The following is a very important first statement before any discussion about control hardware: "The type of hardware used in optimization is less important than the understanding of the process and of the control concepts that are to be implemented." [1: pp 42l

The main goal should be to become clear about the process fundamentals and what should happen—then the parts and pieces are just details. This discussion of different available hardware types is a familiar but sometimes laborious and dull part of any controls text. Remember that Automatic Controls are really nothing more than machines that do for us what we would do ourselves if we had nothing better to do; they do work for us like any other tool, and are only as clever as the people who craft them.

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