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BASIC CONCEPTS OPEN / CLOSE LOOP Study of Process Control must begin by understanding the concept of Process.

. In the context of Chemical Process Industry, process is an activity that involves raw materials and most often energy coming together to produce a desired product. From a Process Control standpoint, the term also includes the Equipment where the process takes place, for example, the reactor with associated accessories such as the jacket, the agitators, etc. Also a Unit Operation such as drying or distillation, which does not involve any chemical changes, would also be called Process in a discussion of process control. A useful definition of Process in the context of process control is any activity that has one or more process Variables associated with it that are important enough to be controlled and whose values need to be known. Example: Manufacture of Ammonia by combining H2 and N2 at a specified temperature and pressure is an example of a process in the normal sense. However from Process Control standpoint, not only the ammonia reactor but equipment for a unit operation in the Ammonia plant such as a heat exchanger would also be designated as a process while considering control of parameters associated with it. Even though we are familiar with the term Variable, it is necessary to remember in the current context that we are referring to Dynamic or continuously changing variables. Any parameter that changes either spontaneously or because of external influence is a Dynamic Variable. Example: All variables associated with a process or equipment in a process plant are dynamic whether it is the temperature of a batch reactor or temperature of feed to a continuous distillation column or level of a tank. Process Control therefore means regulating one or more dynamic variables associated with the process. Primary objective of process control is to cause some dynamic variable to remain fixed at or near some desired specific value. As the variable itself is dynamic, we must continuously provide corrective action to keep the variable at the fixed value. Regulation is the name given to this operation of maintaining constant the value of a dynamic variable. As defined earlier, process control therefore consists of regulating one or more dynamic variables. A process control system is a set of components working together to achieve the objectives of monitoring, controlling and optimizing a process. Such a system consists of electro-mechanical, analog and digital electronic devices, computer systems with associated hardware and special interfaces for human operators. In the system, there is a continuous interaction taking place between these different components. Modern process control systems perform many more tasks apart from regulating dynamic variables such as supervision and planning. Dynamic variables can be of three primary types: Controlled variables, Manipulated variables and Load variables. As the name suggests, any variable that is being controlled is called a controlled variable. Controlled variables indicate product quality or operating condition of the process.

Example: Temperature, Pressure, Level or Composition could be controlled variables in a given process. For a binary distillation column, the top column temperature could be a controlled variable. A variable which is manipulated in order that the controlled variable gets maintained at the desired value is called the manipulated variable. Flow rate of an incoming or outgoing stream is a very common manipulated variable in a vast majority of processes. A control loop itself can be a manipulated variable for controlling another variable in more complicated systems. A variable which affects the regulation i.e. maintainability of controlled variable at the desired value and is itself not manipulated, is called a load variable. The desired, fixed value at which the controlled variable is to be maintained is called the set point usually abbreviated as SP. The controlled variable is also called the process variable and is abbreviated as PV. For example, even though the desired reactor temperature may be 85 C, the instantaneous PV value may be 83, 84 or 86 C at three different time instants. Example: For a shell and tube heat exchanger used for preheating the raw material stream, the exit temperature is the controlled variable and the process variable, steam flow to the shell side is the manipulated variable and temperature of the stream at the inlet to the heat exchanger could be load variable. The desired exit temperature of 85 C is the Set Point. Instantaneous exit temperature is called PV and may assume values physically achievable, say 83, 84. The value of the electrical signal produced by a controller after comparing the SP and PV values and performing an special internal calculation is called the output and is abbreviated as OP. Output is mostly expressed as a percentage of the full scale, e.g. 67%. An entity consisting of a process, a measurement device, a comparator, a controller and a final control element that acts on the process is called a control loop or simply a loop. Depending upon whether the all these elements of a control loop are connected to each other with the controller working in automatic mode, the loop may be called either a closed loop or an open loop. Illustrative Example: Consider the continuous stirred tank heater shown in figure. The inlet liquid stream has a mass flow rate w and a temperature Ti. The electrical heater provides constant Q KW of heat energy. It is assumed that the inlet and outlet flow rates are identical and that the liquid density rho remains constant. Process: The process is the continuous stirred tank heater along with its upstream and down stream piping and nozzles. Set Point: Tr, the desired exit temperature is the set point for this process (SP). Process variable: T, the instantaneous value of the exit temperature is the process variable (PV). T is also the controlled variable. The control objective for this process is to keep the exit temperature T at a constant value = Tr.

Consider the following two questions: How much heat must be supplied to the continuous stirred tank heater to heat the liquid from an inlet temperature of Ti to an exit temperature of Tr? This can be calculated by writing a steady state energy balance around the continuous stirred tank heater. We assume perfect mixing and negligible heat losses to the surroundings. Q = w * Cp * (T-Ti) If our assumptions are correct and the liquid inlet flow rate and temperature are at their nominal values, this equation will give the heat input that will keep the exit temperature at Tr. Suppose the inlet temperature Ti increases with time. How can we ensure that T remains at or near the set point, Tr? If Q is held constant, we know that the exit temperature will increase so that T > Tr. To deal with this situation, there could be a number of possible strategies for controlling the exit temperature T, as follows: Method 1: Measure T and adjust Q If T is high reduce Q, if it is low, increase Q. A plant operator could observe the measured temperature and compare the measured value to Tr. The operator would then change Q in an appropriate manner. This would be an example of manual control. However it would probably be more convenient and economical to have this task performed automatically by an electronic device rather than a person, that is, by utilising automatic control. Method 2: Measure Ti and adjust Q As an alternative to the first method, we could measure the disturbance or load variable Ti, and adjust Q accordingly. Method 3: Measure T and adjust w If T is high, increase the inlet flow to maintain the energy to mass flow rate same. If T is low, do the opposite. Method 4: Measure Ti and adjust w Same as above except measure the load variable, Ti Method 5: Measure Ti and T and adjust Q This approach is a combination of methods 1 and 2. Method 6: Measure Ti and T and adjust w This approach is a combination of methods 3 and 4. Method 7: Place a heat exchanger on the inlet stream The heat exchanger is intended to reduce the disturbances in Ti and consequently reduce the variations in T. Method 8: Use a larger tank If a larger tank is used then fluctuations in T would be damped out due to the larger thermal capacitance of the tank contents. However an additional heat exchanger or increased volume of tank is an expensive solution for process plants and is not likely to be acceptable to the management.

Let us now classify the eight control strategies and discuss their relative advantages and disadvantages. Methods 1 & 3 are examples of Feedback control strategies. In feedback control, the process variable to be controlled is measured and the measurement is used to adjust another variable, which can be manipulated. Thus for method 1, the measured variable is T and manipulated variable is Q. For method 3 the measured variable is still T but the manipulated variable is now w. Note that in feedback control the disturbance variable Ti is not measured. Method 2 & 4 is Feedforward control strategies. Here the disturbance variable Ti is measured and used to manipulated either Q (method 2) or w (method 4). Note that in Feed forward control the controlled variable T is not measured. Method 5 is a Feedback - Feedforward control strategy since it is a combination of methods 1&2. Method 6 is also a Feedback - Feedforward control strategy since it is a combination of methods 3&4. Method 7 & 8 involves equipment design changes and are therefore not control strategies! Positive and Negative Feedback It is important to make a distinction between negative feedback and positive feedback. Negative feedback refers to the desirable situation where the corrective action taken by the controller tends to move the controlled variable towards the set point. In contrast, when positive feedback exists, the controller tends to make things worse by forcing the controlled variable farther away from the set point. Thus for the stirred tank heater, if T is too high we would decrease Q (negative feedback) rather than increase Q (positive feedback). Effect of disturbances on Feedforward Control strategy Consider the feedforward strategy of method 2 where disturbance in Ti are measured and the measurements are used to adjust the manipulated variable Q. From a theoretical point of view, this control scheme is capable of keeping the controlled variable T exactly at set point Tr despite disturbance in Ti. Ideally, if accurate measurements of Ti were available and if the adjustments in Q were made in an appropriate manner then the corrective actions taken by the heater would cancel out the effects of the disturbances before T is affected. Thus in principle, feedforward control is capable of providing perfect control in the sense that the controlled variable would be maintained at the set point. It is important however to also see how this control strategy would perform if disturbances occur in other process variables. Suppose that the flow rate w cannot be held constant but instead varies over time. In this situation, w would be considered a disturbance variable. If w increases, then the exit temperature T would decrease unless the heater supplies more heat. However in the feedforward control strategy of method 2, the heat input Q is maintained constant, as long as Ti is constant. Thus no corrective action would be taken for unmeasured flow disturbances. In principle, we could deal with this situation by measuring both Ti and w and then adjusting Q to compensate for both of these disturbances. However as a practical matter, it is generally uneconomical to measure all potential disturbances. It would be more practical to use a combined feedforward feedback control system since feedback control provides corrective action for unmeasured disturbances. Consequently, in industrial applications, feedforward control is normally used in combination with feedback control. Effect of disturbances on Feedback Control strategy Let us consider how the feedback control strategy of method 1 would perform in the presence of disturbances in Ti or w. If method 1 were used, no corrective action would occur until after the disturbance has upset the process, that is, after T differed from the set point Tr. Thus by its inherent nature, feedback control is not capable of perfect control since the controlled variable must deviate from the set point before corrective action is taken. However an extremely important advantage of feedback control is that corrective action is taken

regardless of the source of the disturbance. This ability to handled unmeasured disturbances of unknown origin is a major reason why feedback controllers have been so widely used for process control. Reasons for opening of a closed loop A closed loop becomes open when an operator presses the Auto/Manual selection button on its front panel to select the manual mode. Other reasons for opening of a loop are: Failure of the sensor or transmitter which ends the ability of the controller to receive/observe instantaneous values of the controlled variable Saturation of the controller output at 0 or 100%. This ends the ability of a controller to influence the process Failure of the valve actuator due to friction or debris in the valve. Lags Lags or delays in response to a changed condition, are associated with all the physical equipment that form a process control loop. Thus lags are associated with the process, the measuring elements, signal converters, amplifiers, controllers and final control elements of any given loop. Most sensing elements make use of some specific physical phenomena such as change in electrical resistance when temperature changes or change in pressure drop as flow changes, etc. Therefore lags associated with them could be large or small depending on the nature of sensing. Most of todays instrumentation and control equipment is based on electronics and computer technology. These technologies offer high speeds that are order of magnitude higher than the speeds of the underlying processes. The lags associated with them are therefore insignificant compared to the process lags and could be neglected. Process lags -Time constant or pure lag Process, as defined earlier includes chemical or a physical change taking place in a physical equipment such as a reactor, a tank or a heat exchanger. The actual operation may be batch, continuous or a combination of both. Whenever a change in operating conditions of the process such as feed flow, cooling water flow, pressures, temperatures, etc., occurs, the process takes some time before the change produces the desired effect. For example, when steam flow to a batch reactor is increased, the temperature of the contents may not show any marked increase for about 1-5 min depending upon its physical size and operational conditions. This delay or lag in response takes place because of the inherent capacitances and resistances offered by equipment. In a liquid level process, this refers to the cross sectional area and flow resistance, in a thermal process this corresponds to the heat capacity and thermal resistance. For the batch reactor, when steam flow is increased, it takes a while for the steam to heat the metal walls of the jacket from the initial temperature to a new higher temperature. Resistance is offered by the film of condensed steam, the fouling material sticking to the metal wall itself. To see the full effect of increase in steam flow may therefore take a long time. The same applies to the inside of the reactor wall. This type of a lag, arising due to the inherent process characteristics of capacitance and resistance, is called a pure lag. Mathematically, pure lag is a product of the capacitance and resistance and has the units of time. In this form, it is also called the time constant of the given process. Mathematically, the time constant is the time required to attain 63.2% of the desired change in process variable in response to step change in an input variable. First order lag The dynamic characteristics of many physical processes can be represented by linear, first order differential equations. These systems are called first order systems and the lags encountered are called first order lags. Examples of first order systems include temperature measurement by a thermometer, and a mixing tank with continuous incoming and outgoing flows.

Second and higher order lags The dynamics of some physical processes are represented by second order differential equation. Such equations also arise when two first order processes are connected in series. The lag associated with such a system is called a second order lag. For the case involving two first order systems in series, there would be two first order lags present in it. An example of a second order lag is an electrically heated stirred tank process. More complex systems that are described by second or higher order differential equations can always be represented as consisting of a number of first order elements in series. Process dead time, Transportation lag or Distance-velocity lag As the name suggests, this is a delay that occurs because of the time elapsed in transporting material or energy from one point to another. It is a function of the distance to be covered and could be significant, especially in flow systems consisting of pipelines. The parameter associated with the transportation lag is simply the time it takes for the particle of fluid to flow from the entrance to the exit of a pipe, duct or other equipment. In such a system, when a change in an operating condition occurs at the entrance, it can not be detected at the exit until T seconds later where T is the time it takes for the material to pass through the pipe. Transportation lag is quite common in the chemical process industry. Its presence makes the process much more difficult to control. Measurement Lag Just as for the pure lag for a process the measuring elements also exhibit pure lag. For example, as described earlier, response of a thermometer to a change in the operating condition is an example of a measurement lag. Measurement lags, though generally small, could be significant for a fast process. Signal Transmission Lag The transmission lag is not significant for electrical systems. However for very long pneumatic tubing this lag must be taken into account. Some of the corrective actions to reduce the effect of the pneumatic signal transmission lags are use of larger diameter tubing to reduce resistance to the flow of air, use of booster relays in long transmission lines to decrease the signal response time and location of controller as close as possible to the electrical to pneumatic converter if present and pneumatic control valve. Lags in final control elements Pneumatic control valves always have some lag, which means that valve stem motion does not respond instantaneously to a change in the applied pressure from the controller. It has been found that the relationship between flow and valve top pressure for linear valves has a first order lag behavior. However valve lag also may not be significant for most industrial systems since they consist of many first order lags in series