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Notes in Process Control

Prepared by: Brenda D. Coloma, ChE

Tuning is adjusting the feedback controller parameters to obtain a specified closed-loop response. There are a variety
of feedback controller tuning methods. Probably 80 % of all loops are tuned experimentally by an instrument mechanic
and 75 % of the time the mechanic can guess approximately what settings will be by drawing on experience with
similar loops.
The controller parameters that must be tuned are as follows:
1. Proportional Controllers Kc
2. Proportional Integral Controllers Kc, I
3. Proportional Integral Derivative Controllers Kc, I , D
Some process loops do have relatively fast responses, but many processes take even hours before results can be
observed. This makes tuning feedback controllers performed by Trial and Error which is a tedious and time-consuming
task. This is the method most often used by control and instrument engineers. A number of procedures have been
developed but one should bear in mind that no one procedure will give the best results for all process control
Method of Quarter Decay Ratio Response by Ultimate Gain (Ziegler Nichols Method)
This is a closed-loop or on-line tuning method proposed by Ziegler and Nichols (in 1942). The controller settings given
by this method are easy to find and easy to use and they give reasonable performance on some loops. They are often
used as first guesses, but they tend to be too underdamped for most process control applications. Some on-line
tuning can improve control significantly but the Ziegler-Nichols (ZN) method settings are useful as a place to start.
The ZN method consist of first finding the ultimate gain K u, the value of gain at which the loop is at the limit of stability
with a proportional feedback controller only. The period of the resulting oscillation is called the ultimate period, P u
(minutes per cycle). The ZN settings are then calculated from K u and Pu by the formulas below for the three types of

Kc, proportional
I , Integral time
D , Derivative time

Ziegler Nichols Settings

P Controller
PI Controller

PID Controller

1. Determination of the dynamic characteristics or personality of the control loop.
2. Estimate of the controller tuning parameters that produce a desired response for the dynamic characteristics
determined in the 1st step. This is matching the personality of the controller to that of the other elements in the
The dynamic characteristics of the process are represented by the ultimate gain of the proportional controller and the
ultimate period of oscillation of the loop. These can be determined from the transfer function of all the components of
the loop. Most often, they are experimentally determined.
Experimental Determination of Ku and Pu:
1. Switch off the integral and derivative modes of the feedback controller so as to have a proportional controller
only. Some controllers have Integral mode which cannot be switched off but it can be de-tuned by switching
I to its maximum value or by setting the integral rate to the minimum value.
2. With the controller in automatic (i.e. the loop is closed), increase the proportional gain (or reduce the
proportional band) until the loop oscillates with constant amplitude. Record the values of the gain that

Notes in Process Control

Prepared by: Brenda D. Coloma, ChE
produces sustained oscillation as K u ultimate gain. This step is carried out in discrete gain increments
bumping the system by applying a small change in setpoint at each gain setting.
3. From a time recording of the controlled variable, the period of oscillation is measured and recorded as P u the
ultimate period.


Response of the loop with Ku and Pu

For the desired Closed-Loop Response:
Decay Ratio = 1 = B


; B=A

Quarter decay ratio response is very desirable for disturbance inputs because it prevents a large initial deviation
from the setpoint without being too oscillatory. It is not desirable for step changes in setpoint because the new setpoint
in each deviation is the preceding maximum deviation from the new setpoint in the opposite direction. This difficulty
can easily be corrected by reducing the Kc (proportional gain) from the value predicted by the formula as given in the
The decay ratio is a direct function of the Kc and can be adjusted at anytime by simply changing the gain. If the
quarter decay ratio response is too oscillatory, reduction of the gain will smoothen out the response.
The ZN parameters produce fast response for most industrial loops.
Controller - Tuning Problem:
Given the characteristics equation of the continuous stirred tank, determine the quarter decay ratio tuning parameters
for a PID controller by the ultimate gain method (ZN Method). Also calculate the roots of the characteristic equation for
the controller tuned with these parameters and calculate the actual decay ratio.
Transfer Function:


1 G1G C
1 G1G C

Ku = 10.4% CO
% TO

Ti , F

; Tu = 4.6 min
Steam , T st



(0.2s 1)(8.34s 1)(0.502s 1)(0.75s 1) %CO

Notes in Process Control

Prepared by: Brenda D. Coloma, ChE

Tyreus Luyben (TLC) Method

The Tyreus Luyben method procedure is quite similar to the Ziegler Nichols method but gives more conservative
settings (higher closed-loop damping coefficient) and is more suitable for chemical process control applications. This
method uses the ultimate gain Ku and the ultimate frequency u. The formulas are given in the following table.

Kc, proportional
I , Integral time
D , Derivative time

Tyreus Luyben (TLC) Settings

P Controller
PI Controller
2.2 Pu

PID Controller
2.2 Pu

The use of PID controllers in process control is limited, primarily because of problems with noisy signals. The
derivative action amplifies this noise and gives a poor performance in some applications.

Notes in Process Control

Prepared by: Brenda D. Coloma, ChE
The transfer function is a characteristic of the process. The important information about the process response can be
obtained from the roots of the transfer function and it is not necessary to obtain the exact solution to each problem.
Is the process stable? If so, what will be its final steady state value? Is the response monotonic or oscillatory? If
monotonic and stable, how long will it take for the transients to die out? If oscillatory, what is the period of oscillation
and how long will it take for the oscillation to die out?
Output Response:

bms m bm1s m1...... bo

Y (s)
ans an1s ....... ao
When the denominator is factored out:

bms m bm1s m1 ..... bo

X(s) ; r1 , r2, rn roots of characteristic equation (poles)
an (s r1)(s r2 )...(s rn )

Y (s)

where X(s) depends on the type of input (step, pulse, ramp, sinusoidal, etc)



[ terms of X(s) ]
s - r1 s r2
s rn

Invert the Laplace Transform:

a) Without repeated roots, the inverse is:

Y(t) = A1ent + A2er2t + + Anern t + [terms of X]

b) With repeated roots, m times: its coefficient is replaced by a polynomial in t of degree m-1
All real roots:
If all roots are real, the equivalent response are simple exponential functions of time that low only grow with
time if the roots are positive or decay to zero if the root is negative.
Real roots cannot cause the response to oscillate.
If any roots are (+), the response will grow exponentially without bound, so it will be unstable. If the root is
zero, it is still unstable!
If all the roots are real, then
1. the response is monotonic (non oscillatory)
2. it is stable only if all the roots are negative.

Stable, negative real root

Unstable, (+) real roots

Oscillatory stable, complex

Oscillatory, unstable, complex

Notes in Process Control

Prepared by: Brenda D. Coloma, ChE
roots w/ negative real part

roots with (+) real parts

c) Pair of Complex Conjugate Roots

The response is oscillatory and the oscillation grows with time (unstable) if any of the pairs of complex roots
has a (+) real parts.
Expanded output is:

With s

Y (s)

(A A 2 )(s ) i(A 1 A 2 )

....... 1

s i s i
(s )2 2
(s )2 2

Y (s)

B(s )

....... with B = A1 + A2 and C = i(A1 A2)

(s )
(s )2 2

= :

Y(t) = B et Cos t + C et sin t = et (B Cos t + C Sin t) .....

With the Trigo Identity:

The result is:

Sin (t + ) = Sin Cos t + Cos Sin t

Y(t) = D et Sin (t + ) + ..........

Where D B 2 C 2 initial amplitude



phase angle, in radians

Response is oscillatory, it contains the sine wave

et can grow with time if is (+), it decays to zero if is (-).

d) Frequency of the sine wave is equal to the imaginary parts of the roots.