Process Control Consultant

Jacques F. Smuts, Ph.D., P.E.


Founder and Principal Consultant, OptiControls Inc.



Jacques began his career in the power industry in 1990 after graduating as a mechanical engineer from the University of Johannesburg. He soon changed career paths from mechanical to process control engineering to match his interests. While working full time, he continued his education part time and completed his master’s and doctorate degrees in engineering, focusing on process control. He was contracted by IDC Technologies in Australia as a part-time senior instructor, and used his vacation time to present process control training courses to engineers and technicians in South Africa, Canada, and England.


At the end of 1997 Jacques and his family moved to Toronto, Canada where he cofounded ControlServe Ltd., a company that specialized in control loop optimization services and software. There he provided loop optimization and training services to clients in several process industries in Canada and the United States. He also developed, marketed, and delivered a two-day process control training course and developed the TuneWizard control loop diagnostics and tuning software package.


In 2001 Jacques and his family moved to the United States when PAS, Inc. (Houston, TX) acquired TuneWizard and the process control training course from ControlServe and hired Jacques as the director of their process control business unit. At PAS Jacques developed the ControlWizard control loop performance assessment software package, which became one of the top three software packages in its class. He also provided process control consulting and training services to customers. Jacques held several positions at PAS, including Vice President of Technology and Chief Technical Officer.


In Dec. 2009 Jacques founded OptiControls Inc (League City, TX), a process control consulting company that provides process control consulting and training services. He serves customers in the United States and abroad. He regularly publishes technical papers and speaks at conferences. He writes technical articles on process control and loop optimization on a monthly basis and publishes them online at Jacques is also the author of the book Process Control for Practitioners.


Jacques has dedicated his career to improving process control through services, training and software. He is an authority on process control, controller tuning, and control loop performance monitoring. His process experience spans a broad range of industries including power generation, refining, chemicals, oil & gas, food & beverage, pulp & paper, steel, and mineral processing. He has delivered process control training workshops in Australia, Canada, England, Singapore, South Africa, and the United States. He is a senior member of ISA and a licensed Professional Engineer. He is also an avid long-distance runner and has completed 16 marathons and 3 ultra-marathons.



"My company has used Jacques Smuts’ services on several occasions. Initially it was to address a specific problem we had with dryer controls, but we later got him back in to do a process-wide optimization of our controls. Jacques’ approach is methodical, efficient, and effective. As a result of the work he did at our facility, we are able to start up our distillation process faster and more reliably after our weekly cleaning cycles , which adds a valuable few percent to our annual production. We also have fewer problems during production and have virtually eliminated controls-related unplanned process shutdowns. I will recommend Jacques to anyone who wants to optimize their process controls."


Alan Obma


"I had the pleasure of working with Jacques in the past on a loop tuning project. Jacques was very professional, extremely well organized and quickly grasped the technical details of the problems at hand. His expertise in loop tuning and use of the tools employed was outstanding. He asked for and listened to the details of the specific loops involved and he took the time to explain to me his concerns about specific control loops as well as the recommended changes being considered for each of the individual loops. I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent working together on that project and would have no hesitation working with Jacques again in the future, should the situation come about."


Angelo Accardo
Instrumentation & Control Systems Engineer at a global oil production company.


"Jacques Smuts provided the Huntsman engineers with training in using ControlWizard and TuneWizard software for monitoring and tuning control loops in the Freeport plant. Jacques’ in-depth knowledge in field of process control was evident in his presentations. We all profited from the 3-day training conducted by him."


Ashok Dasgupta, P.E.
Principal Engineer


I had the distinct pleasure of working with Dr. Jacques Smuts for over eight years. He is the consummate process control engineer with a unique ability to develop cool software. Jacques’ educational background and years of extensive in-plant experience uniquely qualify him to provide the most suitable solutions for optimizing the performance of unit regulatory controls. His approach to problem solving is intelligent, yet practical. He is articulate and has the ability to break down and simplify the most complex technical concepts. Power and processing companies could not find a more capable and reliable person to help them improve their plant’s performance.”


Eddie Habibi
Founder & CEO , PAS




I worked closely with Jacques for several years and found him to be an expert-level process control practitioner. In addition to doing hands-on design and optimization, he developed control loop diagnostics and tuning software (TuneWizard) and has conducted extensive process control training seminars throughout North America to groups of various skill levels and in diverse industry sectors. Jacques has solved numerous technical problems, many of them on applications where other experts gave up.”


Larry McGee
Sales Manager, ControlServe


"I first met Jacques more than 10 years ago, and was looking for a simple solution for tuning loops. 'Why can’t all PLC’s and controllers have an auto tune feature?' I remember asking, 'Something that I connect up, push a couple of buttons, and poof it’s done.' Jacques patiently explained the capabilities and limitations of most auto tune systems, and taught me to first try and understand the process that we were trying to control, and the capability of the devices installed. In a matter of minutes, he was able to uncover some inherent flaws in our process, most were sizing and maintenance related. We repaired our deficiencies, and had Jacques return and optimize the controller parameters. This significantly improved system performance, while reducing variation in our process flows.


From a plant operation stand point, one is always looking for key resources to assist with understanding problems, and providing insight and guidance for solutions. Jacques has the unique ability to walk into a facility, dissect the existing process loops, and provide specific direction to make improvements."

Craig Heffernan
Electrical Team Lead at a worldwide manufacturer of confectionery and other food products.























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