Anadigm automates PID controller development with EDA tool

Campbell, CA—Anadigm announced June 3 an electronic design automation (EDA) tool that fully automates development of analog 'proportional, integral, derivative' (PID) control loops.

By Control Engineering Staff June 9, 2003

Campbell, CA— Anadigm announced June 3 an electronic design automation (EDA) tool that automates development of analog ‘proportional, integral, derivative’ (PID) control loops. The company reports that its AnadigmPID tool reduces to minutes the time required to design and implement one of the most common types of control circuits in industrial, medical, and communications applications.

The tool allows users to build an analog PID control loop on an integrated silicon platform by merely specifying the top-level control coefficients. Once designed and simulated, the controller circuit can be immediately downloaded to a field programmable analog array (FPAA) device for testing and validation.

PID control loops are used in many applications, including motor control; tunable lasers; level and flow control in chemical processes; and temperature control. Until now, however, their design required considerable expertise in analog design techniques, as well as an intimate knowledge of the process being controlled. AnadigmPID abstracts the analog design process to the functional level, so system designers need only to specify the top-level control coefficients. The specified control circuit is implemented automatically on a drift-free, precise, integrated silicon platform.

In what the firm says is another industry first, the implemented control subsystem can be controlled in real time by the embedded system processor, allowing users to build control loops with coefficients that adjust as the system moves from start-up to quiescent. Benefits include a major improvement in system performance and new opportunities for electronics manufacturers to differentiate their systems with innovative control circuits.

AnadigmPID is one of a series of AnadigmAssistant tools that automate construction of complex analog functions involving multiple configurable analog modules (CAMs) in AnadigmDesigner2 EDA software. Abstracting the design process up to the application level, these intelligent synthesis tools embody design knowledge of high-level functions and automate the design process using CAMs as building blocks.

‘This new AnadigmAssistant continues our work to create high-level EDA tools that allow system designers to specify their control system objectives using a familiar form and language, so they can focus on results rather than the nuances of circuit details,’ says Suhel Dhanani, Anadigm’s senior product marketing manager. ‘AnadigmPID allows design engineers to build an entire working analog control loop in silicon rapidly by putting the specifications and tuning under software control.’

Anadigm FPAAs are an analog equivalent to the field programmable gate array (FPGA), allowing a wide range of analog signal processing functions to be implemented in a programmable IC that can be reconfigured in-system by an embedded microprocessor. AnadigmPID is included as part of the AnadigmDesigner2 V2.3.0 EDA tool, which gives designers a drag-and-drop interface to construct complex analog circuits, and then download to the FPAA silicon for testing and validation. When used for a PID control circuit, a single FPAA can replace up to 50 discrete semiconductor and passive components.

‘Our research indicates that FPAAs can be used to implement a majority of the typical PID control loops found in industrial applications,’ says Dhanani. ‘For systems manufacturers, AnadigmPID and FPAAs thus represent an opportunity to shorten design cycles, enhance designer productivity, and reduce the cost of supporting an essential real-world application.’

Control Engineering Daily News DeskJim Montague, news