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Cascade control may be applied when a process is composed of two or more (sub)

processes in series. To apply cascade control, the output of each of these processes must
be measured. The input to the first process is directly manipulated. Since the output of each
process in the series is the primary input of the next process in the series, any change in the
manipulated input to the first process in the series will impact the output of the other
processes. The output of each process in the series is the controlled parameter of the PID
associated with that process. The PID blocks that make up a cascade control strategy are
commonly referred to in the following manner:

Cascade inner, secondary, or slave loop – PID in a cascade strategy that manipulates
the process input.

Cascade outer, primary, or master loop – PID associated with the final output of the
processes making up a cascade.

Cascade intermediate loops – PIDs positioned between the outer and inner loops of a
cascade. Primary and intermediate loops are configured to adjust the setpoint of the PID
associated with the upstream.
process in the series. An example of cascade control for a process made up of two (sub)
processes in series, which is known as a dual loop cascade, is illustrated in Figure 13-11.

The PIDs that make up a cascade loop must be commissioned in the order of the process
units, starting with the slave loop. In automatic and manual mode, the slave PID of a cascade
behaves like a single-loop controller. The tuning techniques previously discussed for single
loop may be used to tune the slave PID. Once the slave loop has been tuned for fast
response, then the mode of the slave PID should be set to Cascade to allow the PID for the
next process in the series to be tuned.

In this dual loop cascade example, the master PID output determines the setpoint of the
slave PID. The response of the control parameter of the master PID for a step change in the
master PID output reflects the response of processes 1 and 2 as well as the tuning of the
slave controller. It is critical that the slave PID controller be tuned before any attempts are
made to tune the master PID controller. The slave PID is considered to be part of the process
equipment addressed by the master controller. Therefore, after the slave controller is tuned
and placed in cascade control, the master controller may be tuned using the tuning
techniques previously discussed for single-loop control. In this case, the manipulated
parameter is the setpoint of the slave loop and the controlled parameter is the output of
Process 2.

Benefits

The process example used to illustrate the concepts of cascade control could have been
implemented using single-loop control. If it were implemented as a single loop, the
manipulated parameter would be the input to Process 1 and the controlled parameter would
be the output of Process 2. The question might be, “Why go to this level of complexity? Why
not just use single-loop control?” One of the main reasons for implementing cascade control
is that the PID at each point in the cascade can react quickly to disturbance inputs to its
associated process. If the PID responds quickly enough, changes introduced by disturbance
inputs will have little or no impact on the downstream processes. For example, the rule of
thumb when applying dual loop cascade control is that the process associated with the slave
loop should have a response time that is at least four times faster than the process
associated with the master loop. In this example, cascade control might be justifiable if there
were significant load disturbances to Process 1. However, cascade control provides no
advantage in minimizing the impact of load disturbances to Process 2. Cascade control may
be implemented in some cases to compensate for the non-linear installed characteristic of
a regulating valve. For example, the slave loop of a cascade might be associated with a flow
process where the installed characteristic of the valve is non-linear. Since the flow process
is capable of very fast changes in flow rate, the slave loop could be tuned to quickly adjust
the valve to achieve the flow rate setpoint requested by the master loop. The non-linear
installed characteristic of the valve would have no impact on the tuning or response of the
master loop. This is a real benefit if the process associated with the master loop is very slow
to change. For example, control performance of a slow responding temperature process
could be improved by the application of cascade control since a non-linear installed
characteristic and any is non-linear. Since the flow process is capable of very fast changes
in flow rate, the slave loop could be tuned to quickly adjust the valve to achieve the flow rate
setpoint requested by the master loop. The non-linear installed characteristic of the valve
would have no impact on the tuning or response of the master loop. This is a real benefit if
the process associated with the master loop is very slow to change. For example, control
performance of a slow responding temperature process could be improved by the
application of cascade control since a non-linear installed characteristic and any
disturbances to the flow process have no impact on the master loop. As with feedforward
control, the added cost of implementing cascade control is associated with the purchase,
installation, and maintenance of one or more transmitters to measure process outputs that
may not be available or required for single-loop control. More time is required to engineer
and commission a cascade control strategy. Also, time may be required to train operators
on how to interact with a cascade control strategy. The process improvements that may be
achieved using cascade control must justify this added expense.

Example –

Superheater Temperature Control.

Chemical Reactor.

Implementation As we have seen, cascade control may be implemented when a process


is made up of a series of processes. The outlet of each process in this series must be
available as a process measurement. Also, one PID block is required for each process in
the series. The implementation of a dual cascade control is illustrated in Figure 13-13 where
the PID, analog input, and analog output blocks are based on Fieldbus Foundation blocks.
For normal operations, the PID block used in the master loop is maintained in Automatic
mode. The PID used for the slave loop is operated in cascade mode. The PID output of the
master loop is connected to the cascade input of the PID of the slave loop. The PID output
of the slave loop regulates the process input through an analog output block.

The convention for function block implementation is that information in the control path flows
from left to right. Thus, the PID associated with the master loop appears on the far left and
the slave loop is shown on the far right in this drawing. On a Piping and Instrumentation
Diagram (P& ID), the process flow may be from left to right. Thus, the order of the process
units and the cascade elements in these drawings is often reversed. The status of the back
calculation connections used in a cascade strategy is used to automatically provide
bumpless transfer when a PID is changed from manual or Automatic mode to Cascade
mode. The back calculation connections between the PID blocks and analog output block
are critical for correct operation. During normal plant operations, it is possible for the analog
output block or for the output of the PID blocks in the cascade strategy to become limited.
For example, the block setpoint or output has reached a high or low limit value.
Workshop – Cascade Control.

Split-range Control

One of the most common ways of addressing multiple process inputs is One of the most
common ways of addressing multiple process inputs is One of the most common ways of
addressing multiple process inputs is known as split-range control. Using this approach, a
splitter block is used to map the controller output to multiple manipulated process inputs.
The splitter block may be used to define a fixed relationship between the controller output
and each manipulated process input as illustrated in Figure 13-23.

In this example, the controller output is shown on the x-axis. The input values to the two
valves as calculated by the splitter are labeled in this figure as A and B. The splitter defines
how each valve is sequenced as the controller output changes from 0 to 100%. From the
controller’s perspective, it appears as though there is only one manipulated process input
and the splitter is considered to be part of the process. Once the splitter has been configured,
the PID block used with the splitter can be commissioned and operated in the same manner
as a single-loop controller. Through the use of the splitter block, the two valves are
sequenced in a fixed way so that they essentially look like one valve to the control. The
various ways in which the valves may be sequenced using the splitter block will be illustrated
through a number of examples.

Blevins, Terrence; Nixon, Mark. Control Loop Foundation - Batch and Continuous Processes
(Posición en Kindle4174-4177). International Society of Automation. Edición de Kindle.

Blevins, Terrence; Nixon, Mark. Control Loop Foundation - Batch and Continuous Processes
(Posición en Kindle4171-4174). International Society of Automation. Edición de Kindle.

Blevins, Terrence; Nixon, Mark. Control Loop Foundation - Batch and Continuous Processes
(Posición en Kindle4168-4170). International Society of Automation. Edición de Kindle.

Blevins, Terrence; Nixon, Mark. Control Loop Foundation - Batch and Continuous Processes
(Posición en Kindle4168). International Society of Automation. Edición de Kindle.

Blevins, Terrence; Nixon, Mark. Control Loop Foundation - Batch and Continuous Processes
(Posición en Kindle4168). International Society of Automation. Edición de Kindle.

Blevins, Terrence; Nixon, Mark. Control Loop Foundation - Batch and Continuous Processes
(Posición en Kindle4168). International Society of Automation. Edición de Kindle.

Blevins, Terrence; Nixon, Mark. Control Loop Foundation - Batch and Continuous Processes
(Posición en Kindle4167). International Society of Automation. Edición de Kindle.