Deminar #1 Review – PID Control of Sampled Measurements (How to Eliminate Oscillations from Analyzers and Wireless Measurements with a PID Enhancement)

PID Control of Sampled Measurements - Greg McMillan Deminar Series

The first Deminar is history. The seminar-demo showed how an enhanced PID controller can reduce cycling caused by sampled measurements. The benefits are not only the obvious one of less process variability but includes extending valve packing life by reducing the accumulated valve travel and battery life of wireless measurements by reducing the number of communications. The name of this series of live meetings was the result of me mistakenly saying “Deminar” when I meant to say “Seminar-Demo.”

To keep the demo fast enough the process dynamics were in seconds instead of minutes. In other words, the 1 second deadtime and 10 sec time constant of the primary process were chosen to be indicative of a well mixed vessel with a mixing delay of 1 minute and a residence time of 10 minutes. Setpoint changes were made to show the response of a standard PID and an enhanced PID (DeltaV PIDPLUS). In future labs, the testing and importance of dealing with load disturbances will be discussed and demoed. Even though the process dynamics were relatively fast, I did not want to waste precious viewer time or risk viewer boredom staring at a trend chart waiting for the response to develop. Consequently, I shuffled back and forth between the demo and the seminar presentation WebSeminarDemoLab01.pdf and user screens to discuss the concept of the enhanced PID and flexibility of the lab and virtual plant to explore, test, and quantify process control improvements. I could have presented comparison trend charts of a traditional versus enhanced PID as typically seen in most presentations but choose to make the demo more interactive and show the dynamic transition when the enhancement was turned on.

The demo started out with a controller tuned for composition control of a self-regulating process with an online analyzer providing a continuous measurement of vessel composition by means of a probe (e.g. NIR probe in a circulation line). The setpoint response of the standard PID for the continuous measurement was fast and non-oscillatory with almost no perceptible overshoot.

I then set the sample time to be twice the primary process time constant and made another setpoint change. If the time scale was minutes instead of seconds, the 20 minutes sample time would be typical for a chromatograph. Now the setpoint response exhibited a significant overshoot and oscillation. I then cut the reset time in half, a common scenario because of tuning misconceptions or change in process dynamics. The setpoint response developed severe and persistent oscillations . When I switched on the PID enhancement, the oscillations quickly died out. A subsequent setpoint change showed that the enhanced PID response had no overshoot or oscillation.

The last test involved the removal of the sample time and the addition of a 2% sensitivity limit to show the result of an analyzer or wireless measurement with a detection or reporting threshold (called deadband for wireless measurements). The sensitivity limit was purposely chosen to be larger than typically expected to show a clearly recognizable oscillation. I had intended to switch back right away to the traditional PID but instead made the setpoint change to the enhanced PID. I wondered why the response did not show the expected cycling until I realized I had forgotten to switch back to the traditional PID. When I did make the switch to the traditional PID, the cycling started but we ran out of time to show the subsequent limit cycle (perpetual constant amplitude square wave cycle in the process variable and saw tooth cycle in controller output).

For your viewing pleasure, checkout the ScreenCast courtesy of Jim Cahill.

We expect to have the audio glitches worked out for the next Deminar on “PID Control of Valve Sticktion and Backlash” set for April 21 at 1:00 Central Daylight Time – my personal apologies to Europe about the time.