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EME3206: Control Engineering

Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems




A control system is meant by which any quantity of interest either in machine, mechanism or other equipment is maintained or altered in accordance with a desired manner. Consider, for example, the driving system of an automobile. Speed of the automobile is a function of the position of its accelerator. The desired speed can be maintained by controlling pressure on the accelerator pedal. This automobile driving system: accelerator, carburetor and engine, constitutes a control system. Figure 1.1 shows the general schematic representation of a typical control system. For the automobile driving system the input signal is the force on the accelerator pedal which through linkages causes the carburetor valve to open/close so as to increase/decrease fuel flow to the engine bringing the vehicle speed to the desired value. Input (force)
Accelerator pedal, linkages and carburretor

rate of fuel flow


output (speed)

FIGURE 1.1 The basic control system The schematic representation of Figure 1.1 is known as block diagram representation wherein each block represents an element, a plant, mechanism, devise etc., whose inner details are not shown. Each block has an input and output signal which are linked by a relationship characterizing the block. It may be noted that the signal flow through the block is unidirectional. Let us reconsider the automobile driving system. The route, speed and acceleration of the automobile are determined and controlled by the driver by observing traffic and road conditions and by properly manipulating the accelerator, clutch, gear lever, brake and steering wheel ect. Suppose the driver wants to maintain 50 km/hr (desired output). He then accelerates the automobile to this speed with the help of accelerator and then maintains it by holding the accelerator steady. No error in the speed of the automobile occurs as long as there are no other disturbances along the road. The actual speed of the automobile is measured by the speedometer and indicated on its dial. The driver reads the speed dial visually and compared the actual speed with the desired one mentally. If there is a deviation of speed from the desired one, accordingly he/she takes the decision to increase or decrease the automobile speed by changing in pressure of his/her foot through muscular power on the accelerator

these informations constitute the feedback signals which are interpreted by driver’s brain.5. Thus the use of some equipment which performs the same intended function as a continuously employed human operator is needed. the events in the control sequence of Figure 1. The operator compares the actual level with the desired level and opens or closes the valve (actuator).2 follow a closed loop i. Additional information is available to the driver from the feel of the steering wheel by the hand(s).e. The power amplifier is the operator.2 Closed-loop feedback control system Let us investigate another control aspect of an automobile say its steering mechanism. In many complex and fast-acting systems. 1. linkages and carburret rate of fuel flow Engine output speed speedometer FIGURE 1. The general block diagram of an automatic control system is shown in Fig 1.3 involve continuous manual control by a human operator. Systems of the type represented in Figs. This again is an example of a closed-loop system where human visual and tactile measurements constitute the feedback loop. The input is a reference level of fluid that the operator is instructed to maintain (This reference is memorized by the operator). A system incorporating such an equipment is known as automatic control system.4 shows another example of manually controlled closed-loop system for regulating the level of fluid in a tank.2 and 1. 1. A typical direction-of-travel response is shown in Fig. practically all control systems are a sort of closed-loop system. The driver senses the error between the actual and desired direction of the automobile as shown in Fig 1. In fact in most situations an automatic control system could be made to perform intended functions better than a human operator. some of the systems e. and the sensor is visual. It is on account of this basic difference that the system of Figure 1. and could further be made to perform such functions as would be impossible for a human operator. Furthermore. In contrast to the sequence of events in Figure 1. the presence of the human element in the control loop is undesirable because the system response may be too rapid for an operator to follow. Even in situations where manual control could be possible. while the system of Figure 1. which is then adjusted TSlee 2 . to maintain the desired level.3(c).g. are self-destructive and in such systems human element must be excluded.2. Fig 1. These are classified as manually controlled systems. A simple block diagram of an automobile steering control system is shown in Fig.3(b) by the means of visual and tactile (body movement). an economic case can often be made out for reduction of human supervision. 1.2 is called as closed-loop control system. Desired Speed Driver’s eyes and brain Leg muscles force Accelerat or pedal. These processes can be represented in a schematic form as shown in Figure 1. In fact unless human beings are not left out of a control system. the information about the instantaneous state of the output is feedback to the input and is used to modify it in such a manner as to achieve the desired output. adjusting the fluid flow out. who then signals his hand to adjust the steering wheel accordingly. Any difference between these two signals constitutes an error. missiles.3(a). An error detector/comparator compares a signal obtained through feedback elements with the reference input.EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems pedal.1 is called as openloop control system.1.

travel response. The output of the control device causes the actuator to modulate the process in order to reduce the error.3 An automobile steering control system. (b) The driver uses the difference between the actual and the desired direction of travel to generate a controlled adjustment of the steering wheel. FIGURE 1. (c) Typical direction of .4 A manual control system for regulating the level of fluid in a tank TSlee 3 .EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems by the control device (such as an amplifier). FIGURE 1.

” In order to gain better understanding of the interactions of the constituents of an automatic control system.6. The slider arm A of another potentiometer is positioned corresponding to the desired liquid level H (desired input). This further demonstrates the power of an automatic control system. This control system can maintain the liquid level h (actual output) of the tank within accurate tolerance of the desired liquid level even though the output flow rate through the valve V1 is varied.e. let us discuss a simple tank level control system shown in Fig 1.EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems FIGURE 1. the reader can easily verify that any operator acting as part of feedback loop will find it very difficult to adjust h to a desired value and to be able to maintain it. the potentiometers (comparator) give an error voltage (error) proportional to the change in liquid level.5 General block diagram of an automatic control system The control device is often called a “controller. The error voltage actuates the motor through a power amplifier (control device) which in turn conditions the water level in the tank (plant/process) by decreasing or increasing the opening of the valve V2 in order to restore the desired liquid level.6 Automatic tank-level control system TSlee 4 . The liquid level is sensed by a float (feedback path element). disconnecting the potentiometer B . which position the slider arm B on a potentiometer. When the liquid level rises or falls. Figure 1. By opening the feedback loop i.

and this setting must be periodically readjusted. was invented by James Watt in 1770. Then the compressor is automatically turned off. the efficiency of the heating element normally deteriorates with age. the amount of heat produced by the heating element may vary over a wide range. This device was usually prone to hunting (undesirable system oscillations).2 HISTORY OF AUTOMATIC CONTROL The first automatic control system. The change in desired engine speed can be achieved by adjusting the setting of throttle level. The lower speed setting is achieved by reverse action. When the thermostat detects the output is higher than the input. a thermostatically controlled air conditioner automatically regulating the temperature of a room or enclosure is a closed-loop control system.7. Such a system may be represented by the block diagram of Fig 1. is called an open-loop system. for example. A common example of an open-loop control system is an electric toaster in a kitchen. It was about hundred years later that Maxwell analyzed the dynamics of the fly-ball governor. The system will be termed openloop if red and green lights are put on by a timer mechanism set for predetermined fixed interval of time. TSlee 5 . It is obvious that such an arrangement takes no account of varying rates of traffic flowing to the road crossing from the two directions. to control the speed of steam engines. An electric toaster is open-loop system because it is controlled by a timer. therefore. usually specified by appropriately setting a thermostat. Consider. In addition. The output is the actual temperature in the room or enclosure. For a high speed setting. If on the other hand a scheme is introduced in which the rates of traffic flow along both directions are measured (some distance ahead of the crossing) and are compared and the difference is used to control the timing of red and green lights. Hence the amount of time required for a good toast must be estimated by the user. But variations in external conditions or internal parameters of the system may cause the output to vary from the desired value in an uncontrolled fashion. The input to this system is a reference temperature. satisfactory only if such fluctuations can be tolerated or system components are designed and constructed so as to limit parameter variations and environmental conditions are well-controlled. a closed-loop system results. the throttle level is moved up which in turn causes x to move downward resulting in wider opening of the fuel control valve with consequent increase of speed. The open-loop control is. any physical system which does not automatically correct for variation in its output.7 General block diagram of open-loop system It is important to note that the fundamental difference between an open and closed-loop control system is that of feedback action. Input Controller Plant output Figure 1. In these systems the output remains constant for a constant input signal provided the external conditions remain unaltered.EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems As a recap. The schematic diagram of a speed control system using a fly-ball governor is shown in Fig 1. the compressor of the air conditioner is turned on and it provides cooling air to the room or enclosure until the temperature of the enclosure becomes equal or below to the reference input. Although the timer dial of the toaster is calibrated the manufacturer. 1. a traffic control system for regulating the flow of traffic at the crossing of two roads. the fly-ball governor. An example of a closed-loop control system is an air conditioner in a living room. Whereas.8.

guns positioning systems.8 Speed control system The importance of positioning heavy masses like ships and guns quickly and precisely was realized during the World War I (1914-1918). the launch computer calculates the firing angle in terms of a launch command signal. His work may possibly be considered as a first struggling attempt to develop some general theory for servomechanism (feedback control mechanism). This information is used to send TSlee 6 . A date of significance in automatic control systems is that of Hazen’s work in 1934. Minorsky performed the classic work on automatic steering of ships and positioning of guns on the shipboards. the missile enters the radar guidance beam and uses it for direction. Depending upon the position and velocity of the plane as given by the radar output data. In early 1920. The target plane is sited by a rotating surface radar antenna which then tracks the target and also transmits a guidance beam that adjusts its angle as the target moves across the sky. The missile launching and guidance system of Fig 1. it became necessary to design and construct automatic airplane pilots. automatic control theory was not much developed and for most cases the design of control systems was indeed an art. Prior to 1940. The launcher angular position is feedback to the launch computer and missile is triggered as soon as the error between the launch command signal and the missile firing angle becomes zero. During the World War II (1939-1945). After being fired. This gives a great impetus to the automatic control theory. Scanning systems onboard the missile detected the presence of the beam and determine how close the missile is to the edge of it. During the decade of 1940’s. which when amplified through a power amplifier drives the launcher (drive motor). mathematical and analytical methods were developed and practiced and control engineering was established as an engineering discipline in its own rights.9 is a sophisticated example of military applications of feedback control.EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems Figure 1. radar tracking systems and other military equipments based on feedback control principle.

(b) Beam rider guidance. In this way. (a) (b) (c) Fig 1. wings and fins) of the missile to keep the missile within the beam. the missile “rides” the external radar beam to the target. (c) Missile control surfaces TSlee 7 .EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems command signals to control surfaces (Canards.9 (a) Missile lauching and guidance system.

The block diagram of such a system with single feedback loop is illustrated in Fig 1. The reactants are initially charged into the reaction vessel of the batch reactor and are then agitated for a certain period of time to allow the reaction to take place. To begin with we will consider a simple form the digital control system.EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems The industrial use of automatic control has tremendously increased since the World War II. 1. Upon completion of the reaction. Modern manufacturing processes such as manufacture and treatment of chemicals and metals are now automatically controlled. the products are discharged.10 A batch chemical process 1.3 Digital computer control In the example of missile launching and guidance system. while the control computer handles data only in digital (or discrete) form.11 wherein the sampler samples TSlee 8 . In this control system signals in certain parts of the plants are in analog form i. An example of controlled industrial processes is a batch chemical reactor shown in Fig 1. During heating phase. This requires signal discretization and analog-to-digital interfacing in form of A/D and D/A converters. For a specific reaction. Reverse action takes place during the cooling phase. and opens and controls the steam inlet valve while the condensate valve is kept open. it is seen that such control systems need a digital computer as a control element to digitally process a number of input signals to generate a number of control signals so as to manipulate several plant variables. Automatic temperature control is achieved by providing both steam and cooling jackets for heating or cooling the reactor mass. the controller closes the water inlet and outlet valves. there is an optimum temperature of the reactor mass should be varied to obtain best results. continuous functions of time variable.10. Fig.e.

This system uses a specific motor to drive each axis to the desired position in the x-y-zaxis.11 block diagram of a sampled-data control system A three-axis control system for inspecting individual semiconductor wafers is shown in Fig.12. a general purpose computer chip. The sampler is an electronic switch whose output is the discretized version of the analog signal and is a train pulses of the sampling frequency with the strength of each pulse being that the error signal at the beginning of the sampling period.EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems the error signal e(t ) every T seconds. The goal is to achieve smooth. 1. The smoothed out control signal u (t ) is then used to manipulate the plant. Fig 1. Where a few variables are to be controlled with a limited number of commands and the plant process to be controlled is at a given physical location. the microprocessor. This control system is an important one for the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Such systems are known as microprocessorbased control systems. Of course at the input/output interfacing A/D and D/A converter chips would be needed. respectively. is commonly employed. accurate movement in each axis. TSlee 9 . The sampled signal is passed through a data hold is then filtered by a digital filter in accordance with the control algorithm. µ P . FIGURE 1.12 A three-axis control system for inspecting individual semiconductor wafers with a highly sensitive camera.

The radar unit measures the approximate vertical and lateral positions of the aircraft. Two unwanted inputs called disturbances appear into the system. .. These are labeled as disturbance input. These commands are then transmitted to the aircraft autopilots which in turn cause the aircraft to response. The system has to be designed to mitigate the effects of disturbances input so that the aircraft lands within acceptable limits of lateral accurancy..14).13. We shall advance two examples of central computer control. These are (i) wind gust affecting the position of the aircraft and (ii) radar noise present in measurement of aircraft positions. which are then transmitted to the controlling unit. the radar unit and the controlling unit. the controlling unit calculates appropriate pitch and bank commands. From these measurements. The control system attempts to force y (t ) to zero.EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems For large systems a center computer is employed for simultaneous control of several subsystems. we shall only consider the lateral control system.13 Automatic aircraft landing system TSlee 10 . The radar unit measures y ( kT ) which is the sampled value of y (t ) where T is the sampling period and k = 0. The aircraft lateral position y (t ) is the lateral distance of the aircraft from the centerline of the runway. 2.1. Assuming that the lateral control system and the vertical control system are independent.. The system consists of three basic parts: the aircraft. The aircraft responds to the bank command and change its lateral position y (t ) by changing the angle of ailerons as well as the angle of rudder (Fig 1. Fig 1. Automatic aircraft landing system The automatic aircraft landing system in a simplified form is depicted in Fig 1.. The digital controller processes these sampled values and generates the discrete bank command at each sampled period and send it to the aircraft.3.

These inputs are processed by the control computer to produce control signals (i) signals to adjust throttle valve. This control the rate of steam input to turbine and so controls the generator output. feed water and air in accordance with the throttle valve opening. line voltage (ii) temperature and pressure of steam inlet to turbine (iii) oxygen content in furnace air.15.15 coordinated control for a boiler-generator TSlee 11 . (ii) signals to adjust fuel.EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems Fig 1. vars. Various signal inputs to the control computer are (i) watts. Fig 1. (iii) signals which adjust generator excitation so as to control var output.14 Lateral and longitudinal control of an aircraft Coordinated boiler-generator control Coordinated control system for a boiler-generator unit by a central computer is illustrated by simplified schematic block diagram of Fig 1.

we also can classify a control system as given as the following: Linear versus Nonlinear Control Systems: Strictly speaking. such as temperature regulation. Differ from the continuous-data systems in that the signals at one or more points of the system are in form of either a pulse train. the principle of superposition applied. Thereby. Consider an economic inflation problem which is evidenced by continually rising prices. Using control principles anaesthetic control can be made completely automatic. For linear system. control theory has wide applications. For example. respiratory and cardiovascular controls. Continuous-time versus discrete-time control systems: A continuous system is one in which the signals at various parts of the system are all functions of the continuous time variable t.EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems 1. freeing the anaesthetist from observing constantly the general condition of the patient and making manual adjustment. neurological. sociology. product costs and cost of living is shown in Fig 1. A model of the vicious price-wage inflationary cycle. assuming simple relationship between wages. 1. However. In practice. The theory has been applied to such areas as economics. then the system may be linearized within the small range of variation of the system. A simple example is the automatic anaesthetic control. due to universality of the principles involved it is no longer restricted to engineering.4 Applications of control theory in non-engineering fields Although control theory is originally evolved as an engineering discipline.5 Classification of automatic control system Besides as classified a control systems according to equipment used to regulate a plant in the system. the mass of the missile decreases as the fuel on board is being consumed (with time) during flight. linear systems don't exist in practice. the economic system depicted in the figure is found to be a positive feedback system. For example to optimize the performance of a missile or spacecraft a nonlinear on-off control is introduced into the system. nonlinear element is introduced in a control system to optimize the performance of the system.16. TSlee 12 . the system is called a Time-Invariant system. Those systems for which this principle does not apply are nonlinear system. The degree of anaesthesia of patient undergoing operation can be measured from encephalograms. Time-Invariant versus Time-Varying Systems: When the parameters of a control system are stationary with respect to time during the operation of the system. It is noted that. biology etc. in some cases. since all physical systems are nonlinear to some extent. the winding resistance of an electric motor will vary with temperature (with time).16 economic inflation dynamics Dissatisfaction factor d In medical field. most physical systems contain elements that drift or vary with time. Initial wages + + present wages K1 industry production cost K2 cost of living wage increment Fig 1. if the range of variations of the system is not large.

17. Besides that negative feedback has a few additional benefits like reduction in effects of disturbance input. An example is a process control system that has two inputs (pressure and temperature input) and two outputs (pressure and temperature output). Deterministic versus stochastic system: A control system is deterministic if the response to input is predictable and repeatable. This basic control loop with negative feedback is used to reduce the error between the desired input and the controlled output. Feedback controller design usually involved with the following steps: TSlee 13 .17 The basic feedback control loop The figure also indicates the presence of the disturbance input in the plant and the noise input in feedback element i. (ii) reduction of steady-state error. whereas distributed-parameter control systems are those that can be described by partial differential equations. the control system is a stochastic control system. plant nonlinearity and changes in plant parameters. Such a system is called a single-input. Lumped-parameter versus distributed-parameter control system: Control systems that can described by ordinary differential equations are lumped-parameter control system. noise enters in the measurement process. If not. a controller (or a filter) is required to process the error signal such that the overall system satisfies certain critical specifications such as (i) reduction in effect of disturbance signal. An example is a position control system. where there is one command input (desired position) and one controlled output (output position). The basic block diagram of a feedback control system is given in Fig 1. single-output control system. 1. Some systems may have multiple inputs and multiple outputs. Control systems classified according to the main purpose of the systems: The examples are position-control system and velocity-control system which are used to control the position and velocity of the systems.6 Summary In the above account the field of control systems has been survey with a wide variety of examples including those of nonphysical science. Disturbance input Desired Input r (t ) + -- error e(t ) controller u (t ) plant (process) output y (t ) Feedback elements (sensors) noise Fig1. (iii) transient response and frequency response performance.e. Generally.EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems Single-input and single-output versus multiple-input and multiple-output control systems: A system may have one input and one output. (iv) sensitivity of parameter changes.

Developing mathematical models of plant. TSlee 14 .EME3206: Control Engineering Chapter 1 Introduction to Control Systems (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) Choice of feedback sensor(s) to get a measurement of the controlled output. sensor and actuator. Building the system or its prototype and testing. Choice of actuator to drive the plant like opening or closing a valve. Controller design based on models developed in step 3and the specified criteria. adjusting the excitation or armature voltage of a motor. Simulating system performance and fine tuning Iterate the above steps if necessary.