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Boiler Three Element Controller Philosophy


ControlSystems,LevelMeasurement May14,2015

Asingleelementcontrolsystemisonewithjustonecontrolinput,atwoelementcontrolsystem
isonewithtwocontrolinputs,etc.
A threeelement boiler water level control system is one which typically uses the measured
waterlevel,thesteamflowratefromtheboiler,andthewaterflowrateintotheboilertoregulate
theflowofwaterintotheboiler.
Although you might think that measuring water level alone is sufficient, you have to bear in
mindthattheboilerwatercontainslotsofsteambubbles.Bubblesizeisaffectedbypressure,
so if a boiler experiences a sudden extra demand for steam, its pressure drops. The drop in
pressurecausesthesteambubblesintheboilerwatertoexpand,andthelevelmeasurement
canshowanincreaseinlevel.
Thefalsehighreadingmakesthewaterlevelcontrolsystemreducetheflowofwaterintothe
boiler. Once boiler pressure is restored the steam bubbles contract, and the measured water
leveldropssuddenly.Thelevelcontrolsystemrespondstothisbyincreasingtheflowofwater
into the boiler, which effectively deluges the boiler with relatively cold water, and boiling is
arrested. Some of the steam bubbles in the boiler water collapse, and the boiler water level
dropssignificantlypossiblytoalowlevelalarmorlockout.
By adding water and steam flow measurement into the control system, we can identify any
majordisparitybetweenthetwo,andmakeacompensationtothemeasuredwaterlevel.This
means that any transient peak demands on the boiler are recognized as such, and the
feedforwardcontrolisappropriatelyapplied.
Incidentally,itispossibletoachievethesameresultsusingatwoelementcontrolsystem(level
andsteamflow),butitiseasiertocommissionthreeelementsystems.
Threeelementboilerwaterlevelcontrolsystemsaresometimesrefereedtoasfeedforward
control.Thisisbecausethesystemidentifiesatransienthighdemandforsteambeforeithas
any effect on the boiler water level, and therefore starts to put extra water into the boiler in
anticipationofdemand.
Inthiscontrolphilosophy,therearethreeprocessvariables.
1.BoilerLevel,

2.Feedwaterflowand
3.SteamFlowtocontrolboilerDrumLevel.

BoilerThreeElementController
Understandingofdiagram:
Here, LT1, LT2 and LT3 are three different Level transmitter. reason for using three level
transmittersissimplethat,incaseoffailureofanytransmitter(s),controlwontbeaffected.LT
isaverageofthreeLTs.
Water density changes with pressure. So density compensation is there for every level
transmitter.
LICisfirstPIDblockwithLTasprocessvariable.
FT1isthesteamflowleavingthesteamdrum.Herewehavedonepressureandtemperature
correction.
Output of LIC and FT1 goes to one calculation block. Output of this block is our remote set
pointforFlowcontroller(FIC).
FT2isfeedwaterflowtotheboilerdrumandprocessvariableforFIC.
SS is selector switch. By this controlling philosophy can be selected either single or three
element.
FCVisfeedflowcontrolvalve.
TypesofControl:
SingleElementControl:
Duringlowerboilerloadsor<30%steamflow,drumlevelsignalLTandthefixedlocalsetpoint
LSParecomparedinLICandthecontrolleroutputisfedtofeedwatercontrolvalveFCV
ThreeElementControl:

ThesteamflowsignalsensedbythesteamflowtransmitterFT1actsasafeedforwardsignal
andtakescareoftheshrink&swelleffect.Thesteamflowtransmitterisconnectedacrossflow
nozzle,andthesignalisthencompensatedforpressureandtemperature.
LICistheprimarycontrollerinthethreeelementlevelcontrolfunction.Whenthesteamdrum
waterlevelisbelowthesetpoint,controllerLICwillfurtherincreasetheremotesetpointofthe
feed water flow controller to increase the feed water flow. When the level is too high the
reverseactionwilltakeplace.
The Level controller LIC output signal is added with the compensated steam flow signal at

calculationblock.
Thefollowingequationisimplementedinsummingblock
RemoteSPfor(FIC)%=(LIC)O/P+SteamFlow(FT1)PVin%50%
FICisthesecondarycontrollerinthethreeelementlevelcontrol.Whenthefeedwaterflowis
belowthesetpoint,controllerFICwillfurtherincreasethefeedwaterflowbyopeningthefeed
watercontrolvalve.Whentheflowistoohighthereverseactionwilltakeplace.
AlsoRead:

Boiler Drum Level Transmitter calibration

POSTED BY S BHARADWAJ REDDY