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Control system

A control system manages, commands, directs, or regulates the behavior of

other devices or systems using control loops. It can range from a single home
heating controller using a thermostat controlling a domestic boiler to large
Industrial control systems which are used for controlling processes or machines.

For continuously modulated control, a feedback controller is used to

automatically control a process or operation. The control system compares the
value or status of the process variable (PV) being controlled with the desired
value or setpoint (SP), and applies the difference as a control signal to bring the
process variable output of the plant to the same value as the setpoint.

For sequential and combinational logic, software logic, such as in a

programmable logic controller, is used.

Contents The centrifugal governor is an early

proportional control mechanism.
Open-loop and closed-loop control
Feedback control systems
Logic control
On–off control
Linear control
Proportional control
Furnace example
PID control
Derivative action
Integral action
Ramp up % per minute
Other techniques
Fuzzy logic
Physical implementation
See also
External links

Open-loop and closed-loop control

There are two common classes of control action: open loop and closed loop. In an open-loop control system, the control action
from the controller is independent of the process variable. An example of this is a central heating boiler controlled only by a
timer. The control action is the switching on or off of the boiler. The process variable is the building temperature.This controller
operates the heating system for a constant time regardless of the temperature of the building.
In a closed-loop control system, the control action from the controller is dependent on the desired and actual process variable. In
the case of the boiler analogy, this would utilise a thermostat to monitor the building temperature, and feed back a signal to ensure
the controller output maintains the building temperature close to that set on the thermostat. A closed loop controller has a
feedback loop which ensures the controller exerts a control action to control a process variable at the same value as the setpoint.
For this reason, closed-loop controllers are also called feedback controllers.[1]

Feedback control systems

In the case of linear feedback systems, a control loop including
sensors, control algorithms, and actuators is arranged in an
attempt to regulate a variable at a setpoint (SP). An everyday
example is the cruise control on a road vehicle; where external
influences such as hills would cause speed changes, and the
driver has the ability to alter the desired set speed. The PID
algorithm in the controller restores the actual speed to the desired
speed in the optimum way, with minimal delay or overshoot, by
controlling the power output of the vehicle's engine.

Control systems that include some sensing of the results they are
trying to achieve are making use of feedback and can adapt to
varying circumstances to some extent. Open-loop control systems Example of a single industrial control loop; showing
continuously modulated control of process flow.
do not make use of feedback, and run only in pre-arranged ways.

Logic control
Logic control systems for industrial and commercial machinery were historically
implemented by interconnected electrical relays and cam timers using ladder
logic. Today, most such systems are constructed with microcontrollers or more
specialized programmable logic controllers (PLCs). The notation of ladder logic A basic feedback loop
is still in use as a programming method for PLCs.[2]

Logic controllers may respond to switches and sensors, and can cause the machinery to start and stop various operations through
the use of actuators. Logic controllers are used to sequence mechanical operations in many applications. Examples include
elevators, washing machines and other systems with interrelated operations. An automatic sequential control system may trigger a
series of mechanical actuators in the correct sequence to perform a task. For example, various electric and pneumatic transducers
may fold and glue a cardboard box, fill it with product and then seal it in an automatic packaging machine.

PLC software can be written in many different ways – ladder diagrams, SFC (sequential function charts) or statement lists.[3]

On–off control
On–off control uses a feedback controller that switches abruptly between two states. A simple bi-metallic domestic thermostat
can be described as an on-off controller. When the temperature in the room (PV) goes below the user setting (SP), the heater is
switched on. Another example is a pressure switch on an air compressor. When the pressure (PV) drops below the setpoint (SP)
the compressor is powered. Refrigerators and vacuum pumps contain similar mechanisms. Simple on–off control systems like
these can be cheap and effective.

Linear control
Linear control systems use negative feedback to produce a control signal to maintain the controlled PV at the desired SP. There
are several types of linear control systems with different capabilities.

Proportional control
Proportional control is a type of linear feedback control system in
which a correction is applied to the controlled variable which is
proportional to the difference between the desired value (SP) and
the measured value (PV). Two classic mechanical examples are
the toilet bowl float proportioning valve and the fly-ball

The proportional control system is more complex than an on–off

control system, but simpler than a proportional-integral-
derivative (PID) control system used, for instance, in an Step responses for a second order system defined
automobile cruise control. On–off control will work for systems by the transfer function ,
that do not require high accuracy or responsiveness, but is not
where is the damping ratio and is the
effective for rapid and timely corrections and responses.
undamped natural frequency.
Proportional control overcomes this by modulating the
manipulated variable (MV), such as a control valve, at a gain
level which avoids instability, but applies correction as fast as practicable by applying the optimum quantity of proportional

A drawback of proportional control is that it cannot eliminate the residual SP–PV error, as it requires an error to generate a
proportional output. A PI controller can be used to overcome this. The PI controller uses a proportional term (P) to remove the
gross error, and an integral term (I) to eliminate the residual offset error by integrating the error over time.

In some systems there are practical limits to the range of the MV. For example, a heater has a limit to how much heat it can
produce and a valve can open only so far. Adjustments to the gain simultaneously alter the range of error values over which the
MV is between these limits. The width of this range, in units of the error variable and therefore of the PV, is called the
proportional band (PB).

Furnace example
When controlling the temperature of an industrial furnace, it is usually better to control the opening of the fuel valve in
proportion to the current needs of the furnace. This helps avoid thermal shocks and applies heat more effectively.

At low gains, only a small corrective action is applied when errors are detected. The system may be safe and stable, but may be
sluggish in response to changing conditions. Errors will remain uncorrected for relatively long periods of time and the system is
overdamped. If the proportional gain is increased, such systems become more responsive and errors are dealt with more quickly.
There is an optimal value for the gain setting when the overall system is said to be critically damped. Increases in loop gain
beyond this point lead to oscillations in the PV and such a system is underdamped. Adjusting gain to achieve critically damped
behavior is known as tuning the control system.

In the underdamped case, the furnace heats quickly. Once the setpoint is reached, stored heat within the heater sub-system and in
the walls of the furnace will keep the measured temperature rising beyond what is required. After rising above the setpoint, the
temperature falls back and eventually heat is applied again. Any delay in reheating the heater sub-system allows the furnace
temperature to fall further below setpoint and the cycle repeats. The temperature oscillations that an underdamped furnace control
system produces are undesirable.
In a critically damped system, as the temperature approaches the setpoint, the heat input begins to be reduced, the rate of heating
of the furnace has time to slow and the system avoids overshoot. Overshoot is also avoided in an underdamped system but an
underdamped system is unnecessarily slow to initially reach setpoint respond to external changes to the system, e.g. opening the
furnace door.

PID control
Apart from sluggish performance to avoid oscillations, another
problem with proportional-only control is that power application
is always in direct proportion to the error. In the example above
we assumed that the set temperature could be maintained with
50% power. What happens if the furnace is required in a different
application where a higher set temperature will require 80%
power to maintain it? If the gain was finally set to a 50° PB, then
80% power will not be applied unless the furnace is 15° below
setpoint, so for this other application the operators will have to
remember always to set the setpoint temperature 15° higher than
actually needed. This 15° figure is not completely constant either: A block diagram of a PID controller
it will depend on the surrounding ambient temperature, as well as
other factors that affect heat loss from or absorption within the

To resolve these two problems, many feedback control schemes

include mathematical extensions to improve performance. The
most common extensions lead to proportional-integral-derivative
control, or PID control.

Derivative action
The derivative part is concerned with the rate-of-change of the
error with time: If the measured variable approaches the setpoint
rapidly, then the actuator is backed off early to allow it to coast to
Effects of varying PID parameters (Kp,Ki,Kd) on the
the required level; conversely if the measured value begins to step response of a system.
move rapidly away from the setpoint, extra effort is applied—in
proportion to that rapidity—to try to maintain it.

Derivative action makes a control system behave much more intelligently. On control systems like the tuning of the temperature
of a furnace, or perhaps the motion-control of a heavy item like a gun or camera on a moving vehicle, the derivative action of a
well-tuned PID controller can allow it to reach and maintain a setpoint better than most skilled human operators could.

If derivative action is over-applied, it can lead to oscillations too. An example would be a PV that increased rapidly towards SP,
then halted early and seemed to "shy away" from the setpoint before rising towards it again.

Integral action
The integral term magnifies the effect of long-term steady-state errors, applying ever-increasing effort until they reduce to zero.
In the example of the furnace above working at various temperatures, if the heat being applied does not bring the furnace up to
setpoint, for whatever reason, integral action increasingly moves the proportional band relative to the setpoint until the PV error is
reduced to zero and the setpoint is achieved.
Ramp up % per minute
Some controllers include the option to limit the "ramp up % per
minute". This option can be very helpful in stabilizing small
boilers (3 MBTUH), especially during the summer, during light
loads. A utility boiler "unit may be required to change load at a
rate of as much as 5% per minute (IEA Coal Online - 2,

Other techniques
It is possible to filter the PV or error signal. Doing so can reduce
the response of the system to undesirable frequencies, to help
reduce instability or oscillations. Some feedback systems will Change of response of second order system to a
oscillate at just one frequency. By filtering out that frequency, step input for varying Ki values.

more "stiff" feedback can be applied, making the system more

responsive without shaking itself apart.

Feedback systems can be combined. In cascade control, one control loop applies control algorithms to a measured variable
against a setpoint, but then provides a varying setpoint to another control loop rather than affecting process variables directly. If a
system has several different measured variables to be controlled, separate control systems will be present for each of them.

Control engineering in many applications produces control systems that are more complex than PID control. Examples of such
fields include fly-by-wire aircraft control systems, chemical plants, and oil refineries. Model predictive control systems are
designed using specialized computer-aided-design software and empirical mathematical models of the system to be controlled.

Hybrid systems of PID and logic control are widely used. The output from a linear controller may be interlocked by logic for

Fuzzy logic
Fuzzy logic is an attempt to apply the easy design of logic controllers to the control of complex continuously varying systems.
Basically, a measurement in a fuzzy logic system can be partly true, that is if yes is 1 and no is 0, a fuzzy measurement can be
between 0 and 1.

The rules of the system are written in natural language and translated into fuzzy logic. For example, the design for a furnace
would start with: "If the temperature is too high, reduce the fuel to the furnace. If the temperature is too low, increase the fuel to
the furnace."

Measurements from the real world (such as the temperature of a furnace) are converted to values between 0 and 1 by seeing
where they fall on a triangle. Usually, the tip of the triangle is the maximum possible value which translates to 1.

Fuzzy logic, then, modifies Boolean logic to be arithmetical. Usually the "not" operation is "output = 1 - input," the "and"
operation is "output = input.1 multiplied by input.2," and "or" is "output = 1 - ((1 - input.1) multiplied by (1 - input.2))". This
reduces to Boolean arithmetic if values are restricted to 0 and 1, instead of allowed to range in the unit interval [0,1].

The last step is to "defuzzify" an output. Basically, the fuzzy calculations make a value between zero and one. That number is
used to select a value on a line whose slope and height converts the fuzzy value to a real-world output number. The number then
controls real machinery.

If the triangles are defined correctly and rules are right the result can be a good control system.
When a robust fuzzy design is reduced into a single, quick calculation, it begins to resemble a conventional feedback loop
solution and it might appear that the fuzzy design was unnecessary. However, the fuzzy logic paradigm may provide scalability
for large control systems where conventional methods become unwieldy or costly to derive.

Fuzzy electronics is an electronic technology that uses fuzzy logic instead of the two-value logic more commonly used in digital

Physical implementation
The range of implementation is from compact controllers often with dedicated
software for a particular machine or device, to distributed control systems for
industrial process control.

Logic systems and feedback controllers are usually implemented with

programmable logic controllers.

A DCS control room where plant

See also information and controls are
Behavior trees (artificial intelligence, robotics and control) displayed on computer graphics
screens. The operators are seated
Building automation
as they can view and control any part
Coefficient diagram method
of the process from their screens,
Control engineering
whilst retaining a plant overview.
Control theory
Distributed control system
Droop speed control
Education and training of electrical and electronics engineers
Good regulator
Hierarchical control system
HVAC control system
Industrial control systems
Motion control A control panel of a hydraulic heat
Networked control system press machine with dedicated
Numerical control software for that function
Perceptual control theory
PID controller
Process control
Process optimization
Programmable logic controller
Sampled data systems

1. "Feedback and control systems" - JJ Di Steffano, AR Stubberud, IJ Williams. Schaums outline series, McGraw-
Hill 1967
2. Kuphaldt, Tony R. "Chapter 6 LADDER LOGIC" (http://www.ibiblio.org/kuphaldt/electricCircuits/Digital/DIGI_6.htm
l). Lessons In Electric Circuits -- Volume IV. Archived (https://web.archive.org/web/20100912090415/http://www.i
biblio.org/kuphaldt/electricCircuits/Digital/DIGI_6.html) from the original on 12 September 2010. Retrieved
22 September 2010.
3. Brady, Ian. "Programmable logic controllers - benefits and applications" (http://www.optimacs.com/wp-content/upl
oads/2012/03/PLC-report.pdf) (PDF). PLCs. Archived (https://web.archive.org/web/20140202000040/http://www.
optimacs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/PLC-report.pdf) (PDF) from the original on 2 February 2014.
Retrieved 5 December 2011.
4. "Archived copy" (http://www.seeei.org.il/prdFiles/2702_desc3.pdf) (PDF). Archived (https://web.archive.org/web/2
0140805131600/http://www.seeei.org.il/prdFiles/2702_desc3.pdf) (PDF) from the original on 2014-08-05.
Retrieved 2014-04-07. ABB: Power Generation Energy Efficient Design of Auxiliary Systems in Fossil-Fuel
Power Plants, Page 262, Section: Load Following

External links
Semiautonomous Flight Direction - Reference unmannedaircraft.org (http://www.unmannedaircraft.org/f/pat64608
Control System Toolbox (http://www.mathworks.com/products/control/) for design and analysis of control
Control Systems Manufacturer (http://www.trminternational.com/) Design and Manufacture of control systems.
Mathematica functions for the analysis, design, and simulation of control systems (http://reference.wolfram.com/

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