Applying gain scheduling

Exploring a process scenario that may be a good place to apply a gain scheduling strategy.

02/25/2011


Dear Control Engineering: I enjoyed your article about gain scheduling. I’m curious as to your thoughts about another variable gain scenario. Suppose a PID loop heats a measured but unregulated flowing stream. The changing flow rate would seem to change the response dynamics of the heating loop, requiring different tuning parameters. Is this a suitable case for implementing a gain schedule based on flowrate similar to your tank level application?

Thanks, Dale Cresap.

Vance VanDoren’s Back to Basics article drew a number of comments including this one. Here is Vance’s response:

Yes, I think it is. The time constant of your heating process probably lengthens as the flowrate goes up since a larger portion of the heat added by your PID loop is carried downstream, thereby increasing the time required to reach the setpoint. And since more heat is required to achieve the same temperature change, your process gain probably drops as the flowrate goes up. A gain schedule in your controller should help you combat those effects by forcing the controller to be more aggressive at higher flowrates.

I talked to Vance about his suggestion to clarify a couple points. First, we’re assuming that the temperature sensor feeds its signal to the PID controller, which modulates the heater. Vance thinks that setting the gain schedule based on flow can probably be done more easily from empirical data based on observation rather than a formula, although either could be possible.

I would add another thought, and ask which measuring device should be operative sensor. If the temperature is the wider variable and flow is less subject to change, then the discussion above is probably the way to go. On the other hand, if temperature is relatively stable and the flow can change more drastically, maybe it should be flowmeter? Of course that suggest a completely different control strategy, which we’ll leave for another time.

Peter Welander, pwelander@cfemedia.com



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Mobile HMI; PID tuning tips; Mechatronics; Intelligent project management; Cybersecurity in Russia; Engineering education; Road to IANA
Save energy with automation; Process control system upgrades; Dispelling controll myths; Time-sensitive networking; Control system integration; Road to IANA
Additive manufacturing advancements; Machine vision enhances robotics; Fieldbus evolution; Process safety; Advice from System Integrators of the Year; Road to IANA
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
click me