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Excel Engineering Newsletter

July 2016

Excel Engineering 2017 Technical Conference

Our 12th annual Technical Conference will be held on Thursday, February 9th, 2017 at the Shoreview Community Center in Shoreview, MN.

Invitations will be sent out via email in mid-December 2016. If you are interested in speaking, have topic suggestions or would like to be added to the invitation list, please contact Krista Nielsen at

Back to Basics: Modeling and Scaling Feedforwards

By Wayne Salo

Depending on the complexity and precision requirements of the process, the resulting control arrangement can range from simple “Process Value > Controller > Manipulated Variable control” to a feedforward or cascade control. In this paper I will discuss the considerations when to utilize feedforwards, cascades and the scaling associated with these control additions.

The areas that will be covered are:

• Why use feed forwards and when feed forwards are useful.
• Simple modeling of feed forwards
• Creating feed forwards from historical data
• More complex modeling of feed forwards
• Advanced modeling
• Cascade Control

1 Simple and Feedforward Control arrangement decisions

1.1 Selection of Simple Control Arrangement
1.1.1 Simple Signal Analysis

For those individuals that analyze control systems in a mathematical fashion, a simple, generic, process diagram reflecting a typical process is shown below.


Figure 1 Modeling and Scaling of Feed Forwards


Figure 1 – Typical Simple Physical Process

This process diagram above indicates a source for the process, a manipulated variable that controls the flow of mass, energy or chemical balance into the system, a process that modifies the source and a measurement of the results requiring control. It should also be noted that there are potential disturbances to the process.

Click here to download the complete document. You do not need to sign in to download this .pdf document.

Please contact Krista Nielsen at with questions.

Visit the White Papers page of our website for this article, as well as other content provided by our associates at

Employee Anniversaries

We would like to congratulate the following employees on recent anniversaries with Excel Engineering. We appreciate your commitment to Excel!

25 Years

Brent Adams

Gary Niedermann

 10 Years

Charles Amann

Dick Ernst

Jay Jensen

Steve Malek

LaShel Marvig

Mike Nye

5 Years

Candy Dickhudt

Fuzzy Furlong

Dave Hageman

Mike Zdenek


New Employees

We are pleased to announce the addition of several new employees to the Excel organization.



James Moua joined Excel Engineering in January 2016 with five years of experience in electrical design. James has a degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology from Hennepin Technical College. He is using his education and experience in his current role as an electrical designer performing design and modifications for electrical control panel schematics and layouts.

Controls & Automation


Eric Swanberg joins the process controls group as a controls engineer with process and automation experience in the pharmaceutical and nutritional industries. He worked in process operations of clinical drug production for Johnson & Johnson and has performed process commissioning work for a large-scale buffer formulation system at Merck (both in the Philadelphia area), and most recently has worked for a control system integrator in the Cleveland metro area where he has experience with Rockwell RSLogix500/5000, FTBatch, FTView, and various historians and MES platforms. Eric attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, graduating with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.

Corporate Administration


Tony McGinnity has over 25 years of accounting experience in both the manufacturing and retail / wholesale industries. Prior to joining Excel Engineering in June 2016, Tony was the controller of AIS – All Integrated Solutions in New Brighton. Tony’s broad experience covers everything from purchasing/sourcing to financial statement preparation. Having worked for many smaller companies, he has worn many hats in his previous positions.

Tony received his undergraduate degree from The University of Saint Thomas and an MBA from The Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Tony has spent his entire life in Minnesota, growing up in Roseville and currently living in Arden Hills. Tony is married to Alison and they have a son, daughter and two Labrador retrievers. Tony enjoys the outdoors, hiking, biking, hunting and tapping maple trees in the spring.

Industrial Client Services

 Lisa Coyle – Engineering Administrator

Marina Kaplun – Engineer/Chemist

Robert Irvine – Process Safety and Mechanical Integrity Consulting Engineer

Alissa Vander Vorst – Engineering Coordinator

Lyle Gave – Principal Electrical Owner’s Rep


John Davis retired from 3M Company with 27 years in Plant Engineering, and having worked in manufacturing machine maintenance and repair for over 35 years.  He is a multi-craft technician whose duties included troubleshooting, preventive and predictive maintenance, repair, modification, and upgrades of plant equipment.  Some of the products that John has worked in the manufacture of include cosmetics, cleaning solutions, frozen food products, X-ray and graphic arts films, fiber optic products, and various electrical connectors.

Utility Client Services

Ray Gagnon – Utilities Construction and Operations Rep