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Comparing FOPDT and IPDT Model Based PI

Controllers with Disturbance Observer

Peter Ťapák and Mikuláš Huba
Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava
Ilkovičova 3, 812 19 Bratislava, Slovakia
Email: peter.tapak,

Abstract—The first order process model altogether with the II. D EAD T IME TO P ROCESS T IME C ONSTANT R ATIO
proportional-integral (PI) controllers represent the most popular I NFLUENCE A NALYSIS
setting for controller design applied in practice. The paper
compares the performance of two disturbance observer based PI Let us consider linear FOPDT plant with transfer function
controllers, one designed using a FOPDT model combined with
a loop linearization based on inverse input-output steady-state
Ks −Td s
G(s) = e (1)
characteristic and the second using an IPDT model identified in s+a
several working points by a relay experiment. Both approaches
Td being a dead time and T = 1/ |a| being a plant time
are compared by means of a nonlinear laboratory plant model.
constant. The influence of the dead time to process time
constant ratio aTd on IPDT approximation
Ks −Td s
G(s) = e (2)
Numerous papers investigate the transition point when the s
designer should choose to use more complex models - the First has been firstly investigated by simulation. Fig. 1 shows
Order Plus Dead Time (FOPDT) representing one of the most the parameters of the model (2) with Ks = 0.5, a = 0.5
frequently chosen starting models [1], [2], [3]. Nevertheless, obtained by the IPDT relay feedback experiment based on
already the most popular approach by Ziegler and Nichols [4], [8] for the system (1) with dead time varying on interval
[5] based on an approximation of the process reaction curve Td ∈ [0.01, 10]. The method can be used for plants with
by a tangent showed that for a relatively low ratio of the dead unknown load disturbances without additional controller (see
time and the plant time constant it is enough to use the Integral e.g. [9]). There is not necessary to bias the relay reference
Plus Dead Time (IPDT) approximations also for dealing with value to compensate the static disturbance, which does not
stable nearly first order processes with a monotonic setpoint have to be known in advance (see e.g. [10], [11], [12]). The
step response treated in this paper. proposed method uses a curve fitting approach. The FOPDT
However, when using the IPDT approximation for the system output compared to its IPDT approximation is shown
FOPDT process, one meets several problems. The first one in Figs. 2-3. There is obvious that with an increasing aTd the
appears already in the plant identification. The plant feedback approximation fitting decreases. Nevertheless the quality of
that is around an operating point equivalent to a load distur- control using either of the models will be investigated further
bance, will lead to asymmetrical behavior also in the case in the paper.
without an additional load and with symmetrical relay. Hence,
with respect to the precision of the whole approximation, in the A. PI1 - Controller
relay identification this oscillation asymmetry is an important The simplest PI1 - controller (sometime denoted as DO-PI
issue and usually requires to look for alternative approaches controller) employs disturbance observer as the I-action. For
to the describing function method. an IPDT plant and the dead time neglected in the disturbance
The second important problem in the control design for the observer the simplified controller structure consisting of P-
considered plant is represented by its strongly nonlinear input- action and DO is presented in Fig. 4. Index ”1” used in its title
output steady-state characteristic that may either be tackled has to be related to one saturated pulse of the control variable
by an robust approach with a tuning chosen usually to get an that can occur in accomplishing large reference signal steps.
acceptable performance in the worst situations, or by an active In this way it should be distinguished from the PI0 - controller
nonlinearity compensation based on an inverse nonlinearity. reacting to a reference step by a monotonic transient of the
To illustrate pros and cons of both mentioned approaches, manipulated variable. More complex structures with a static
the laboratory plant model will be extended by an additional feed forward and a dead time compensation in the disturbance
dead time with a chosen length. Such a loop will be controlled observer are treated in [6], [7]. To achieve in a closed loop the
by the predictive disturbance observer based filtered PI con- fastest possible transients without overshooting, a controller
troller [6], [7] and evaluated by the time and shape related tuning may be derived by using the performance portrait
performance measures introduced in [6]. method [7]. In following simulations the FOPDT system (1) is
IPDT Model Parameters Dependancy
on FOPDT Plant Dead Time to Process Time Constant Ratio
0.6 6

0.4 4
IPDT Model Parameters

0.2 2

Figure 4. PI1 - controller

IPDT Process Gain
Real Process Gain
Real Dead Time
IPDT Dead time
0 0
0 1 2 3 4 5
Deadtime to Process Time constant Ratio


Figure 1. Approximation parameters dependency on dead time to process
time constant ratio aTd 27

System output


Model vs Measured Data Comparison 24

Dead Time to Process Time Constant Ratio= 0.005
40.3 23 Setpoint
IPDT based control
40.25 22 FOPDT based control
IPDT Approximation
40.2 21
Measured Data − FOPDT Model Output
40.15 20
Process Variable

1 1.05 1.1 1.15 1.2 1.25 1.3 1.35

40.1 Time [s]


40 Figure 5. Control Performance - aTd = 0.005



39.85 controlled. Small, medium and large aTd was used. For very
39.8 low dead time with aTd < 0.1 the performance of controllers
5 5.05 5.1 5.15 5.2 5.25 5.3
Time [s] using particular models was similar (Fig. 5). In Fig. 6 where
the dead time is set to one half of the process time constant
Figure 2. Model vs Real System Comparison - aTd = 0.005, Td = 0.01 one can see that the controller using relay identification based
on an IPDT model yields slower transients.

Model vs Measured Data Comparison

Dead Time to Process Time Constant Ratio= 5

100 30

90 29
IPDT Approximation
80 Measured Data − FOPDT Model Output 28
70 27
Process Variable

60 Setpoint
System output

IPDT based control
50 25 FOPDT based control

40 24
30 23
20 22
10 21
140 160 180 200 220 240
Time [s] 100 105 110 115 120 125 130 135 140 145
Time [s]

Figure 3. Model vs Real System Comparison - aTd = 5, Td = 10

Figure 6. Control Performance - aTd = 0.5
Input−output characteristic y=f(u)

28 60

System output

26 Measured points of IO characteristics

−−−> y
Linear interpolation of IO characteristics

24 Setpoint 30
IPDT based control
FOPDT based control

21 10

20 0
1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 0 20 40 60 80 100
Time [s] −−−> u

Figure 7. Control Performance - aTd = 5 Figure 8. Input-to-output characteristic of the light channel

System Output

In this section, several experiments will be reported carried

Light Intensity
out by using the laboratory thermo-optical plant [13]. The light
channel consist of the light bulb which acts as a light source, 60
the system input is the bulb voltage[0-100 %], the output is 55

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
the value from the light intensity sensor filtered with the first Time [s]
order low pass filter with the time constant set to 2 seconds, 80
Control Signal

which corresponds to a typical FOPDT model. The input-to-

Bulb Power

output characteristics is strongly non-linear as one can see in 70

Fig. 8. This plant could be described by an input nonlinearity

followed by a dominant first-order filter dynamics IPDT
dy/dt = f (uc + di ) − ay (3) 0 1 2 3 4 5
Time [s]
6 7 8 9

with y = f (uc + di ) being an invertible input nonlinearity, di

and uc being an input disturbance and a plant input and y being Figure 9. Control performance - setpoint step response - no additional delay
- linearized system
a plant output. After linearization by an inverse nonlinearity
uc = f −1 (ur ) (4)
the plant may be characterized by the transfer function measured data similar deviations. The first experiment was
  made without any additional delay in the control loop. The
Y (s) Ks Ks 1 IPDT model parameters were
P (s) = ≈ ; = 1 ; T1 = (5)
Ur (s) di =0 s+a a a
After such a nonlinearity compensation, ideally, it should hold Ks1 −Td1 s 0.3718 −0.3035s
e =G1 (s) = e (6)
K = Ks /a = 1. But, due to different imperfections, as e.g. s s
the fluctuations of the plant parameters due to the temperature The FOPDT model parameters were
changes, equivalent input disturbances occur that will be
Ks2 −Td2 s 1.6771 −0.0812s
included within the identified value of an input disturbance di . G2 (s) = e = e (7)
By adding to the relatively short plant dead time an additional s+a s + 0.4993
software dead time Td , one gets typical first order plus dead The second experiment was made by using an additional
time plant. delay 200 ms.

A. Identification Ks1 −Td1 s 0.2752 −0.4994s

e =G1 (s) = e (8)
s s
The results from an IPDT relay feedback experiment based
on [8] and the FOPDT model approximation using setpoint The FOPDT model parameters were
step responses processed by the Matlab ident toolbox are Ks2 −Td2 s 1.6771 −0.2861s
compared in Figs 9-12. For both models and loops with, G2 (s) = e = e (9)
s+a s + 0.4993
or without the nonlinearity compensation, one can from the
System Output
The simulation showed expected results: the control perfor-
mance is better if one uses the FOPDT model to control the
Light Intensity


65 FOPDT plant. However when applied to a real plant without

the non-linearity compensation, the IPDT model performed
IPDT better. The performance of the control loop with the IPDT
0 1 2 3 4
Time [s]
5 6 7 8 9 model was slower in all examined cases, both in simulations
Control Signal and real experiments. However, this made the loop more
robust, it yielded transients without an overshooting with or
without the non-linearity compensation. This altogether with
Bulb Power

40 many closed loop identification methods can make it a safe
20 choice for a practical application.
0 The second important advantage of the relay experiments
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Time [s] is that they may also be used for identification of unstable
processes, where the alternative setpoint step responses may
Figure 10. Control performance - setpoint step response - no additional delay not be mostly applied.
- nonlinear system The third inteeresting point is that the IPDT based relay
experiments may also be used for identification of the internal
feedback parameter a.
System Output
This work has been partially supported by the grants APVV-
Light Intensity

0343-12 Computer aided robust nonlinear control design and
60 Setpoint
VEGA 1/0937/14 Advanced methods for nonlinear modeling
IPDT and control of mechatronic systems.
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
Control Signal
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Bulb Power

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System Output [7] M. Huba, “Performance Portrait Method: a new CAD Tool,” in 10th
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Light Intensity

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Bulb Power

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Figure 12. Control performance - setpoint step response - 200 ms additional
delay - nonlinear system