SACAC hosts a monthly Guest Lecture specifically to expose undergraduate and postgraduate students to real-world control and automation problems and solutions. All members of SACAC are welcome to attend these online/hybrid events.


“All models are wrong but some are useful – Model Predictive Control (MPC) in Industry”

by Dr Kevin Brooks

Founder and Director of APC SMART

1 July 2022, 13:00 – 14:00

More information on this event


The talk will cover:

  • An introduction to Model Predictive Control (MPC) using a shower as a simple example.
  • The economic benefits of MPC – why we do it
  • Model Representations and Identification, linear versus nonlinear, rigorous versus empirical
  • Use of models for estimation and prediction
  • Control and Optimisation Algorithm – the receding horizon
  • Linear Program (LP) Optimisation
  • Case Study – Autogenous Mill
  • Homework problem


Kevin obtained his PhD from the Chemical Engineering department at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and was a member of staff for a number of years. He was honoured to be invited back in 2019 as an adjunct visiting professor.

On leaving academia, he became involved in steady-state modelling and design for chemical processes. He joined Honeywell Hi-Spec Solutions in 1995, where he was involved in dynamic modelling for operator training simulators.  He moved to advanced process control (APC) and optimisation and was subsequently appointed Engineering Leader for Advanced Process Control.  He led projects in both South Africa and Europe, in particular Eastern Europe.  In 2007 Kevin joined BluESP, the Aspentech distributor for South Africa, as a principal consultant and later chief engineer.  In this capacity, he has performed projects in ethylene, fuel gas network optimization and novel applications in the mining industry.  He moved to Hatch, a large EPC, as Global APC Lead, in 2020 where he did the groundwork to set up APC as a differentiated service offering for the company.

Kevin was elected president of the South African Council for Automation and Control (SACAC) in January 2013, and held this position for two years, a period which included the hosting of the very successful IFAC World Congress in Cape Town. He has been on the Exco of SACAC since 2007 and was the chair of the National Organising Committee for the International Federation of Automatic Control sponsored Control Conference Africa 2021, run by SACAC.


APC SMART was established by Dr Kevin Brooks to bring his 25 years of experience in the Advanced Process Control (APC) field to market. With his consultancy, Kevin aims to promote the use of well-established tools, bring measurable benefits to his clients and help mentor those who would like to get into this exciting industry.


The guest lecture will take place online on 1 July 2022, 13:00 – 14:00. Join the lecture through the link below.

Meeting ID: 2379 469 4434

Password: SACAC2022

This event is free of charge. No registration required.



Feel free to mark the following dates on your calendar. All lectures will be between 13:00–14:00, unless explicitly indicated otherwise.

29 July:

Practical Implementation Guidelines for a Process Control System

Ricardo Paddy (Scibotron)

A lecture designed to give an overview of the control system design process.  It will cover topics that give insight into the requirements, objectives and outputs of control system design as implemented in industry, touching on the interfaces that the control engineer has with various disciplines and framing the project lifecycle of a production plant from concept to operation.

26 August:

Data in the Noise: The Challenges of Remote Control Performance Monitoring

Zander Horn (Stone Three)

This talk will give an overview of what the future might look like in monitoring multiple sites at multiple levels, from base layer control to APC. It will consider what metrics to look at with a snapshot of where we are right now. The talk will look at some of the techniques that are applied, including Machine Learning methods such as oscillation detection. The move from nice toy problem data to the sea of real data from modern processes is often a big shock for new graduates, and the talk will highlight some of the common pitfalls.

30 September:

To be confirmed

28 October:

From Engineering Principles to Real-World Benefits

Laurentz Olivier (Analyte Control)

The presentation will focus on how sound engineering theory is incorporated into design and translated into real-world benefits. The focus will be on case-studies where proper design led to demonstrable impact. The solutions to problems encountered on regulatory and advanced controllers have in many cases been well analysed. I.e., sound theoretical principles characterise these problems and therefore the solutions. Engineers are employed to solve problems, and in many cases the application of sound engineering principles lead to direct real-world benefits.