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Control System Applications

ECNG3004_1: Introduction

Lecture covers
1. T he C ontrol P rocess
2. C ontrol T ypes:
B atch,
C ontinuous,
S equential
3. Interesting E xam ples

A Process
Quality Affected by?

A Mixing process (Bateson 1995)

D efinitions
PR O C ESS : An y com bination of m aterials and equipm ent producing a
desired result through changes in energ y, ph ysical or chem ical
properties (Bateson).
B ATC H PR O CESS : A process in w hich m aterials are processed one batch
at a tim e w ith the m ain processing elem ents alternately charged and
em ptied as each batch is processed. Exam ples include alcohol
beverages (in vats), food products, paints, explosives.
C O N TIN U O U S PR O CESS : A process in w hich the product is
m anufactured continuously; a stead y throughput is m aintained through
m ost process elem ents. Exam ples include the m ixing exam ple above,
sheet m etal production, production of petroleum b y-pro ducts etc.
PR O C ESS C O N TR O L: Proce ss control is the procedure used to generate
the desired product from a process b y appropriate m anipulation of
process variables.
Urea, m ethane and am m onia are the result of continuous processing.
S teel, beer and other beverages and food products are the result of batch processing.
Typical process variables include tem perature, level, pressure, flow rate (m ass and
volum e), pH value.

General representation of an Industrial Control System



Feedforward Loop



Process to be


Feedback Loop

Standard Instrumentation
4-20mA Current
3-15psi air pressure



Process Variables plus

auxiliary variables

SYSTEM: A collection of one

or more elements which act
together to produce a prespecified objective. The
system boundary may be
defined by the level of detail
we wish to include and/or the
degree of influence we have
on parameters that affect the
system. Thus we may take
the entire plant as a system;
or we may take it as a
collection of smaller systems
(e.g. the two raw material
tanks may be grouped as one
not usual).

ACTUATOR: A control element used to manipulate the system control inputs. In process control this is usually a
valve which controls input flow rates.
SENSORS: Measuring Elements (transducers) that convert the measured parameter into a more usable form.
CONTROLLER: An element used to co-ordinate measurement and control actions. It will also usually be
responsible for alarm generation.
SYSTEM OUTPUTS: A set of variables which are directly measured or inferred from the measurements of the
system variables. Some outputs are required only for measurement purposes while others are required for both
control and measurement.
PROCESS VARIABLES: Those output variables that are to be controlled.
SYSTEM INPUTS: variables that influence the behaviour of the system. The term is usually reserved to those input
variables that are accessible to the engineer. These are usually determined by
1. Cost of actuation
2. Effectiveness of the input in manipulating the system (control effectiveness)
SYSTEM DISTURBANCES: variables which manipulate the system but which are inaccessible to the engineer.
These can seriously degrade control system performance.
DEMAND: Also called the reference or command signal. This is used to specify desired process variable levels.
SIGNAL CONDITIONER: Compensates for non-idealities in the sensing process so as to output a signal that
directly represents the measured variable. Signal conditioning functions can include simple operations such as
filtering, amplification and conversion (A P-to-I converter changes 3-15psi to 4-20mA). It can also include
mathematical operations such as square root extraction (used with flow sensors employing an orifice, for
example) or linearisation (used for thermocouple compensation, for example).
FEEDBACK LOOP: Sets up the control action whereby the system outputs influence the system control inputs.
This is the most common form of control
FEEDFORWARD LOOP: Sets up a control action whereby the system disturbances influence the system control
inputs. This is not as common as feedback control but may be used in conjunction with the feedback loop to
improve system performance. By itself, feedforward control is an open loop strategy.

Sheet Metal
Rolling Mill

A SERVOMECHANISM is a process in which the variable to be controlled is either a physical position or

velocity. Servomechanisms incorporate some type of motor as the key element; this can be an electric
DC or AC motor, hydraulic motor or pneumatic motor. Servomechanisms employing DC motors were
treated in depth in ECNG2009 Control Systems.

Sequential Control
SEQUENTIAL CONTROL involves sequential execution of welldefined operations that are performed in a prescribed order.
Each step of the prescribed sequence usually requires a switching of
the equipment configuration and may be triggered by time or an
event (push of a button, completion of an earlier task etc.).
Each step may be an open or closed loop continuous process or even a
sequential sub-process.
Industrial sequential controllers may employ relay or semiconductor logic;
more complicated operations are handled by Programmable Logic
Controllers (PLCs).
Example: An automatic washing machine.
Normal Cycle: Start Fill Soak (if soak operation enabled)
Wash/Agitate Drain Spin Stop Fill Wash/Agitate
Drain Spray Spin Stop

Sequential Control Examples

Example: An automatic washing machine.
Normal Cycle: Start Fill Soak (if soak operation enabled) Wash/Agitate
Drain Spin Stop Fill Wash/Agitate Drain Spray Spin Stop
Shown on a Sequence Diagram


Level Sensor


EE32E Automatic Washer

Example of combined sequential and continuous process

Objective: Fill bottles on a conveyor to a

specified minimum level while
minimising wastage
Strategy: Bottle filling is to be effected
by gravity flow from a reservoir. To
ensure that the volume transferred is as
required and within reasonable time,
controls are used to ensure that the
reservoir is topped up to a set level prior
to the filling of each bottle. A continuous
feedback level controller is used for this
purpose. The rest of the strategy is
sequential and entails correct placement
of each bottle beneath the reservoir
spout, opening the spout and checking
to see when bottles are filled.

Bottle filling system

C. Johnson, Process Control Instrumentation Technology

Numerical Control (NC) NUMERICAL CONTROL (NC) and ROBOTICS (Section 2.7 & 2.8 Bateson).
Sequential control generally involves single point (coarse) switching
operations on valves, relays, motors etc. Numerical control on the other
hand uses high resolution 2D and 3D motion to achieve precision
machining operations.
Examples include CNC (computer numerically controlled) lathe operations,
milling and routing. The robotics area uses a similar mechanism to achieve
precision positioning and manipulation of workpieces.
NC machines and their operations are usually the responsibility of
mechanical engineers who prepare the "part programs" for their
operations using their understanding of materials etc.
Industrial robots fall under the responsibility of electrical and/or
mechanical engineers. Various standard languages and part program
definitions used to control these machines


A CNC (Computerised NC) machine. The machine is programmed from the console at right. This particular model seems 11
to be
for precision drilling. From www.baytechnologies.com


Schematic of an NC Drilling MC


The Cincinnati Milacron T3 industrial robot

has 6 degrees of freedom (DOF) allowing it
to duplicate human arm movement.
(Bateson 5th ed.)