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Modes of control
An automatic temperature control might consist of a valve, actuator, controller and sensor detecting the space temperature in a room. The control system is said to be 'in balance' when the space temperature sensor does not register more or less temperature than that required by the control system. What happens to the control valve when the space sensor registers a change in temperature (a temperature deviation) depends on the type of control system used. The relationship between the movement of the valve and the change of temperature in the controlled medium is known as the mode of control or control action. There are two basic modes of control:

On/Off - The valve is either fully open or fully closed, with no intermediate state. Continuous - The valve can move between fully open or fully closed, or be held at any intermediate position.

Variations of both these modes exist, which will now be examined in greater detail. Top

On/off control
Occasionally known as two-step or two-position control, this is the most basic control mode. Considering the tank of water shown in Figure 5.2.1, the objective is to heat the water in the tank using the energy given off a simple steam coil. In the flow pipe to the coil, a two port valve and actuator is fitted, complete with a thermostat, placed in the water in the tank.

Fig. 5.2.1 On/off temperature control of water in a tank The thermostat is set to 60C, which is the required temperature of the water in the tank. Logic dictates that if the switching point were actually at 60C the system would never operate properly, because the valve would not know whether to be open or closed at 60C. From then on it could open and shut rapidly, causing wear. For this reason, the thermostat would have an upper and lower switching point. This is essential to prevent over-rapid cycling. In this case the upper switching point might be 61C (the point at which the thermostat tells the valve to shut) and the lower switching point might be 59C (the point when the valve is told to open). Thus there is an in-built switching difference in the thermostat of 1C about the 60C set point. This 2C (1C) is known as the switching differential. (This will vary between thermostats). A diagram of the switching action of the thermostat would look like the graph shown in Figure 5.2.2. The temperature of the tank contents will fall to 59C before the valve is asked to open and will rise to 61C before the valve is instructed to close.

Fig. 5.2.2 On/off switching action of the thermostat Figure 5.2.2 shows straight switching lines but the effect on heat transfer from coil to water will not be immediate. It will take time for the steam in the coil to affect the temperature of the water in the tank. Not only that, but the water in the tank will rise above the 61C upper limit and fall below the 59C lower limit. This can be explained by cross referencing Figures 5.2.2 and 5.2.3. First however it is necessary to describe what is happening. At point A (59C, Figure 5.2.3) the thermostat switches on, directing the valve wide open. It takes time for the transfer of heat from the coil to affect the water temperature, as shown by the graph of the water temperature in Figure 5.2.3. At point B (61C) the thermostat switches off and allows the valve to shut. However the coil is still full of steam, which continues to condense and give up its heat. Hence the water temperature continues to rise above the upper switching temperature, and 'overshoots' at C, before eventually falling.

Fig. 5.2.3 Tank temperature versus time From this point onwards, the water temperature in the tank continues to fall until, at point D (59C), the thermostat tells the valve to open. Steam is admitted through the coil but again, it takes time to have an effect and the water temperature continues to fall for a while, reaching its trough of undershoot at point E. The difference between the peak and the trough is known as the operating differential. The switching differential of the thermostat depends on the type of thermostat used. The operating differential depends on the characteristics of the application such as the tank, its contents, the heat transfer characteristics of the coil, the rate at which heat is transferred to the thermostat, and so on. Essentially, with on/off control, there are upper and lower switching limits, and the valve is either fully open or fully closed there is no intermediate state. However, controllers are available that provide a proportioning time control, in which it is possible to alter the ratio of the 'on' time to the 'off' time to control the controlled condition. This proportioning action occurs within a selected bandwidth around the set point; the set point being the bandwidth mid point.

If the controlled condition is outside the bandwidth, the output signal from the controller is either fully on or fully off, acting as an on/off device. If the controlled condition is within the bandwidth, the controller output is turned on and off relative to the deviation between the value of the controlled condition and the set point. With the controlled condition being at set point, the ratio of 'on' time to 'off' time is 1:1, that is, the 'on' time equals the 'off' time. If the controlled condition is below the set point, the 'on' time will be longer than the 'off' time, whilst if above the set point, the 'off' time will be longer, relative to the deviation within the bandwidth. The main advantages of on/off control are that it is simple and very low cost. This is why it is frequently found on domestic type applications such as central heating boilers and heater fans. Its major disadvantage is that the operating differential might fall outside the control tolerance required by the process. For example, on a food production line, where the taste and repeatability of taste is determined by precise temperature control, on/off control could well be unsuitable. By contrast, in the case of space heating there are often large storage capacities (a large area to heat or cool that will respond to temperature change slowly) and slight variation in the desired value is acceptable. In many cases on/off control is quite appropriate for this type of application. If on/off control is unsuitable because more accurate temperature control is required, the next option is continuous control. Top

Continuous control
Continuous control is often called modulating control. It means that the valve is capable of moving continually to change the degree of valve opening or closing. It does not just move to either fully open or fully closed, as with on-off control. There are three basic control actions that are often applied to continuous control:

Proportional (P) Integral (I) Derivative (D)

It is also necessary to consider these in combination such as P + I, P + D, P + I + D. Although it is possible to combine the different actions, and all help to produce the required response, it is important to remember that both the integral and derivative actions are usually corrective functions of a basic proportional control action. The three control actions are considered below.

Proportional control
This is the most basic of the continuous control modes and is usually referred to by use of the letter 'P'. The principle aim of proportional control is to control the process as the conditions change. This section shows that:

The larger the proportional band, the more stable the control, but the greater the offset. The narrower the proportional band, the less stable the process, but the smaller the offset.

The aim, therefore, should be to introduce the smallest acceptable proportional band that will always keep the process stable with the minimum offset. In explaining proportional control, several new terms must be introduced.

To define these, a simple analogy can be considered - a cold water tank is supplied with water via a float operated control valve and with a globe valve on the outlet pipe valve 'V', as shown in Figure 5.2.4. Both valves are the same size and have the same flow capacity and flow characteristic. The desired water level in the tank is at point B (equivalent to the set point of a level controller).

It can be assumed that, with valve 'V' half open, (50% load) there is just the right flowrate of water entering via the float operated valve to provide the desired flow out through the discharge pipe, and to maintain the water level in the tank at point at B. The questions these people ask about steam are markedly different.

Fig. 5.2.4 Valve 50% open The system can be said to be in balance (the flowrate of water entering and leaving the tank is the same); under control, in a stable condition (the level is not varying) and at precisely the desired water level (B ); giving the required outflow. With the valve 'V' closed, the level of water in the tank rises to point A and the float operated valve cuts off the water supply (see Figure 5.2.5 below). The system is still under control and stable but control is above level B. The difference between level B and the actual controlled level, A, is related to the proportional band of the control system. Once again, if valve 'V' is half opened to give 50% load, the water level in the tank will return to the desired level, point B.

Fig. 5.2.5 Valve closed This means the system is simpler and less expensive than, for example, a high temperature hot water system. The high efficiency of steam plant means it is compact and makes maximum use of space, something which is often at a premium within plant. Furthermore, upgrading an existing steam system with the latest boilers and controls typically represents 50% of the cost of removing it and replacing it with a decentralised gas fired system.

Q. How will the operating and maintenance costs of a steam system affect overhead costs ?

Centralised boiler plant is highly efficient and can use low interruptible tariff fuel rates. The boiler can even be fuelled by waste, or form part of a state-of-the-art Combined Heat and Power plant. Steam equipment typically enjoys a long life - figures of thirty years or more of low maintenance life are quite usual. Modern steam plant, from the boiler house to the steam using plant and back again, can be fully automated. This dramatically cuts the cost of manning the plant. Sophisticated energy monitoring equipment will ensure that the plant remains energy efficient and has a low manning requirement. All these factors in combination mean that a steam system enjoys a low lifetime cost.

Q. If a steam system is installed, how can the most use be made of it ?

Steam has a range of uses. It can be used for space heating of large areas, for complex processes and for sterilisation purposes. Using a hospital as an example, steam is ideal because it can be generated centrally at high pressure, distributed over long distances and then reduced in pressure at the point of use. This means that a single high pressure boiler can suit the needs of all applications around the hospital, for example, heating of wards, air humidification, cooking of food in large quantities and sterilisation of equipment. It is not as easy to cater for all these needs with a water system.









Steam systems are flexible and easy to add to. They can grow with the company and be altered to meet changing business objectives.










The use of steam is environmentally responsible. Companies continue to choose steam because it is generated with high levels of fuel efficiency. Environmental controls are increasingly stringent, even to the extent that organisations have to consider the costs and methods of disposing of plant before it is installed. All these issues are considered during the design and manufacture of steam plant.

Fig. 5.2.6 Valve open The system is under control and stable, but there is an offset; the deviation in level between points B and C. Figure 5.2.7 combines the three conditions used in this example. The difference in levels between points A and C is known as the Proportional Band or P-band, since this is the change in level (or temperature in the case of a temperature control) for the control valve to move from fully open to fully closed.









The analogy illustrates several basic and important points relating to proportional control:

The control valve is moved in proportion to the error in the water level (or the temperature deviation, in the case of a temperature control) from the set point. The set point can only be maintained for one specific load condition. Whilst stable control will be achieved between points A and C, any load causing a difference in level to that of B will always provide an offset.

Fig. 5.2.7 Proportional band Note: By altering the fulcrum position, the system Proportional Band changes. Nearer the float gives a narrower Pband, whilst nearer the valve gives a wider P-band. Figure 5.2.8 illustrates why this is so. Different fulcrum positions require different changes in water level to move the valve from fully open to fully closed. In both cases, It can be seen that level B represents the 50% load level, A represents the 0% load level, and C represents the 100% load level. It can also be seen how the offset is greater at any same load with the wider proportional band.

Fig. 5.2.8 Demonstrating the relationship between P-band and offset The examples depicted in Figures 5.2.4 through to 5.2.8 describe proportional band as the level (or perhaps temperature or pressure etc.) change required to move the valve from fully open to fully closed. This is convenient for mechanical systems, but a more general (and more correct) definition of proportional band is the percentage change in measured value required to give a 100% change in output. It is therefore usually expressed in percentage terms rather than in engineering units such as degrees centigrade. For electrical and pneumatic controllers, the set value is at the middle of the proportional band. The effect of changing the P-band for an electrical or pneumatic system can be described with a slightly different example, by using a temperature control. The space temperature of a building is controlled by a water (radiator type) heating system using a proportional action control by a valve driven with an electrical actuator, and an electronic controller and room temperature sensor. The control selected has a proportional band (P-band or Xp) of 6% of the controller input span of 0 - 100C, and the desired internal space temperature is 18C. Under certain load conditions, the valve is 50% open and the required







A fall in outside temperature occurs, resulting in an increase in the rate of heat loss from the building. Consequently, the internal temperature will decrease. This will be detected by the room temperature sensor, which will signal the valve to move to a more open position allowing hotter water to pass through the room radiators. The valve is instructed to open by an amount proportional to the drop in room temperature. In simplistic terms, if the room temperature falls by 1C, the valve may open by 10%; if the room temperature falls by 2C, the valve will open by 20%. In due course, the outside temperature stabilises and the inside temperature stops falling. In order to provide the additional heat required for the lower outside temperature, the valve will stabilise in a more open position; but the actual inside temperature will be slightly lower than 18C. Example 5.2.1 and Figure 5.2.9 explain this further, using a P-band of 6C.

Example 5.2.1 Consider a space heating application with the following characteristics:
1. 2. 3. The required temperature in the building is 18C. The room temperature is currently 18C, and the valve is 50% open. The proportional band is set at 6% of 100C = 6C, which gives 3C either side of the 18C set point.

Figure 5.2.9 shows the room temperature and valve relationship:

Fig. 5.2.9 Room temperature and valve relationship - 6C proportional band As an example, consider the room temperature falling to 16C. From the chart it can be seen that the new valve opening will be approximately 83%. With proportional control, if the load changes, so too will the offset:

A load of less than 50% will cause the room temperature to be above the set value. A load of more than 50% will cause the room temperature to be below the set value.

The deviation between the set temperature on the controller (the set point) and the actual room temperature is called the 'proportional offset'.

In Example 5.2.1, as long as the load conditions remain the same, the control will remain steady at a valve opening of 83.3%; this is called 'sustained offset'.

The effect of adjusting the P-band

In electronic and pneumatic controllers, the P-band is adjustable. This enables the user to find a setting suitable for the individual application. Increasing the P-band - For example, if the previous application had been programmed with a 12% proportional band equivalent to 12C, the results can be seen in Figure 5.2.10. Note that the wider P-band results in a less steep 'gain' line. For the same change in room temperature the valve movement will be smaller. The term 'gain' is discussed in a following section. In this instance, the 2C fall in room temperature would give a valve opening of about 68% from the chart in Figure 5.2.10.

Fig. 5.2.10 Room temperature and valve relationship - 12C Proportional band Reducing the P-band - Conversely, if the P-band is reduced, the valve movement per temperature increment is increased. However, reducing the P-band to zero gives an on/off control. The ideal P-band is as narrow as possible without producing a noticeable oscillation in the actual room temperature.

Example 5.2.2
Let the input span of a controller be 100C. If the controller is set so that full change in output occurs over a proportional band of 20% the controller gain is:

The term 'gain' is often used with controllers and is simply the reciprocal of proportional band. The larger the controller gain, the more the controller output will change for a given error. For instance for a gain of 1, an error of 10% of scale will change the controller output by 10% of scale, for a gain of 5, an error of 10% will change the controller output by 50% of scale, whilst for a gain of 10, an error of 10% will change the output by 100% of scale. The proportional band in 'degree terms' will depend on the controller input scale. For instance, for a controller with a 200C input scale: An Xp of 20% = 20% of 200C = 40C An Xp of 10% = 10% of 200C = 20C

Example 5.2.2
Let the input span of a controller be 100C. If the controller is set so that full change in output occurs over a proportional band of 20% the controller gain is:

Equally it could be said that the proportional band is 20% of 100C = 20C and the gain is:

Therefore the relationship between P-band and Gain is:

As a reminder:

A wide proportional band (small gain) will provide a less sensitive response, but a greater stability. A narrow proportional band (large gain) will provide a more sensitive response, but there is a practical limit to how narrow the Xp can be set. Too narrow a proportional band (too much gain) will result in oscillation and unstable control.

For any controller for various P-bands, gain lines can be determined as shown in Figure 5.2.11, where the controller input span is 100C.

Fig. 5.2.11 Proportional band and gain

Reverse or direct acting control signal

A closer look at the figures used so far to describe the effect of proportional control shows that the output is assumed to be reverse acting. In other words, a rise in process temperature causes the control signal to fall and the valve to close. This is usually the situation on heating controls. This configuration would not work on a cooling control; here the valve must open with a rise in temperature. This is termed a direct acting control signal. Figures 5.2.12 and 5.2.13 depict the difference between reverse and direct acting control signals for the same valve action.

Fig. 5.2.12 Reverse acting signal

Fig. 5.2.13 Direct acting signal On mechanical controllers (such as a pneumatic controller) it is usual to be able to invert the output signal of the controller by rotating the proportional control dial. Thus, the magnitude of the proportional band and the direction of the control action can be determined from the same dial. On electronic controllers, reverse acting (RA) or direct acting (DA) is selected through the keypad.

Gain line offset or proportional effect

From the explanation of proportional control, it should be clear that there is a control offset or a deviation of the actual value from the set value whenever the load varies from 50%. To further illustrate this, consider Example 5.2.1 with a 12C P-band, where an offset of 2C was expected. If the offset cannot be tolerated by the application, then it must be eliminated. This could be achieved by relocating (or resetting) the set point to a higher value. This provides the same valve opening after manual reset but at a room temperature of 18C not 16C.

Fig. 5.2.14 Gain line offset

Manual reset
The offset can be removed either manually or automatically. The effect of manual reset can be seen in Figure 5.2.14, and the value is adjusted manually by applying an offset to the set point of 2C. It should be clear from Figure 5.2.14 and the above text that the effect is the same as increasing the set value by 2C. The same valve opening of 66.7% now coincides with the room temperature at 18C.

The effects of manual reset are demonstrated in Figure 5.2.15.

Fig. 5.2.15 Effect of manual reset

Integral control - automatic reset action

'Manual reset' is usually unsatisfactory in process plant where each load change will require a reset action. It is also quite common for an operator to be confused by the differences between:

Set value - What is on the dial. Actual value - What the process value is. Required value - The perfect process condition.

Such problems are overcome by the reset action being contained within the mechanism of an automatic controller. Such a controller is primarily a proportional controller. It then has a reset function added, which is called 'integral action'. Automatic reset uses an electronic or pneumatic integration routine to perform the reset function. The most commonly used term for automatic reset is integral action, which is given the letter I. The function of integral action is to eliminate offset by continuously and automatically modifying the controller output in accordance with the control deviation integrated over time. The Integral Action Time (IAT) is defined as the time taken for the controller output to change due to the integral action to equal the output change due to the proportional action. Integral action gives a steadily increasing corrective action as long as an error continues to exist. Such corrective action will increase with time and must therefore, at some time, be sufficient to eliminate the steady state error altogether, providing sufficient time elapses before another change occurs. The controller allows the integral time to be adjusted to suit the plant dynamic behaviour. Proportional plus integral (P + I) becomes the terminology for a controller incorporating these features. The integral action on a controller is often restricted to within the proportional band. A typical P + I response is shown in Figure 5.2.16, for a step change in load.

Fig. 5.2.16 P+I Function after a step change in load The IAT is adjustable within the controller:

If it is too short, over-reaction and instability will result. If it is too long, reset action will be very slow to take effect.

IAT is represented in time units. On some controllers the adjustable parameter for the integral action is termed 'repeats per minute', which is the number of times per minute that the integral action output changes by the proportional output change.

Repeats per minute = 1/(IAT in minutes) IAT = Infinity - Means no integral action IAT = 0 - Means infinite integral action

It is important to check the controller manual to see how integral action is designated.

Overshoot and 'wind up'

With P+ I controllers (and with P controllers), overshoot is likely to occur when there are time lags on the system. A typical example of this is after a sudden change in load. Consider a process application where a process heat exchanger is designed to maintain water at a fixed temperature.

The set point is 80C, the P-band is set at 5C (2.5C), and the load suddenly changes such that the returning water temperature falls almost instantaneously to 60C. Figure 5.2.16 shows the effect of this sudden (step change) in load on the actual water temperature. The measured value changes almost instantaneously from a steady 80C to a value of 60C. By the nature of the integration process, the generation of integral control action must lag behind the proportional control action, introducing a delay and more dead time to the response. This could have serious consequences in practice, because it means that the initial control response, which in a proportional system would be instantaneous and fast acting, is now subjected to a delay and responds slowly. This may cause the actual value to run out of control and the system to oscillate. These oscillations may increase or decrease depending on the relative values of the controller gain and the integral action. If applying integral action it is important to make sure, that it is necessary and if so, that the correct amount of integral action is applied. Integral control can also aggravate other situations. If the error is large for a long period, for example after a large step change or the system being shut down, the value of the integral can become excessively large and cause overshoot or undershoot that takes a long time to recover. To avoid this problem, which is often called 'integral windup', sophisticated controllers will inhibit integral action until the system gets fairly close to equilibrium. To remedy these situations it is useful to measure the rate at which the actual temperature is changing; in other words, to measure the rate of change of the signal. Another type of control mode is used to measure how fast the measured value changes, and this is termed Rate Action or Derivative Action.

Derivative control - rate action

A Derivative action (referred to by the letter D) measures and responds to the rate of change of process signal, and adjusts the output of the controller to minimise overshoot. If applied properly on systems with time lags, derivative action will minimise the deviation from the set point when there is a change in the process condition. It is interesting to note that derivative action will only apply itself when there is a change in process signal. If the value is steady, whatever the offset, then derivative action does not occur. One useful function of the derivative function is that overshoot can be minimised especially on fast changes in load. However, derivative action is not easy to apply properly; if not enough is used, little benefit is achieved, and applying too much can cause more problems than it solves. D T T action is D D = again adjustable = within 0 Infinity the controller, and Means Means referred to no infinite as TD D D in time units: action. action.

P + D controllers can be obtained, but proportional offset will probably be experienced. It is worth remembering that the main disadvantage with a P control is the presence of offset. To overcome and remove offset, 'I' action is introduced. The frequent existence of time lags in the control loop explains the need for the third action D. The result is a P + I + D controller which, if properly tuned, can in most processes give a rapid and stable response, with no offset and without overshoot.

PID controllers
P and I and D are referred to as 'terms' and thus a P + I + D controller is often referred to as a three term controller. Top

Summary of modes of control

A three-term controller contains three modes of control:

Proportional (P) action with adjustable gain to obtain stability. Reset (Integral) (I) action to compensate for offset due to load changes. Rate (Derivative) (D) action to speed up valve movement when rapid load changes take place.

The various characteristics can be summarised, as shown in Figure 5.2.17.

Fig. 5.2.17 Summary of control modes and responses Finally, the controls engineer must try to avoid the danger of using unnecessarily complicated controls for a specific application. The least complicated control action, which will provide the degree of control required, should always be selected. Top

Further terminology
Time constant

This is defined as: 'The time taken for a controller output to change by 63.2% of its total due to a step (or sudden) change in process load'. In reality, the explanation is more involved because the time constant is really the time taken for a signal or output to achieve its final value from its initial value, had the original rate of increase been maintained. This concept is depicted in Figure 5.12.18.

Fig. 5.2.18 Time constant

Example 5.2.2 A practical appreciation of the time constant

Consider two tanks of water, tank A at a temperature of 25C, and tank B at 75C. A sensor is placed in tank A and allowed to reach equilibrium temperature. It is then quickly transferred to tank B. The temperature difference between the two tanks is 50C, and 63.2% of this temperature span can be calculated as shown below: 63.2% of 50C = 31.6C

The initial datum temperature was 25C, consequently the time constant for this simple example is the time required for the sensor to reach 56.6C, as shown below: 25C + 31.6C = 56.6C

Often referred to as instability, cycling or oscillation. Hunting produces a continuously changing deviation from the normal operating point. This can be caused by:

The proportional band being too narrow. The integral time being too short. The derivative time being too long. A combination of these. Long time constants or dead times in the control system or the process itself.

In Figure 5.2.19 the heat exchanger is oversized for the application. Accurate temperature control will be difficult to achieve and may result in a large proportional band in an attempt to achieve stability.

If the system load suddenly increases, the two port valve will open wider, filling the heat exchanger with high temperature steam. The heat transfer rate increases extremely quickly causing the water system temperature to overshoot. The rapid increase in water temperature is picked up by the sensor and directs the two port valve to close quickly. This causes the water temperature to fall, and the two port valve to open again. This cycle is repeated, the cycling only ceasing when the PID terms are adjusted. The following example (Example 5.2.3) gives an idea of the effects of a hunting steam system.

Fig. 5.2.19 Hunting

Example 5.2.3 The effect of hunting on the system in Figure 5.2.19

Consider the steam to water heat exchanger system in Figure 5.2.19. Under minimum load conditions, the size of the heat exchanger is such that it heats the constant flowrate secondary water from 60C to 65C with a steam temperature of 70C. The controller has a set point of 65C and a P-band of 10C. Consider a sudden increase in the secondary load, such that the returning water temperature almost immediately drops by 40C. The temperature of the water flowing out of the heat exchanger will also drop by 40C to 25C. The sensor detects this and, as this temperature is below the P-band, it directs the pneumatically actuated steam valve to open fully. The steam temperature is observed to increase from 70C to 140C almost instantaneously. W hat is the effect on the secondary water temperature and the stability of the control system? As demonstrated in Tutorial 13.2 (The heat load, heat exchanger and steam load relationship), the heat exchanger temperature design constant, TDC, can be calculated from the observed operating conditions and Equation 13.2.2:

Equation 13.2.2 Where: TDC = Temperature Design Constant T s = Steam temperature T 1 = Secondary fluid inlet temperature T 2 = Secondary fluid outlet temperature In this example, the observed conditions (at minimum load) are as follows:

When the steam temperature rises to 140C, it is possible to predict the outlet temperature from Equation 13.2.5:

Equation 13.2.5 Where: Ts T1 = 140C = 60C - 40C = 20C temperature TDC = 2

The heat exchanger outlet temperature is 80C, which is now above the P-band, and the sensor now signals the controller to shut down the steam valve. The steam temperature falls rapidly, causing the outlet water temperature to fall; and the steam valve opens yet again. The system cycles around these temperatures until the control parameters are changed. These symptoms are referred to as 'hunting'. The control valve and its controller are hunting to find a stable condition. In practice, other factors will add to the uncertainty of the situation, such as the system size and reaction to temperature change and the position of the sensor. Hunting of this type can cause premature wear of system components, in particular valves and actuators, and gives poor control. Example 5.2.3 is not typical of a practical application. In reality, correct design and sizing of the control system and steam heated heat exchanger would not be a problem.

Lag is a delay in response and will exist in both the control system and in the process or system under control. Consider a small room warmed by a heater, which is controlled by a room space thermostat. A large window is opened admitting large amounts of cold air. The room temperature will fall but there will be a delay while the mass of

the sensor cools down to the new temperature - this is known as control lag. The delay time is also referred to as dead time. Having then asked for more heat from the room heater, it will be some time before this takes effect and warms up the room to the point where the thermostat is satisfied. This is known as system lag or thermal lag.

This relates to the control valve and is the ratio between the maximum controllable flow and the minimum controllable flow, between which the characteristics of the valve (linear, equal percentage, quick opening) will be maintained. With most control valves, at some point before the fully closed position is reached, there is no longer a defined control over flow in accordance with the valve characteristics. Reputable manufacturers will provide rangeability figures for their valves.

Turndown ratio
Turndown ratio is the ratio between the maximum flow and the minimum controllable flow. It will be substantially less than the valve's rangeability if the valve is oversized. Although the definition relates only to the valve, it is a function of the complete control system. Top

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Control loops
An open loop control system
Open loop control simply means there is no direct feedback from the controlled condition; in other words, no information is sent back from the process or system under control to advise the controller that corrective action is required. The heating system shown in Figure 5.3.1 demonstrates this by using a sensor outside of the room being heated. The system shown in Figure 5.3.1 is not an example of a practical heating control system; it is simply being used to depict the principle of open loop control.

Fig. 5.3.1 Open loop control The system consists of a proportional controller with an outside sensor sensing ambient air temperature. The controller might be set with a fairly large proportional band, such that at an ambient temperature of -1C the valve is full open, and at an ambient of 19C the valve is fully closed. As the ambient temperature will have an effect on the heat loss from the building, it is hoped that the room temperature will be controlled. However, there is no feedback regarding the room temperature and heating due to other factors. In mild weather, although the flow of water is being controlled, other factors, such as high solar gain, might cause the room to overheat. In other words, open control tends only to provide a coarse control of the application.

Figure 5.3.2 depicts a slightly more sophisticated control system with two sensors.

Fig. 5.3.2 Open loop control system with outside temperature sensor and water temperature sensor The system uses a three port mixing valve with an actuator, controller and outside air sensor, plus a temperature sensor in the water line. The outside temperature sensor provides a remote set point input to the controller, which is used to offset the water temperature set point. In this way, closed loop control applies to the water temperature flowing through the radiators. When it is cold outside, water flows through the radiator at its maximum temperature. As the outside temperature rises, the controller automatically reduces the temperature of the water flowing through the radiators. However, this is still open loop control as far as the room temperature is concerned, as there is no feedback from the building or space being heated. If radiators are oversized or design errors have occurred, overheating will still occur.

Closed loop control

Quite simply, a closed loop control requires feedback; information sent back direct from the process or system. Using the simple heating system shown in Figure 5.3.3, the addition of an internal space temperature sensor will detect the room temperature and provide closed loop control with respect to the room. In Figure 5.3.3, the valve and actuator are controlled via a space temperature sensor in the room, providing feedback from the actual room temperature.

Fig. 5.3.3 Closed loop control system with sensor for internal space temperature

Disturbances are factors, which enter the process or system to upset the value of the controlled medium. These disturbances can be caused by changes in load or by outside influences. For example; if in a simple heating system, a room was suddenly filled with people, this would constitute a disturbance, since it would affect the temperature of the room and the amount of heat required to maintain the desired space temperature.

Feedback control
This is another type of closed loop control. Feedback control takes account of disturbances and feeds this information back to the controller, to allow corrective action to be taken. For example, if a large number of people enter a room, the space temperature will increase, which will then cause the control system to reduce the heat input to the room.

Feed-forward control
With feed-forward control, the effects of any disturbances are anticipated and allowed for before the event actually takes place. An example of this is bringing the boiler up to high fire before bringing a large steam-using process plant on line. The sequence of events might be that the process plant is switched on. This action, rather than opening the steam valve to the process, instructs the boiler burner to high fire. Only when the high fire position is reached is the process steam valve allowed to open, and then in a slow, controlled way.

Single loop control

This is the simplest control loop involving just one controlled variable, for instance, temperature. To explain this, a steam-to-water heat exchanger is considered as shown in Figure 5.3.4.

Fig. 5.3.4 Single loop control on a heating calorifier The only one variable controlled in Figure 5.3.4 is the temperature of the water leaving the heat exchanger. This is achieved by controlling the 2-port steam valve supplying steam to the heat exchanger. The primary sensor may be a thermocouple or PT100 platinum resistance thermometer sensing the water temperature. The controller compares the signal from the sensor to the set point on the controller. If there is a difference, the controller sends a signal to the actuator of the valve, which in turn moves the valve to a new position. The controller may also include an output indicator, which shows the percentage of valve opening. Single control loops provide the vast majority of control for heating systems and industrial processes. Other terms used for single control loops include:

Set value control. Single closed loop control. Feedback control.

Multi-loop control
The following example considers an application for a slow moving timber-based product, which must be controlled to a specific humidity level (see Figures 5.3.5 and 5.3.6).

Fig. 5.3.5 Single humidity sensor In Figure 5.3.5, the single humidity sensor at the end of the conveyor controls the amount of heat added by the furnace. But if the water spray rate changes due, for instance, to fluctuations in the water supply pressure, it may take perhaps 10 minutes before the product reaches the far end of the conveyor and the humidity sensor reacts. This will cause variations in product quality. To improve the control, a second humidity sensor on another control loop can be installed immediately after the water spray, as shown in Figure 5.3.6. This humidity sensor provides a remote set point input to the controller which is used to offset the local set point. The local set point is set at the required humidity after the furnace. This, in a simple form, illustrates multi-loop control. This humidity control system consists of two control loops:

Loop 1 controls the addition of water. Loop 2 controls the removal of water.

Within this process, factors will influence both loops. Some factors such as water pressure will affect both loops. Loop 1 will try to correct for this, but any resulting error will have an impact on Loop 2.

Fig. 5.3.6 Dual humidity sensors

Cascade control
Where two independent variables need to be controlled with one valve, a cascade control system may be used. Figure 5.3.7 shows a steam jacketed vessel full of liquid product. The essential aspects of the process are quite rigorous:

The product in the vessel must be heated to a certain temperature. The steam must not exceed a certain temperature or the product may be spoiled. The product temperature must not increase faster than a certain rate or the product may be spoiled.

If a normal, single loop control was used with the sensor in the liquid, at the start of the process the sensor would detect a low temperature, and the controller would signal the valve to move to the fully open position. This would result in a problem caused by an excessive steam temperature in the jacket.

Fig. 5.3.7 Jacketed vessel The solution is to use a cascade control using two controllers and two sensors:

A slave controller (Controller 2) and sensor monitoring the steam temperature in the jacket, and outputting a signal to the control valve. A master controller (Controller 1) and sensor monitoring the product temperature with the controller output directed to the slave controller. The output signal from the master controller is used to vary the set point in the slave controller, ensuring that the steam temperature is not exceeded.

Example 5.3.1 An example of cascade control applied to a process vessel

The liquid temperature is to be heated from 15C to 80C and maintained at 80C for two hours. The The steam product temperature temperature cannot must exceed not 120C increase under faster any than circumstances. 1C/minute.

The master controller can be ramped so that the rate of increase in water temperature is not higher than that specified. The master controller is set in reverse acting mode, so that its output signal to the slave controller is 20 mA at low temperature and 4 mA at high temperature. The remote set point on the slave controller is set so that its output signal to the valve is 4 mA when the steam temperature is 80C, and 20 mA when the steam temperature is 120C. In this way, the temperature of the steam cannot be higher than that tolerated by the system, and the steam pressure in the jacket cannot be higher than the, 1 bar g, saturation pressure at 120C.


Dynamics of the process

This is a very complex subject but this part of the text will cover the most basic considerations. The term 'time constant', which deals with the definition of the time taken for actuator movement, has already been outlined in Tutorial 5.1; but to reiterate, it is the time taken for a control system to reach approximately two-thirds of its total movement as a result of a given step change in temperature, or other variable. Other parts of the control system will have similar time based responses - the controller and its components and the sensor itself. All instruments have a time lag between the input to the instrument and its subsequent output. Even the transmission system will have a time lag - not a problem with electric/electronic systems but a factor that may need to be taken into account with pneumatic transmission systems. Figures 5.3.8 and 5.3.9 show some typical response lags for a thermocouple that has been installed into a pocket for sensing water temperature.

Fig. 5.3.8 Step change 5C

Fig. 5.3.9 Ramp change 5C Apart from the delays in sensor response, other parts of the control system also affect the response time. With pneumatic and self-acting systems, the valve/actuator movement tends to be smooth and, in a proportional controller, directly proportional to the temperature deviation at the sensor. With an electric actuator there is a delay due to the time it takes for the motor to move the control linkage. Because the control signal is a series of pulses, the motor provides bursts of movement followed by periods where the actuator is stationary. The response diagram (Figure 5.3.10) depicts this. However, because of delays in the process response, the final controlled temperature can still be smooth.

Fig. 5.3.10 Comparison of response by different actuators The control systems covered in this Tutorial have only considered steady state conditions. However the process or plant under control may be subject to variations following a certain behaviour pattern. The control system is required to make the process behave in a predictable manner. If the process is one which changes rapidly, then the control system must be able to react quickly. If the process undergoes slow change, the demands on the operating speed of the control system are not so stringent. Much is documented about the static and dynamic behaviour of controllers and control systems - sensitivity, response time and so on. Possibly the most important factor of consideration is the time lag of the complete control loop. The dynamics of the process need consideration to select the right type of controller, sensor and actuator.

Process reactions
These dynamic characteristics are defined by the reaction of the process to a sudden change in the control settings, known as a step input. This might include an immediate change in set temperature, as shown in Figure 5.3.11. The response of the system is depicted in Figure 5.3.12, which shows a certain amount of dead time before the process temperature starts to increase. This dead time is due to the control lag caused by such things as an electrical actuator moving to its new position. The time constant will differ according to the dynamic response of the system, affected by such things as whether or not the sensor is housed in a pocket.

Fig. 5.3.11 Step input

Fig. 5.3.12 Components of process response to step changes The response of any two processes can have different characteristics because of the system. The effects of dead time and the time constant on the system response to a sudden input change are shown graphically in Figure 5.3.12. Systems that have a quick initial rate of response to input changes are generally referred to as possessing a first order response. Systems that have a slow initial rate of response to input changes are generally referred to as possessing a second order response. An overview of the basic types of process response (effects of dead time, first order response, and second order response) is shown in Figure 5.3.13.

Fig. 5.3.13 Response curves This Tutorial will concentrate on available automatic control choices and the decisions which must be made before selection. Guidance is offered here rather than a set of rules, because actual decisions will depend upon varying factors; some of which, such as cost, personal preferences and current fashions, cannot be included here.

It is important to reflect on the three basic parameters discussed at the beginning of Tutorial 5.1: Safety, Stability and Accuracy. In order to select the correct control valve, details of the application and the process itself are required. For example:

Are any safety features involved? For instance, should the valve fail-open or fail-closed in the event of power failure? Is separate control required for high and low limit? What property is to be controlled? For instance, temperature, pressure, level, flow? lWhat is the medium and its physical properties. What is the flowrate? What is the differential pressure across a control valve across the load range? What are the valve materials and end connections? What type of process is being controlled? For instance, a heat exchanger used for heating or process purposes? For temperature control, is the set point temperature fixed or variable? Is the load steady or variable and, if it is variable, what is the time scale for change, fast or slow? How critical is the temperature to be maintained? Is a single loop or multi-loop control required? What other functions (if any) are to be carried out by the control? For instance, normal temperature control of a heating system, but with added frost protection during 'off' periods? Is the plant or process in a hazardous area? Is the atmosphere or environment corrosive by nature or is the valve to be fitted externally or in a 'dirty' area? What motive power is available, such as electricity or compressed air, and at what voltage and pressure?

Motive power
This is the power source to operate the control and drive the valve or other controlled device. This will usually be electricity, or compressed air for a pneumatic system, or a mixture of both for an electropneumatic system. Self-acting control systems require no external form of power to operate; they generate their own power from an enclosed hydraulic or vapour pressure system.

To some extent, the details of the application itself may determine the choice of control power. For example, if the control is in a hazardous area, pneumatic or self-acting controls may be preferable to expensive intrinsically safe or explosion-proof electric/electronic controls. The following features are listed as a general comment on the various power source options:

Self-acting controls

Robust, simple, tolerant of 'unfriendly' environments. Easy to install and commission. Provide proportional control with very high rangeability. Controls can be obtained which fail-open or fail-closed in the event of an unacceptable overrun in temperature.</< li> They are safe in hazardous areas.</< li> Relatively maintenance free.


Self-acting temperature controls can be relatively slow to react, and Integral and Derivative control functions cannot be provided. Data cannot be re-transmitted.

Pneumatic controls

Robust. They operate very quickly, making them suitable for processes where the process variables change rapidly. The actuators can provide a high closing or opening force to operate valves against high differential pressures. The use of valve positioners will ensure accurate, repeatable control. Pure pneumatic controls are inherently safe and actuators provide smooth operation. Can be arranged to provide fail-open or fail-closed operation without additional cost or difficulty.


The necessary compressed air system can be expensive to install, if no supply already exists. Regular maintenance of the compressed air system may be required. Basic control mode is on/off or proportional although combinations of P+I and P+ I +D are available, but usually at greater cost than an equivalent electronic control system. Installation and commissioning is straightforward and of a mechanical nature.

Electric controls

Highly accurate positioning. Controllers are available to provide high versatility with on-off or P+I+D combinations of control mode, and multi-function outputs.


Electric valves operate relatively slowly, meaning they are not always suitable for rapidly changing process parameters such as pressure control on loads that change quickly.

Installation and commissioning involves both electrical and mechanical trades and the cost of wiring and installation of a separate power supply must be taken into account. Electric actuators tend to be less smooth than their pneumatic counterparts. Spring return actuators are required for fail open or fail closed functions: This can substantially reduce the closing force available and they usually cost more. Intrinsically safe or explosion-proof electric controls are needed for use in hazardous areas; they are an expensive proposition and, as such, a pneumatic or electropneumatic solution may be required, as described below. Special installation techniques are required for these types of hazardous areas.

Electropneumatic controls

Electropneumatic controls can combine the best features of electronic and pneumatic controls. Such systems can consist of pneumatically actuated valves, electric/electronic controllers, sensors and control systems, plus electropneumatic positioners or converters. The combination provides the force and smooth operation of a pneumatic actuator/valve with the speed and accuracy of an electronic control system. Fail-open or fail-closed operation can be provided without cost penalty and, by using suitable barriers and/or confining the electric/electronic part of the control system to 'safe' (non-hazardous) areas, they can be used where intrinsic safety is required.


Electrical and compressed air supplies are required, although this is not normally a problem in industrial processing environments.

There are three important factors to take into account when considering the application and the required power source:

Changes in load. Whether the set value is critical or non-critical. Whether the set value has to be varied.

The diagrams in Figure 5.4.1 and 5.4.2 help to explain

Fig. 5.4.1 Changes in load and time

Fig. 5.4.2 Critical nature of the set value What type of controls should be installed? Different applications may require different types of control systems. Self-acting and pneumatic controls can be used if load variations are fairly slow and if offset can be accepted, otherwise electropneumatic or electric controls should be used. Figure 5.4.3 shows some different applications and suggestions on which method of control may be acceptable.

Fig. 5.4.3 Variable set value and its critical nature

Types of valves and actuators

The actuator type is determined by the motive power which has been selected: self-acting, electrical, pneumatic or electropneumatic, together with the accuracy of control and actuator speed required. As far as valve selection is concerned, with steam as the flowing medium, choice is restricted to a two port valve. However, if the medium is water or another liquid, there is a choice of two port or three port valves. Their basic effects on the dynamics of the piping system have already been discussed. A water application will usually determine whether a three port valve is used to mix or divert liquid flow. If changes in system pressure with two port valves are acceptable, their advantages compared with three port valves include lower cost, simplicity and a less expensive installation. The choice of two port valves may also allow the inherent system pressure change to be used to switch on sequential pumps, or to reduce or increase the pumping rate of a variable speed pump according to the load demand. When selecting the actual valve, all the factors considered earlier must be taken into account which include; body material, body pressure/temperature limits, connections required and the use of the correct sizing method. It is also necessary to ensure that the selection of valve/actuator combination can operate against the differential pressure experienced at all load states. (Differential pressure in steam systems is generally considered to be the maximum upstream steam absolute pressure. This allows for the possibility of steam at sub-atmospheric pressure on the downstream side of the valve).

Safety is always of great importance. In the event of a power failure, should the valve fail-safe in the open or closed position? Is the control to be direct-acting (controller output signal rises with increase in measured variable) or reverse-acting (controller output signal falls with increase in measured variable)? If the application only requires on/off control, a controller may not be needed at all. A two-position actuator may be operated from a switching device such as a relay or a thermostat. Where an application requires versatility, the multifunction ability of an electronic controller is required; perhaps with temperature and time control, multi-loop, multiinput/output. Having determined that a controller is required, it is necessary to determine which control action is necessary, for instance on/off, P, P I, or P I D. The choice made depends on the dynamics of the process and the types of response considered earlier, plus the accuracy of control required. Before going any further, it is useful to define what is meant by 'good control'. There is no simple answer to this question. Consider the different responses to changes in load as shown in Figure 5.4.4.

Fig. 5.4.4 Examples of different responses to changes in load Self-acting control is normally suitable for applications where there is a very large 'secondary-side' thermal capacity compared to the 'primary-side' capacity. Consider a hot water storage calorifier as shown in Figure 5.4.5 where the large volume of stored water is heated by a steam coil.

Fig. 5.4.5 Hot water storage calorifier When the water in the vessel is cold, the valve will be wide open, allowing steam to enter the coil, until the stored water is heated to the desired temperature. When hot water is drawn from the vessel, the cold water which enters the vessel to take its place will reduce the water temperature in the vessel. Self-acting controls will have a relatively large proportional band and as soon as the temperature drops, the valve will start to open. The colder the water, the more open the steam valve. Figure 5.4.6 shows a non-storage plate type heat exchanger with little thermal storage capacity on either the primary or the secondary side, and with a fast reaction time. If the load changes rapidly, it may not be possible for a selfacting control system to operate successfully. A better solution would be to use a control system that will react quickly to load changes, and provide accuracy at the same time.

Fig. 5.4.6 Heat exchanger with little storage capacity