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Flow Control using a PID-Controlled Valve

ME 176 Lab Exercise 6

Jasper Aaron M. Mallonga
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City 1101

AbstractThis experiment involves using the software connected to the CE117 Process Trainer,
CE117 Process Trainer to control flow of fluid but for the sake of clearer analysis on the
entering a system by valve control. Using a PID methodology and resulting data and analysis, this
controller with constant values for proportional will be divided into two.
and integral gain, the response of the control Initially, the loop bypass valve is closed, thus no
system is observed from start to steady-state, and water from the pump to the inflow valve goes back
how the control system responds to changes or to the reservoir. Also, the process vessel drain valve
disturbances in the system. and the air vent are fully opened, thus water is
constantly being drained from the vessel.
Keywords CE117 Process Trainer; Flow;
Flow Control; Control; Valve The Mimic Panel is wired as seen in Figure 1,
where it can be said that through the diagram, the
CE2000 software controls the pump voltage and
valve voltage and collects and records data sent from
In this exercise, a PID controller will be used to the flow transmitter measuring flow into the process
control flow. Previous exercises where the level in a vessel.
vessel is controlled by typically automatically
adjusting the voltage applied to a pump that brings
fluid from a reservoir to the vessel. This, however,
will involve flow as the process variable while the
voltage proportional valve is to be controlled by the
PID controller.
Industrial applications use PID controllers for its
simplicity, practicality, and versatility. PID
controllers have easily adjustable parameters, which
can be used for varying conditions or requirements
in a manufacturing plant, for example. For this
experiment, a CE117 Process Trainer will be used,
wherein as already said, flow is to be controlled.
Components of the process trainer will be adjusted
to investigate on how the proportional valve will be
controlled at different set ups. Changing
Figure 1. Mimic Panel Configuration
requirements (or setpoints) and disturbances such as
fluid flow out of the process loop will be introduced By referring to Figure 2, it can be seen that the
to see how the controller will respond, provided pump voltage is inputted by the user, while the valve
needed input. Essentially, this experiment aims to voltage is controlled by a PID control. The PID is
investigate how the PID controller will control the
given values of 0.5 for proportional gain, 0.5 for
proportional valve and how it responds to changes in integral gain, and zero (0) derivative value to be
the system. used for the entire set of procedures. It can also be
II. METHODOLOGY seen that data from the flow transmitter and the flow
The methodology in this experiment involved on setpoint determines the output of the PID which in
continuous recording of data from the CE2000 turns determines the valve voltage.
values, the software is ran and the water flow into
the process vessel is allowed to stabilize. Upon
stabilization, the setpoint is increased iteratively by
0.5V and the flow is allowed to stabilize again.
Increase of setpoint voltage is done until the value is
at 3V. Afterwards, the setpoint is set back to 0.5V,
and the flow is allowed to stabilize again.

B. Part 2 Decreasing Loop Flow

This part involves introducing two changes in the
system: a disturbance of fluid from the pump going
back to the reservoir, and a decrease of pump
Figure 2. Configuration of CE2000 for procedure voltage. The action to the valve voltage is observed.
While the software is still running and the flow is
Figure 3 provides a general diagram of the flow stable at a setpoint of 0.5V, the setpoint is increased
of fluid, along with the parts of the process trainer to 2V and let to stabilize. The process bypass valve
that involves control or data gathering from or to the is then partly opened which will decrease flow.
CE2000 software. Water is pumped from the After a while, the bypass valve is closed, and the
reservoir to pass through the proportional valve pump voltage is decreased as well. This is another
controlled by the PID and flown to the process way to decrease the flow.
vessel while being drained by the drain valve back
to the reservoir. After these procedures, the recording of data is
stopped and the Process Trainer is turned off. Data
from the procedures is accessed and used to analyze
the results of the experiment.


The data from output text file of the CE2000 are
graphed, separating the graph from Part 1 of the
procedures from that of Part 2. This is presented in
Figure 4 and Figure 5, from Part 1 and Part 2,
From the set up and the results, it should be
reiterated for clarity that fluid level inside the
process level is not controlled, rather the flow of
fluid into the process vessel. In order to achieve the
flow setpoint, the voltage applied to the proportional
valve is controlled by the PID controller, in contrast
Figure 3. Schematic diagram for experiment with previous experiment where pump is controlled.
A. Part 1 Using Varying Values of Flow Setpoint Thus, the pump is applied with constant voltage,
Initially the flow setpoint is set to 0.5V and the except for the final part of the procedure which
pump voltage is set to 6V. Upon setting these includes a pump voltage step up.
Figure 4. Part 1 Data

Figure 5. Part 2 Data

B. Part 2 Decreasing Loop Flow
A. Part 1 Using Varying Values of Flow Setpoint From Figure 5, it can be determined where the
setpoint is increased to 2V. By increasing the
From Figure 4, it can be seen that for each
setpoint, the flow is expected to also increase such
increase in setpoint, the valve voltage is adjusted
that the flow transmitter returns a value of 2V. Since
accordingly such that the flow setpoint is achieved
the valve voltage is the parameter being controlled
over time. The valve voltage being controlled by the
in this system, it should be observable that the valve
PID controller causes the flow to the process vessel
voltage increasing to achieve the setpoint since the
to overshoot before achieving the setpoint. This is
pump voltage is maintained constant.
expected as the PID uses an integral block along
with the proportional block. From the next procedure, the bypass valve was
opened at some point after increasing the setpoint.
It can also be observed that upon setting the
From this it can be inferred that by closing the
setpoint back ot 0.5V, the valve voltage is also
bypass valve, less fluid is pumped into the loop,
controlled to decrease, only to increase gain again
resulting to the controlled parameter to adjust to
after the flow transmitter output returns a flow value
compensate for the lower fluid in the process loop.
less than the setpoint to achieve the said setpoint.
Thus, the valve voltage is expected to increase
relative to how much the bypass valve is opened.
This is observable in the middle part of the graph both set at 0.5. These gain values directly affect the
(Figure 5), from around 285 seconds of the magnitude of the response, thus a higher value for
procedure data. Consequently, upon closing the either block will cause a larger response, and
bypass valve, the voltage valve is expected to return assuming that the values will not cause the control
to its original value at steady-state flow, also system to become unstable, the response will be
observed in the graph. faster compared to what has been seen in this
experiment. It should be noted, however, that
The final procedure involves decreasing the pump
although increasing the proportional and integral
voltage, thus decreasing the flow into the loop like
gains both increase the magnitude of the output, the
opening the bypass valve. Thus it is also expected
two blocks still differ in the actual output. Also, the
that the valve voltage will increase to compensate
performance of the response is not the focus of
for the decreased flow.
observation since the control system parameters (i.e.
gain values) are not changed throughout the
experiment. In addition to the PID parameters, it
may be pointed out that the Derivative block of the
PID is set to zero, thus not used. As the derivative
block is typically not used as it has a tendency to be
unstable, it should be particularly be used with
caution if it were to be used in this experiment. This
Figure 6. Block diagram is because changes in the flow setpoint and
To be able to visualize the control system better, a disturbances are part of the procedures. Since these
block diagram of the control is presented in Figure adjustments are sudden and relatively large changes,
6. It simply shows that the PID control block, the derivative action is likely to react rapidly and
consisting of the turned on proportional and integral unstably with these changes as it its response
action, is inputted with the error, which is the depends on the predicted value of the process
difference of the flow setpoint and the measured variable. Furthermore, unstable action from the
flow by the flow transmitter; and send an output that control might cause damage to the equipment
controls the valve voltage, which in turns controls through shock or wear out. For the purposes of this
the flow. The flow is constantly being measured by experiment, the derivative block of the PID is
the flow transmitter. This is basically the closed deemed unnecessary and thus set to zero.
feedback system that the control system uses in
order to adjust the valve voltage until steady-state IV. CONCLUSION
output where setpoint flow is achieved. The experiment was able to show how flow in a
From the block diagram and the observations system can be controlled using a proportional valve
made from this experiment, it can be said that the and a PID controller. It has been seen that given
control system provides a slow response when the values for the PID blocks, the proportional valve can
setpoint is varied since it takes a few seconds for the be controlled by using the flow setpoint and the
flow to stabilize at the setpoint. This is both evident current flow measured by the flow transmitter. The
in the first part of the procedures where the response for a change of setpoint and introducing
increment in setpoint value is smaller; as well as in disturbances has also been investigated, and it has
the second part where there is a larger change is been found out using a PID control, changing the
setpoint. setpoint at steady-state will cause the proportional
valve to adjust until the flow reaches the new
When disturbances are introduced in the system setpoint; and that disturbances in the loop flow can
(in this case, opening the bypass valve and adjusting be compensated also by adjusting the proportional
the pump voltage), there is little difference from the valve position, where in a decrease in loop flow will
response speed as compared to when the setpoint is cause the valve to allow more fluid to pass the valve,
changed. At the same time, it can be seen that the thus maintaining the flow. The block diagram for the
process variable flow is exactly the same at the system is also drawn that basically lays out the
setpoint over time. framework of the control system.
This slow response both for changing setpoints
and exposure to disturbances can be attributed to the
values of proportional and integral gain, which are
[1] CE117 Process Trainer User Guide, TecQuipment Ltd 2008