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Dedicated Controls

Dedicated Controls January 1, 1998

Single-Loop PID Controller

Marlborough, Mass.— Dataflo-C is a digital proportional, integral, derivative single-loop controller. The device, which is aimed at industrial processes, features a rugged valve and actuator package, on-board diagnostics, autotuning capability, and remote or local setpoint control. It accepts a variety of process inputs and can take total control of process parameters either locally or v...

By Staff
Dedicated Controls January 1, 1998

PC-Based Control Software Runs on Schedule

One of the advantages that programmable logic controllers (PLCs) have traditionally offered for the purposes of real-time control has been deterministic operations. That is, they have the ability to apply their control efforts at precisely timed intervals. This feature allows a PLC to work with sampled data, knowing that each sample represents a uniform period of process activity.

By Vance J. VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E.
Dedicated Controls December 1, 1997

Proper Motor Protection Safeguards Your Investments

With electric motors driving the majority of today’s manufacturing processes, proper motor protection is critical. Not surprisingly, a significant amount of effort and resources have recently been invested in motor protection technology, resulting in cost-effective solutions to many of today’s common motor problems. Motors fail for a number of reasons–moisture and contamination, short circuits, mechanical problems and old age–but the primary reason is excessive heat, caused by excess current (greater than normal motor full load current), high ambient temperatures, and poor ventilation of the motor. The diagram shows the reduced life of a motor at various levels of overheating.

By Steve Zimmerman
Dedicated Controls September 1, 1997

Self-Tuning Controllers Auto-Select P, I, D Values

Tuning a PID controller is conceptually simple–observe the behavior of the controlled process and fine tune the controller’s proportional (P), integral (I), and derivative (D) parameters until the closed-loop system performs as desired. However, PID tuning is often more of an art than a science. The best choice of tuning parameters depends upon a variety of factors including the dynamic behavior of the controlled process, the controller’s objectives, and the operator’s understanding of the tuning procedures. Self-tuning PID controllers simplify matters by executing the necessary tuning procedures automatically.

By Vance J. VanDoren, Consulting Editor
Dedicated Controls September 1, 1997

LonWorks Helps Get Semiconductor System ‘Pumped’


By Control Engineering Staff
Dedicated Controls July 1, 1997

Intrinsic safety protects your plant against explosions

Explosions can be prevented by limiting the amount of electrical energy available in hazardous areas or by containing the situation using bulky, heavy devices called ‘explosion-proof enclosures.’ Limiting excess electrical parameters such as voltage and amperage (current) requires the use of energy-limiting devices known as ‘intrinsically safe (IS) barriers.’ Explosion-proof enclosures prevent or control explosive situations with brute force. They are heavy containers designed to hold an explosion inside. Electrical devices within explosion-proof enclosures can operate at normal power levels.

By Henry M. Morris
Dedicated Controls January 1, 1997

PID–The Basic Technique for Feedback Control

A feedback controller is designed to generate an output that causes some corrective effort to be applied to a process so as to drive a measurable process variable towards a desired value known as the setpoint. Shown is a typical feedback control loop with blocks representing the dynamic elements of the system and arrows representing the flow of information, generally in the form of electrical signals. Virtually all feedback controllers determine their output by observing the error between the setpoint and the actual process variable measurement. PID control A proportional-integral-derivative or ‘PID’ controller looks at the current value of the error, the integral of the error over a recent time interval, and the current derivative of the error signal to determine not only how much of a correction to apply, but for how long.

By Vance VanDoren, Consulting Editor
Dedicated Controls December 1, 1996

Multivariable Controllers Balance Performance with Cost

Controllers that juggle multiple process variables are neither simple nor common, but they can handle some of the most complex control problems.

Dedicated Controls September 1, 1996

Sampled Control, Better Results With Less Data

Control Engineering classic: In this article, the consequences of performing feedback control with sampled rather than continuous data are examined.

Dedicated Controls May 1, 1996

The Smith Predictor: A Process Engineer’s Crystal Ball

Arguably the trickiest problem to overcome with a feedback controller is process deadtime -- the delay between the application of a control effort and its first effect on the process variable. During that interval, the process does not respond to the controller's activity at all, and any attempt to manipulate the process variable before the deadtime has elapsed inevitably fails. This classic article is among the most-read on the Control Engineering site. (See diagrams.)