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Control of level for a conical tank system (Say at 40 cm level).


Conical tank experimental setup, Level sensor, signal conditioning unit, personal computer, DAQ card.


The control of liquid level is mandatory in process industries. But the control of nonlinear process is
complex. Many process industries use conical tanks because of its non linear shape which contributes
better drainage for solid mixtures, slurries and viscous liquids. So, level control of conical tank presents a
challenging task due to its nonlinearity and constantly changing cross-section.

Conical tank is non-linear in nature because of its varying cross sectional area. For industries using non
linear processes the controller design is a challenging task, because majority of the control theory deals
with linear process. Many industries use proportional controller (PI) and proportional integral derivative
controller because of its simple structure and easy tuning. They are perfect control for linear process.
Tuning of the controller is setting the proportional, integral and derivative constant to get the best
control of the process. The conical tank is highly non linear. But stability of the system may be affected.
So model based controller design is implemented to maintain the desired level.

Here the objective is to implement model based controller design which uses model of the process to
calculate the controller setting, but the structure of the model has not been explicitly involved in the
controller design. There are several alternative controller design methods that make more explicit use of
a process model. One of the methods is internal model control (IMC). The model of the process is run in
parallel with the actual process. The IMC design procedure is exactly same as the open loop control
design procedure. Unlike, the open loop control the IMC structure compensates for disturbances and
model uncertainty.

1. Set the outlet flow valve at a certain position and keep it fixed for the entire run of the
2. Transfer function corresponding to 40 cm height is identified in identification experiment as

Choosing λ=370.49/2=185.245 .(Where λ is the tuning parameter)
Gc(s)=Gc*(s)/(1-Gc*(s)*Gp(s)) Substituting Gc*(s) and Gp(s) in this equation yields :
Thus kp=1.588 ,Ti=370.49s.

3. Open the simulink model PID2017.mdl and enter the constant value as 66.67 and enter the
controller parameters in the PID block. Since we need to control level at 40 cm, 60 cm
corresponds to 100%,therefore 40 cm corresponds to 66.67%.

4. Switch on the system and run the simulation and wait till the controller stabilizes the level at the
desired value (40 cm).

5. Save the data to workspace and plot the graph of Set point and manipulated variable with
respect to time.


It was found that the controller values designed by IMC method for a level of 40cm were found to be
controlling properly at desired set point. IMC structure compensates for disturbances and model

The controller parameters are kp=1.588 ,Ti= 370.49 ,Td=0.

The controller was found to be exhibiting oscillatory response because of the time delay involved in the
system (in placement of valve across the flow path).


Conical tank is a highly nonlinear system where PID control can be applied by considering the transfer
function over different ranges of liquid level. IMC procedure is applied for tuning the controller
parameters for different ranges of liquid level. We developed transfer functions for different ranges of
liquid level from 20cm to 60cm. And we have tuned controller for three ranges of level. It was found
that controller tuned for a particular range works for that range effectively but it is found to be not
controlling if the same controller is applied for some other ranges of liquid level. Oscillatory response of
the controller is because of the time delay involved in the system (in placement of valve across the flow