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Department of Electronics & Instrumentation Engineering,

Karunya University, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu - 641114

E-mail : annajph@yahoo.in, samsonisaac@karunya.edu

process industries. Conical tank level control is one among

them. Real processes often exhibits nonlinear behavior, time

variance and delays between inputs and outputs. This paper

aims at implementing an adaptive control algorithm for a

conical tank system. System identification of the non-linear

process is done using black box modelling and found to be

first order plus dead time (FOPDT) model. Here

Proportional integral (PI) controller based on Ziegler

Nichols (ZN) method is designed initially and the results are

compared with model reference adaptive controller

(MRAC).The real time implementation of process is done in

LabVIEW using NI DAQ (BNC 2120). Better controller

performance and error can be minimized by using MRAC

than that of the ZN tuned PI controller.

design of linear controllers with linear systems. PID

controllers proved to be a perfect controller for simple

and linear processes. When it comes to the control of

nonlinear and multivariable processes, the controller

parameters have to be continuously adjusted.

Conventional controllers are widely used in industries

since they are simple, robust and familiar to the field

operator. Practical systems are not precisely linear but

may be represented as linearized models around a

nominal operating point, the controller parameters tuned

at that point may not reflect the real time system

characterestics due to variations in process parameters.

So an adaptive control mechanism is designed for

controlling the nonlinear tank system.

Controller (MRAC), PI Controller, LabVIEW

I.

nonlinear due to the variation in area of cross section of

the level system with height. Conical tank finds wide

application in petrochemical, papermaking, water

treatment industries etc.

INTRODUCTION

for several reasons due to their nonlinear dynamic

behavior, uncertain and time varying parameters,

constraints on manipulated variable, interaction between

manipulated and controlled variables, unmeasured and

frequent disturbances, dead time on input and

measurements. The control of liquid level in tanks and

flow between the tanks is a basic problem in process

industries. In many processes such as distillation

columns, evaporators, reboliers and mixing tanks, the

particular level of liquid in the vessel is of great

importance in process operation. A level that is too high

may upset reaction equilibria, cause damage to

equipment or result in spillage of valuable or hazardous

material. If the level is too low it may have bad

consequences for the sequential operations. So control

of liquid level is an important and common task in

process industries.

parameters. Since conical tank is highly nonlinear we

make use of model reference adaptive controller to

control the water level. The proposed method can adjust

the controller parameters in response to changes and

disturbances in plant by referring to the reference model

that specifies properties of the desired control system.

In this work the process model is experimentally

determined by using system identification technique.

The method adopted here for system identification is

step test and is done in real time with LabVIEW using

NI DAQ. The conventional controller tuning is

accomplished using Zeigler Nichols based PI controller

settings and the performances are compared with

MRAC based on settling time and Integral Squared

Error (ISE).

ISSN : 2319 3182, Volume-2, Issue-1, 2013

57

by the level transmitter is feedback to the level

controller & compared with a desired level to produce

the required control action that will position the level

control as needed to maintain the desired level. Now the

controller decides the control action & it is given to the

V/I converter and then to I/P converter. The final control

element (pneumatic control valve) is now controlled by

the resulting air pressure. This in turn control the inflow

to the conical tank & the level is maintained.

conical tank is constructed. The process control system

is interfaced with LabVIEW using USB-based DAQ

module to the Personal Computer (PC). The laboratory

set up for this system is shown in Figure 1,it consists of

a conical tank ,a water reservoir, pump, rotameter, a

differential pressure transmitter, an electro pneumatic

converter (I/P converter), a pneumatic control valve, an

interfacing USB based DAQ module and a Personal

Computer (PC).

Height

Volume

Bottom Diameter

Top Diameter

Angle

Material

:

:

:

:

:

:

80 cm

33.5 litres

7.62cm

36.62 cm

10deg

Stainless Steel

3.1 Mathematical Modelling

The process considered here is a conical tank

system shown in Figure 3 in which the level of the

liquid is desired to maintain a constant value. This can

be achieved by controlling the input flow rate into the

tank. Here q is the inlet flow and qo is the outlet flow.

= density of the liquid in the system Kg/cm3

2.1 Process

The control parameter chosen here is the level.

Capacitance sensor and level transmitter arrangement

senses the level from the process and converts into

electrical signal. Then electrical signal is fed to the I/V

converter which in turn produces propotional voltage

signal to the computer.

V = total volume of the conical tank

= volumetric flow rate of the inlet stream LPH

= volumetric flow rate of the outlet stream LPH.

R = Maximum radius of the conical tank

r = Radius of the conical tank at steady state

H = Maximum height of the conical tank

h = Height of the conical tank at steady state

system. The control system maintains water level in a

ISSN : 2319 3182, Volume-2, Issue-1, 2013

58

of water is same throughout.

6.

Compute

7.

Note down t2

8.

9.

the input in volts.

Therefore

equations (1) and ( 2) , for linearzing the non - linearity

in the conical tank,

Where

constant,

Rt hs

is the time

2

system is allowed to reach the steady state. After that a

step increment in the input flow rate is given, and

various readings are noted till the process becomes

stable in the conical tank. The experimental data are

approximated to be a FOPDT model. The model

parameters chosen here at 25-35cm operating range is:

mathematical models of dynamic systems using

measurements of the systems input and output signals,

ie, system identification utilizes input-output

experimental data to determine a system's model. In real

time implementation, system identification of nonlinear

process is done using step test fig 4.

Steps to find transfer function are:

1.

variable (ISS).

IV. PI CONTROLLER

2.

3.

& integral term. The PI controller equation is given as:

4.

down new sready state (NSS).

u ( t ) K P e p K i e ( t ) dt

5.

59

u ( t ) controlleroutput

K p propotional g ain

K i int egral g ain

The propotional term makes a change in the

controller output propotional to the current error value.

If the propotional gain value is high it results in a large

change in the controller output for given error. Very

large values for propotional term make the system

unstable. The contribution of integral term will be

propotional to the error and also the time. Since the

integral term takes into account the past values of the

error to give the current controller output. So the error

accumulated over time will be multiplied by the integral

gain and added to the controller output.

setpoint 30cm

controller of which the simplest method is the Zeigler

Nichols method. But the Zeigler Nichols method can be

used to tune a controller for a process if the ratio of

dead time (td ) to time constant () must be within the

range .1< <.6 .So here ZN method cannot be

employed, thus we use trial and error method. The

criteria for selecting the PI gains was integral squared

error (ISE) ie; the controller setting which gives less ISE

was selected as the gains of the controller. The real time

implementation results are shown in fig 5 and 6.

The MRAC scheme is presented in fig 7.It consists

of four blocks such as process, controller, reference

model and adaptor. The reference model is an ideal

model and its output ym(t) directly denotes the required

dynamic response. The adaptive regulation process of

the controller parameters is described as follows: when

the input value r(t) is set to the controller, it is also

simultaneously added to the reference model input; at

the initial stage, since the origin parameters of

controlled object are unknown, the controlled

parameters are not determined causing the output

response y(t) not in accordance with ym(t) and e(t) is

produced. When e(t) is introduced into the adaptive

regulation loop, through the calculation by adaptive

laws and then proper dynamic signal of changing the

controller parameters is derived to make the y(t) get

approaching to ym(t), i.e.e(t) 0 with adaptive process

ceased.

constructed by adaptive control rule called MIT rule

which performs the algorithms as following:

ISSN : 2319 3182, Volume-2, Issue-1, 2013

60

Tracking error:

Cost function:

MIT Rule says that the time rate of change of is

proportional to negative gradient of J.

That is

Controller law:

Fig. 8: Response of Plant with MRAC for setpoint 30cm.

Update rule:

Tuning parameter is

Adjustable parameter is

cm are shown in the below table.

parameters

PROCESS

PERFORMANCE

PARAMETERS

Rise time(sec)

Settling time(sec)

Steady state error (cm)

uc,

Where e denotes the model error and is the controller

are the

parameter is known as adaptation gain. The MIT rule

is a gradient scheme that aims to minimize the squared

model cost function .The real time implementation of a

processs is shown in fig 7 and 8.

PI

MRAC

189

115

.95

111

128

.41

CONTROLLER

PI

ISE

11397.2

IAE

7967.8

MRAC

2463.7

1729.8

The nonlinearity of the conical tank is analyzed.

Conventional PI controller and MRAC is implemented

in LabVIEW and is tested in real time for the nonlinear

tank. The result shows that better controller performance

and error is minimized in model reference adaptive

controller. In future we can optimize MRAC using soft

computing techniques such as Genetic Algorithm.

VIII. REFERENCES

[1]

Anandarajan.R,

M.Chidambaram,

T.Jayasingh,

Limitations Of A PI controller for a first order

nonlinear

process

with

dead

time,ISA

Trancastions,Vol.45.No.2,pp 185-199,2006

[2]

of Adaptation Gain on System Performance for Model

Reference Adaptive Control Scheme Using MIT

61

Rule, WorldAcademy Of Science, Engineering And

Technology,pp 621-626,2010

[3]

Controller for a nonlinear system, Dept.Of

InstrumentationEngineering,

Annamalai

University,Sensors

&

Transducers

Journal,Vol.109,Issue 10,pp 43-58,2009.

[4]

J

Satheesh

Kumar

,

P

Poongodi

and

K.Rajasekaran:Modelling and Implementation of

Labview Based Non-linear PI Controller for a Conical

Tank. Journal of Control & Instrumentation Volume 1,

Issue 1, November, 2010, Page 1-9.

62

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