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**For the Allen-Bradley Family of PLCs
**

A Best-Practices Approach

to Understanding and Tuning PID Controllers

First Edition

by Robert C. Rice, PhD

2

Table of Contents

Forward 3

The PID Controller and Control Objective 4

Testing: Revealing a Process’ Dynamics 6

Control Station’s NSS Modeling Innovation 9

Data Collection: Speed is Everything 10

The FOPDT Model: The Right Tool for the Job 12

Is Your Process Non-Integrating or Integrating? 13

Process Gain: The “How Far” Variable 14

Time Constant: The “How Fast” Variable 16

Dead-Time: The “How Much Delay” Variable 18

Changing Dynamic Process Behavior 19

The Basics of PID Control 20

Rules of Thumb: PID Controller Configurations 21

Using and Calculating the PI Controller Tuning Parameters 22

Notes Concerning Specific Allen-Bradley PID Algorithms 24

Introducing LOOP-PRO TUNER (Allen-Bradley Edition)

Copyright © 2010 Control Station, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Control Station, the Control Station logo, the LOOP-PRO TUNER logo, and the NSS Modeling

Innovation are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Control Station Incorporated in

the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their

respective owners.

26

3

Forward

Tuning PID controllers can seem a mystery. Parameters

that provide effective control over a process one day fail to

do so the next. The stability and responsiveness of a

process seem to be at complete odds with each other. And

controller equations include subtle differences that can

baffle even the most experienced practitioners. Even so,

the PID controller is the most widely used technology in

industry for the control of business-critical production

processes and it is seemingly here to stay.

This guide offers a “best-practices” approach to PID

controller tuning. What is meant by a “best-practices”

approach? Basically, this guide shares a simplified and

repeatable procedure for analyzing the dynamics of a

process and for determining appropriate model and tuning

parameters. The techniques covered are used by leading

companies across the process industries and they enable

those companies to consistently maintain effective and safe

production environments. What’s more, they’re techniques

that are based on Control Station’s Practical Process Control

– a comprehensive curriculum that has been used to train

over a generation of process control professionals.

Our guide provides the fundamentals – a good starting

point for improving the performance of PID controllers. It

offers an introduction to both the art and the science

behind process control and PID controller tuning. Included

are basic terminology, steps for analyzing process

dynamics, methods for determining model parameters, and

other valuable insights. With these fundamentals we

encourage you to investigate further and fully understand

how to achieve safe and profitable operations. As I shared,

the PID controller appears here to stay.

Robert C. Rice, PhD

Control Station, Inc.

4

The PID Controller and Control Objective

Through use of the Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID)

controller, automated control systems enable complex

production process to be operated in a safe and profitable

manner. They achieve this by continually measuring

process operating parameters such as Temperature,

Pressure, Level, Flow, and Concentration, and then by

making decisions to open or close a valve, slow down or

speed up a pump, or increase or decrease heat so that

selected process measurements are maintained at the

desired values. The overriding motivation for modern

control systems is safety. Safety encompasses the safety

of people, the safety of the environment, as well as the

safety of production equipment. The safety of plant

personnel and people in the surrounding community should

always be the highest priority in any plant operation.

Good control is subjective. One engineer’s concept of good

control can be the epitome of poor control to another. In

some facilities the ability to maintain operation of any loop

in automatic mode for a period of 20 minutes or more is

considered good control. Although subjective, we view

good control as an individual control loop’s ability to

achieve and maintain the desired control objective. But

this view introduces an important question: What is the

“control objective”?

It can be argued that knowing the control objective is the

single most important piece of information in designing and

implementing an effective control strategy. Understanding

the control objective suggests that the engineering team

has a firm grasp of what the process is designed to

accomplish. This must be the case whether the goal is to

fill bottles to a precise level, maintain the design

temperature of a highly exothermic reaction without

blowing up, or some other objective. Truly the control

objective involves this and more.

5

Shown on the right is a typical surge

tank. Surge tanks are used to

minimize disturbances to other

downstream production processes.

T h e y a r e u s u a l l y t u n e d

conservatively, allowing the Process

Variable to drift above and below set

point without exceeding the upper

or lower alarms limits. In most

cases, tight control over a surge

tank is counterproductive as tight

control does not adequately insulate

other production processes from

disturbances.

Shown on the left is a steam drum.

Steam drums act as a reservoir of

water and/or steam for boiler

syst ems. They ar e t ypi cal l y

engineered with very tight tolerances

around set point in order to maintain a

specific level of steam production.

Variation of the level is detrimental to

t he pr ocess’ ef f i c i ency and

productivity.

The PID Controller and Control Objective

6

Testing: Revealing a Process’ Dynamics

The best way to learn about the dynamic behavior of a

process is to perform tests. Even though open loop (i.e.

manual mode) tests provide the best data, tests also can be

performed successfully in closed loop (i.e. automatic mode).

The goal of a test is to move the controller output (CO) both

far enough and fast enough so that the dynamic

characteristics of the process is revealed through the

response of the Process Variable (PV). As shared

previously, the dynamic behavior of a process usually differs

from operating range to operating range, so be sure to test

when the Process Variable is near the value for normal

operation of the process.

Production processes are inherently noisy. As a result,

process noise is typically visible in the data, showing itself

as random chatter. It must be considered prior to

conducting a test. If the test performed is not sufficient in

magnitude, then it is quite possible that process noise will

mask the dynamics – completely or partially – and prevent

effective tuning. To generate a reliable process model and

effective tuning parameters, it is recommended that only

tests that are 5-10 times the size of the noise band be

performed.

Disturbances represent another important detail that must

be considered when performing tests. A good test

establishes a clear correlation between the planned change

in controller output with the observed change in measured

Variable. If process disturbances occur during testing, then

they may influence the observed change in the measured

Variable. The resulting test data would be suspect and, as

a result, additional testing should be performed.

There are a variety of tests that are commonly performed

in industry. They include the Step, Pulse, Doublet, and

Pseudo Random Binary Sequence. Examples of each are

shown on the following page.

7

Testing: Revealing a Process’ Dynamics

Step Test – A step test is when the

controller output is “stepped” from one

constant value to another. It results in

the measured Variable moving from one

steady state to a new steady state.

Unfortunately, the step test is simply too

limiting to be useful in many practical

applications. The drawback is that it takes

the process away from the desired

operating level for a relatively long period

of time which typically results in

significant off-spec product that may

require reprocessing or even disposal.

Pulse Test – A pulse test can be thought

of as two step tests performed in rapid

succession. The controller output is

stepped up and, as soon as the measured

variable shows a clear response, the

controller output is then returned to its

original value. Ordinarily, the process

does not reach steady state before the

return step is made. Pulse tests have the

desirable feature of starting from and

returning to an initial steady state.

Unfortunately, they only generate data on

one side of the process’ range of

operation.

Doublet Test – A doublet test is two

pulse tests performed in rapid succession

and in opposite directions. The second

pulse is implemented as soon as the

process has shown a clear response to the

first pulse. Among other benefits, the

doublet test produces data both above

and below the design level of operation.

For this reason, many industrial

practitioners find the doublet to be the

preferred test method.

PRBS Test – A pseudo-random binary

sequence (PRBS) test is characterized by

a sequence of controller output pulses

that are uniform in amplitude, alternating

in direction, and of random duration. It is

termed "pseudo" as true random behavior

is a theoretical concept that is

unattainable by computer algorithms. The

PRBS test permits generation of useful

dynamic process data while causing the

smallest maximum deviation in the

measured variable from the initial steady

state.

8

Testing: Revealing a Process’ Dynamics

When performing tests and evaluating results, consider the

following three(3) questions:

1. Was the process at a relative “steady state” before

the test was initiated?

Beginning at steady state simplifies the process of

determining accurate model and tuning parameters. It

allows for a clear relationship between the change in

controller output and the associated response from the

manipulated measured variable to be demonstrated. Said

another way, it eliminates concern that test results may

have been compromised by other non-test-related

dynamics within the process. This is true when calculating

model and tuning parameters by hand as well as when

using most tuning software tools.

2. Did the dynamics of the test clearly dominate any

apparent noise in the process?

It is important that the change in either controller output or

set point cause a response that clearly dominates any

process noise. To meet this requirement, the change in

controller output should force the measured variable to

move at least 5-10 times the noise band. By doing so, test

results will be easier to analyze.

3. Were disturbances absent during testing?

It is essential that test data contain process dynamics that

were clearly – and in the ideal world exclusively – forced by

changes in the controller output. Dynamics resulting from

other disturbances – known or unknown – will undermine

the accuracy of the subsequent analysis. If you suspect

that a disturbance corrupted the test, it is conservative to

rerun the test.

9

Control Station’s NSS Modeling Innovation

Traditional “state-of-the-art” process modeling and tuning

tools require steady-state operation before conducting

tests. Failure to achieve or maintain steady-state operation

during these tests impairs the efficacy of the model

parameters produced by such tools. Depending on the

process involved, the impact of sub-optimal model

parameters can be significant in terms of associated

increases in production cost, reduction of production

throughput, compromising of production quality, and

overall undermining of production safety.

Control Station’s NSS Model Fitting Innovation applies a

unique method for modeling dynamic process data and

does not require steady-state operation prior to performing

tests. As a result, the innovation offers significant

advantage over other modeling and tuning technologies.

The NSS Model Fitting Innovation does not utilize a specific

data point or average data point as a “known” and is

therefore not constrained by it. Rather, the NSS Model

Fitting Innovation centers the model across the entire range

of data under consideration. Since no data point is

weighted disproportionately in the calculation and

minimization of Error, the innovation is free to consider all

possible model adjustments and to optimize the model’s fit

relative to all of the data under analysis.

Shown on the left is a trend

depicting the model fit

produced by traditional PID

tuning software. The process

is in the midst of a transition,

preventing the software from

accurately describing the

process’ dynamic behavior.

Shown on the right is a trend of

the same process data and the

corresponding model generated

with LOOP-PRO TUNER. Even

though in the midst of a

transition, LOOP-PRO TUNER

accurately models the dynamic

behavior and produces effective

tuning parameters.

Traditional Modeling Software

LOOP-PRO TUNER

10

Data Collection: Speed is Everything

When using software to model a process and tune the

associated PID controller, be aware that the data collection

speed is as important as any other aspect of the test. As

shared previously, a good test should be plain as day – it

should start at steady state and show a response that is

distinct from any noise that may exist in the process. But if

data is not collected at a fast enough rate, the software will

be unable to provide an accurate model and in all likelihood

the effort to tune the controller will fail.

They say a broken watch is right twice a day. Now imagine

a highly oscillatory process that swings 15% above and

below set point every minute. That same process would be

at the desired set point twice each minute – every 30

seconds or so. If data for this process is captured every 30

seconds, it is possible that the data would show a flat line

and suggest that the process is under perfect control. That

data collection rate is clearly not fast enough to provide

adequate resolution.

Data should be collected at a minimum of ten (10) times

faster than the rate of the Process Time Constant. To be

clear, if the Process Time Constant is 10 seconds, then data

should be collected no slower than once per second. That

will assure that sufficient resolution is captured in the data.

Basic recommendations for data collect speed are listed

below:

Process Type Recommended Sample Rate

Flow, Pressure Less than 2 Seconds is Desirable

Level

Between 1-5 Seconds Depending on Tank Size

(i.e. the smaller the tank, the faster the sample

Fast Temperature Between 5-15 Seconds

Slow Tempera- Between 15-30 Seconds

pH, Concentration Between 5-30 Seconds

11

The first example shows a trend depicting a series of changes to valve

position and their associated impact. The data was taken directly from

the plant’s data historian. As the arrows point out, the data suggests

that the measured variable started to change before the valve’s

position was adjusted. That is either a sign of a very smart and psychic

process or one where the data doesn’t adequately tell the story.

The second example involves a flow loop where data was collected at a

rate of 30 seconds. When trying to assess the dynamic behavior of a

process, it is important to have access to data that is collected fast

enough so that the shape of the response is visible. In this case, data

from the plant’s historian only shows the starting and ending points

associated with the increases to controller output. Absent is any truly

useful information related to the process’ dynamic behavior.

Data Collection: Speed is Everything

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Shown below are a pair of real-world examples where the

data collection rates were too slow and the information

insufficient for tuning.

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12

The FOPDT Model: The Right Tool for the Job

Success in controller tuning largely depends on successfully

deriving a good model from bump test data. The First Or-

der Plus Dead-Time (FOPDT) model is the principal model –

or tool – used in tuning PID controllers. That requires an

explanation given that the FOPDT model is too simple for

time varying and non-linear process behavior.

Though only an approximation – for some processes a very

rough approximation – the value of the FOPDT model is

that it captures the essential features of dynamic process

behavior that are fundamental to control. When forced by

a change in the controller output, a FOPDT model reasona-

bly describes how the measured variable will respond. Spe-

cifically, the FOPDT model determines the direction, how

far, how fast, and with how much delay the measured vari-

able should respond with relative accuracy.

The FOPDT model is called "first order" because it only has

one (1) time derivative. The dynamics of real processes are

more accurately described by models that possess second,

third or higher order time derivatives. Even so, use of a

FOPDT model to describe dynamic process behavior is usu-

ally reasonable and appropriate for controller tuning proce-

dures. Practice has also shown that the FOPDT model is

sufficient for use as the model in more advanced control

strategies such as Feed Forward, Smith Predictor, and mul-

tivariable decoupling control.

The FOPDT model is comprised of three (3) parameters:

Process Gain, Process Time Constant, and Process Dead-

Time. The remaining portion of this guide will focus on

steps that can be followed to determine values for each of

these parameters. Once determined, the guide will intro-

duce tuning correlations with which tuning parameters can

be derived and used by the associated PID controller.

13

The plots below show idealized trends from two processes

as they respond to a step test. The process on the left is

non-integrating, also called self-regulating. The process on

the right is integrating, also called non-self-regulating.

Understanding the difference prior to modeling the process

data is critical as applying the wrong model can have a

significant effect on the tuning parameters that are

calculated. More importantly, choosing the wrong model

can have a negative effect on your ability to control the

process safely.

A characteristic behavior of a non-integrating process is

that it will naturally “self-regulate” itself – it will transition

to a new steady state over time. As shown in the trend,

the process responds to the change in controller output and

tapers off to a new steady state of operation.

In contrast, an integrating process does not have a natural

balance point. As shown in the trend, the process moves

steadily in one direction after the change in controller

output occurs. The steady change associated with a

integrating or non-self-regulating process will not stop until

corrective action is taken.

Is Your Process Non-Integrating or Integrating?

14

Process Gain: The “How Far” Variable

Process Gain is a model parameter that describes how

much the measured variable changes in response to

changes in the controller output. A step test starts and

ends at steady state, allowing the value of the Process Gain

to be determined directly from the plot axes. When viewing

a graphic of the step test, the Process Gain can be

computed as the steady state change in the measured

variable divided by the change in the controller output

signal that forced the change.

The formula for calculating Process Gain is relatively simple.

It is the change of the measured variable from one steady

state to another divided by the change in the controller

output from one steady state to another.

The strip chart below offer a graphic by which the Process

Gain can be determined. The graphic shows a 10% change

in the controller output – the output increases from 50% to

60%. The measured variable reacts to that change by

moving from a steady state value of ~2.0 meters to a new

steady state value of ~3.0 meters.

The graphic shows how the Process Gain from this example

should be calculated. The change in the measured variable

is equal to 1.0 meter (i.e. ~3.0 meters - ~2.0 meters = 1.0

meter). The change in controller output is equal to 10%

(i.e. 60% - 50% = 10%). Process Gain can then be

computed as 0.1 meters/percent.

SteauyǦState Piocess uain ൌ

SteauyǦState Change in Piocess vaiiable οܸܲ

SteauyǦState Change in Contiollei 0utput οܥܱ

15

Calculating Process Gain in Percent Span Units

Process Gain is based on the same unit values that are

used in the process. These units are typically engineering

units such as flow rates (e.g. GPM, or gallons per minute),

temperature (e.g. °C, or degrees Celsius,), and pressure

(e.g. PSI, or pounds per square inch). It is important to

note that the controller does not use these engineering

units in its calculation. Instead, the controller uses the

percent span of signal. When using the Process Gain in

connection with the tuning correlations that follow, it is

important to convert this Process Gain into units that reflect

the manufactures' “percent span”. This can be

accomplished by using the following formula:

MATH ALERT:

The process gain calculated on the previous page is from a

control loop that has a measured variable span of 0 to 10

meters, and a controller output span of 0 to 100%. To

convert this into the percent span units for use in the

controller tuning correlations, see the below formula:

This Process Gain can be interpreted to mean that for every

1% that the controller output increases, the measured

variable will increase by 1% of its total span. This value in

percent span units should be between 0.5 and 2.5 for a well

designed process. Controller Gains above the 2.5 upper

limit are typically the result of a control valve or pump

being oversized for its particular application. Values for the

controller gain below the 0.5 lower limit are usually from an

over-spanned sensor.

Piocess uain ሾΨSpanሿ ൌ ܭ

ൈ

ͳͲͲΨܸܲ െͲΨܸܲ

ܸܲܯܽݔ െܸܲܯ݅݊

ൈ

ܥܱܯܽݔ െܥܱܯ݅݊

ͳͲͲΨܥܱ െͲΨܥܱ

Piocess uain ሾΨSpanሿ ൌ ͲǤͳͲ

݉

Ψܥܱ

൨ ൈ

ͳͲͲΨܸܲ െͲΨܸܲ

ͳͲ݉െͲ݉

ൈ

ͳͲͲΨܥܱ െͲΨܥܱ

ͳͲͲΨܥܱ െͲΨܥܱ

Piocess uain ሾΨSpanሿ ൌ ͳǤͲ

݉

Ψܥܱ

൨

16

The overall Process Time Constant describes how fast a

measured variable responds when forced by a change in

the controller output. Note that the clock that measures

speed does not start until the measured variable shows a

clear and visible response to the controller output step.

This is to distinguish the actual start for calculation

purposes from the time when the controller output is first

adjusted.

The Process Time Constant is equal to the time it takes

for the process to change 63.2% of the total change in

the measured variable. The smaller the time constant,

the faster the process.

Time Constant: The “How Fast” Variable

17

As shown in the strip charts below, begin by identifying

the time at which the measured variable first reacts to the

change in controller output – not the time when the

controller output first changes. In the example shown,

the measured variable shows a distinct change beginning

at approximately 4.1 minutes.

By estimating the total change in the measured variable,

it is then possible to determine a value equal to 63.2% of

the total change. In this case, the measured variable

moved from a value of ~1.85 meters to a value of ~2.85

meters. Therefore, 63.2% of the total change is ~0.6

meters (i.e. 2.85 meters – 1.85 meters = 1.0 meters x

0.632 = 0.6 meters). By adding 0.6 meters to the initial

value of the measured variable (i.e. 1.85), it is apparent

that the measured variable reaches the value of 2.45

meters at approximately 5.5 minutes.

The Process Time Constant is the difference between the

initial start of the change in the measured variable and

63.2% of the total change in the measured variable. In

this example, the initial value is 4.1 minutes and 63.2%

of the change occurs at 5.5 minutes. The Process Time

Constant is equal to 1.4 minutes.

Calculating Process Time Constant

18

Process Dead-Time is the time that passes from the

moment the step change in the controller output is made

until the moment when the measured variable shows a

clear initial response to that change. Process Dead-Time

arises because of transportation lag and/or sample or

instrumentation lag. Transportation lag is defined as the

time it takes for material to travel from one point to

another. Similarly, sample or instrument lag is defined as

the time it takes to collect, analyze or process a

measured variable sample.

The larger the Process Dead-Time relative to the Process

Time Constant, the more difficult the associated process

will be to control. Typically speaking, as the Process

Dead-Time exceeds the Time Constant, the speed by

which the controller can react to any given change in that

same process is significantly decreased. That undermines

the PID controller’s ability to maintain stability. It is for

this reason that Process Dead-Time is often referred to as

the “killer of control”.

Calculating Process Dead-Time is relatively straight

forward. Begin by identifying the time at which the

controller output is changed. In the example provided,

the controller output is seen to change at a time of 3.8

minutes. Next, identify the time at which the measured

variable first reacts to the change in controller output.

When calculating the Process Time Constant it was

learned that the measured variable shows a distinct

change beginning at approximately 4.1 minutes. The

Process Dead-Time is then calculated as 0.3 minutes (i.e.

4.1 minutes - 3.8 minutes ).

Dead-Time: The “How Much Delay” Variable

19

In essence, the dynamic behavior of production processes

can be characterized by how one variable responds over

time to another variable. Understanding those dynamics

allows the PID controller to maintain effective and safe

control even in the face of disturbances. But gaining that

understanding is not a trivial matter.

Linear processes demonstrate the most basic dynamic

behavior. They respond to disturbances in the same

fashion regardless of the operating range. However, such

processes are only linear for a period of time. All

processes have surfaces that foul or corrode, mechanical

elements like seals or bearings that wear, feedstock

quality or catalyst activity that drifts, environmental

conditions such as heat and humidity that change, and

other phenomena that impact dynamic behavior. The

result is that linear processes behave a little differently

with each passing day.

Nonlinear processes demonstrate dynamic behavior that

changes as the operating range changes. Most

production processes are nonlinear to one extent or

another. With this understanding, nonlinear processes

should therefore be tuned for use within a specific and

typical operating range.

The plot shown above depicts the nonlinear dynamics of a simple Heat

Exchanger process. Notice how the controller output is stepped five (5)

times in equal amounts of 20% but the response of the measured

variables changes dramatically from the first to the last change.

Changing Dynamic Process Behavior

20

PID controllers are by far the most widely used family of

intermediate value controllers in the process industries.

As such, a fundamental understanding of the three (3)

terms – Proportional, Integral, and Derivative – that

interact and regulate control is worthwhile.

Proportional Term – The proportional term considers

“how far” the measured variable has moved away from

the desired set point. At a fixed interval of time, the

proportional term either adds or subtracts a calculated

value that represents error - the difference between the

process’ current position and the desired set point. As

that error value grows or shrinks, the amount added to or

subtracted from the error similarly grows or shrinks both

immediately and proportionately.

Integral Term – The integral term addresses “how long”

the measured variable has been away from the desired

set point. The integral term integrates or continually sums

up error over time. As a result, even a small error amount

of persistent error calculated in the process will aggregate

to a considerable amount over time.

Derivative Term – The derivative term considers “how

fast” the error value changes at an instant in time. The

derivative computation yields a rate of change or slope of

the error curve. An error that is changing rapidly yields a

large derivative regardless of whether a dynamic event

has just begun or if it has been underway for some time.

The Basics of PID Control

21

As a rule of thumb, no two processes behave the same.

They may produce the same product, utilize identical

instrumentation, and operate for the same period of time.

However, like identical children they will inevitably

develop unique characteristics. Even so, production

processes do possess common attributes, and common

approaches to controlling them can be applied with great

success.

P-Only — P-Only control involves the exclusive use of the Proportional

Term. It is the simplest form of control which makes it the easiest to

tune. It also provides the most robust (i.e. stable) control. It provides an

initial and rapid kick in response to both disturbances and set point

changes, but it is subject to offset. P-Only control is suitable in highly

dynamic applications such as level control and in the inner loop of the

cascade architecture.

PI Control — PI is the most common configuration of the PID controller

in industry. It supplies the rapid initial response of a P-Only controller,

and it addresses offset that results from P-Only control. The use of two

(2) parameters makes this configuration relatively easy to tune.

PID Control — This configuration uses the full set of terms, including

the Derivative, and it allows for more aggressive Proportional and

Integral terms without introducing overshoot. It is good for use in

steady processes and/or processes that either respond slowly or have

little-to-no noise. The downfall of PID Control is its added complexity

and the increased chatter on the controller output signal. Increased

chatter typically results in excessive wear on process instrumentation

and increases maintenance costs.

The image below identifies each of the PID controller

configurations and suggests a configuration(s) for various

process types.

Rules of Thumb: PID Controller Configurations

22

Most industrial processes are effectively controlled using

just two of the PID controller’s terms – Proportional and

Integral. Although a detailed explanation is worthwhile, for

purposes of this guide it is hopefully sufficient to note that

the Derivative term reacts poorly in the face of noise. The

Derivative term may provide incremental smoothness to a

controller’s responsiveness, but it does so at the expense of

the final control element. Since most production processes

are inherently noisy, the Derivative term is frequently not

used.

PI controllers present challenges too. One such challenge

of the PI controller is that there are two tuning parameters

that can be adjusted. These parameters interact – even

fight – with each other. The graphic below shows how a

typical set point response might vary as the two tuning

parameters change.

In particular, the tuning map below shows how differences

in Gain and Reset Time can affect a PI controller’s

responsiveness. The center of the map is labeled as the

base case. As the terms are adjusted – either doubled or

halved – the process can be seen to respond quite

differently from one example to the next.

The plot in the upper left of the grid shows that when gain

is doubled and reset time is halved, the controller produces

large, slowly damping oscillations. Conversely, the plot in

the lower right of the grid shows that when controller gain

is halved and reset time is doubled, the response becomes

sluggish.

Using the PI Controller

PI Controller Tuning Map

Increasing Reset Time

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Control Station recommends use of the Internal Model

Control (IMC) tuning correlations for PID controllers.

These are an extension of the popular lambda tuning

correlations and include the added sophistication of

directly accounting for dead-time in the tuning

computations. The IMC method allows practitioners to

adjust a single value – the closed loop time constant –

and customize control for the associated application

requirements.

The first step in using the IMC tuning correlations is to

compute the closed loop time constant. All time constants

describe the speed or quickness of a response. The closed

loop time constant describes the desired speed or

quickness of a controller in responding to a set point

change. Hence, a small closed loop time constant value

(i.e. a short response time) implies an aggressive

controller or one characterized by a rapid response.

Values for the closed loop time constant are computed as

follows:

Aggressive Tuning: W

C

is the larger of 0.1·W

P

or 0.8·T

P

Moderate Tuning: W

C

is the larger of 1.0·W

P

or 8.0·T

P

Conservative Tuning: W

C

is the larger of 10·W

P

or 80.0·T

P

With the closed loop time constant and model parameters

from the previous section computed, non-integrating (i.e.

self-regulating) tuning parameters for the Allen-Bradley

Dependent PID Block can be determined using the

following equation:

Final tuning is verified on-line and may require

adjustment. If the process responds sluggishly to

disturbances and/or changes to the set point, the

controller gain is most likely too small and/or the reset

time is too large. Conversely, if the process responds

quickly and is oscillating to a degree that is undesirable,

the controller gain is most likely too large and/or the

reset time is too small.

Calculating the PI Controller Tuning Parameters

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Rockwell’s ControlLogix has two options for PID Control:

PID Block

PIDE Block

Both the PID and PIDE Block offer two forms of the PID

Algorithm, the Independent Gain Form and the Dependent

Gain Form. Although, the PIDE form uses the velocity form

of the PID algorithm, which is especially useful for adaptive

gains or with loops that have an override selector.

PIDE Independent Gains Form

PIDE Dependent Gains Form

PID Independent Gains Form

PID Dependent Gains Form

The PIDE Function Block allows you to adjust what value is

used to calculate the proportional and derivative portion of

the PID Equation. The calculation method can be changed

by adjusting the “Calculate Using” properties for the PIDE

Notes on ControlLogix PID Algorithms

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PID PIDE

Dependent Independent Dependent Independent

Proportional Kc [%/%] K

P

[%/%] Kc [%/%] Kp [%/%]

Integral Ti [min] K

I

[1/Seconds] Ti [min] K

I

[1/min]

Derivative Td [min] K

D

[1/Seconds] Td [min] K

D

[1/min]

25

Notes on ControlLogix PID Algorithms

Function Block. They both can be set to either a value of E

(Error) or PV (Process Variable). The “Proportional”

attribute adjusts the proportional calculation term and has

a default value of ERROR, while “Derivative Term”, which

adjusts the derivative calculation term, has a default value

of MEAS.

The difference in the set point and disturbance rejection

response of the different calculation methods are depicted

below. As you can see, the default PID (Proportional=E,

Derivative=PV) provides the harshest response to a set

point change while the PID (Proportional=PV,

Derivative=PV) provides the smoothest response. It should

be noted that each of these responses were generated with

identical tuning parameters. Even though the PID

(Proportional=E, Derivative=PV) Response is the slowest, it

has the same stability factor as the other algorithm types

and will become unstable at the same point.

Proportional=E, Derivative=E Proportional=E, Derivative=PV Proportional=PV, Derivative=PV

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In 2009 Control Station and Rockwell Automation

announced the release of LOOP-PRO TUNER (Allen-

Bradley Edition). LOOP-PRO TUNER is based on Control

Station’s award-winning and patent-pending technology

that simplifies the optimization of PID controllers. It is an

optional online PID diagnostic and optimization solution

that integrates seamlessly with Rockwell Automation

solutions. LOOP-PRO TUNER is configurable to support

access to either real-time process data or process data

that is stored in a data historian (i.e. database). Analysis

performed by LOOP-PRO TUNER can be used to better

understand business-critical process dynamics and to

improve overall production performance.

LOOP-PRO TUNER empowers users to quickly and

consistently model the dynamics of a given production

process and to tune it for improved performance. Tuning

parameters produced by LOOP-PRO TUNER can be

customized to meet the user’s unique control objective

and assure more optimal performance. Key attributes of

LOOP-PRO TUNER include the following:

NSS Modeling Innovation

Equipped with Control Station’s patent-pending NSS

Modeling Innovation, LOOP-PRO TUNER is uniquely suited

to analyze non-steady state process data collected

directly from the PLC and to provide superior PID

controller tuning parameters by:

Windowing in on segments of process data that are associated with

any/all experiments performed (i.e. bump tests)

Centering the process model over the entire range of process data

under review

Introducing LOOP-PRO TUNER (Allen-Bradley Edition)

27

Customizable Controller Performance

The adjustable Closed-Loop Time Constant allows users to

tailor a controller’s performance. By choosing from among

a wide range of possible settings, users can achieve control

that aligns with their unique control objective.

Comparative Statistics and Stability Analysis

LOOP-PRO TUNER assists users with tuning by providing

access to valuable and dynamic analysis. Numeric statistics

and performance graphics reveal the relative improvement

to or deterioration of control with:

Values for widely accepted performance statistics such as Settling

Time, Percent Overshoot, Decay Ratio and Controller Output Travel

Advanced robustness analysis used in calculating process stability and

maintaining safe operations

Simulated Controller Response

Dynamic simulation of the PID controller’s response curve

permits users to evaluate proposed tuning parameters

before implementing them in the PLC. In particular, users

benefit from seeing:

Side-by-side comparison of existing vs. proposed tuning parameters

Optional controller settings, including P-Only, PI, and PID

Documentation and Reporting

LOOP-PRO TUNER provides useful documentation of the

decision-making process and presents appropriate

information in an easy-to-follow report, including:

Process data used and the associated model fit and simulated PID

response graphics

Performance statistics and related stability analysis

Model parameters and both the related data properties and controller

scaling values such as PV Min/Max and CO Min/Max

Introducing LOOP-PRO TUNER (Allen-Bradley Edition)

28

For more information about

LOOP-PRO TUNER (Allen-Bradley Edition)

or other of our process diagnostic and

optimization solutions, please feel free to

contact Control Station at

877-LOOP-PRO (877-566-7776)

or visit us on the web at

www.controlstation.com.

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