Interactive Tuning Tool of Proportional-Integral Controllers for First Order Plus Time Delay Processes
Ruz Ruiz, Mario L.
Vázquez Serrano, Francisco J.
Proportional–integral (PI) controllers
Processes with time delay
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Engineering education and, particularly, control engineering, has shown growth in research and development activities during last years. Currently, proportional–integral (PI) and proportional–integral–derivative (PID) controllers are the most commonly used in industrial process applications. Nonetheless, it is reported that many of them are badly tuned. From an educational perspective, it is crucial for the student to understand the importance of tuning a control loop correctly. This paper presents an interactive tool focused on the study of PI controllers. The tool provides a set of tuning rules for both open-loop stable and unstable first order plus time delay processes. The different tuning rules can be compared interactively by the user, allowing a critical analysis of basic concepts about stability, robustness, and performance in PI control loops. In addition to educational purposes, the tool has been developed, taking into account practical considerations, such as simulation with a controller discrete implementation, process input saturations, and windup effect. We evaluated students’ achievement in the final examination in the Automatic Control course of the Electronics Engineering degree. Students showed significant improvement in their understanding of PI controller design. A survey and a practical case study were performed to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed tool.