lowest hanging fruit” have so far been overlooked and remain to be captured. This approach invests in local human resources and intelligent control system content, rather than outside consultants, to implement control system based solutions and improvements. There are few direct costs, but many substantial direct benefits in this strategy.
This vision is at once a return to process control fundamentals, a fuller embrace of modern process control and automation system capabilities, and an industry course correction after several decades of over-emphasis on APC 1.0, which has proven to be highly problematic for many reasons.
The APC Performance vision contrasts with many current process control paradigms. Focus is on existing in-house resources and teamwork, rather than 3rd party consultants. High-performance base-layer solutions take precedence over high-level solutions. And focus is on continuous operations support and improvement, rather than a 1-2 year APC 1.0 project life-cycle.
Our mission is to move industry towards this vision; increase understanding of the essential work processes, skill sets and paradigms; and assist clients in making this vision become a reality.