Guest lecture: Dr Laurentz Olivier (SACAC)

On 20 September 2017, Dr Laurentz Olivier presented a guest lecture on behalf of the South African Council for Automation and Control (SACAC) to students from the Departments of Process, Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University. The lecture was titled “The interconnection between advanced control theory and practice”.

Dr Olivier discussed a range of topics, including the basic concepts behind model-based control, before showing the results of several implementations of advanced control on the Sasol Synfuels site in Secunda. He ended the lecture by discussion future challenges, such as the extension of individual model-predictive controllers across multiple plants and units, requiring a cascade-like control structure, and the parallels between this control approach and current developments in the “Internet of Things” field.

Finally, Dr Olivier gave a brief overview of SACAC’s activities, including Control Conference Africa, to be held in Johannesburg in December 2017, and encouraged the students to become involved in SACAC events. The lecture was a great success, and we wish to express our sincere appreciation to Dr Oliver for his time, as well as everyone who attended this event.

Dr Laurentz Olivier (left, Sasol Synfuels) was introduced by Dr John McCoy (right, Process Engineering Stellenbosch University) at the start of the lecture.