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ACT - Ziegler-Nichols Tuning ftp://ftp.controltechnology.com/public/training/Train_1/train/PID%20pr...

ZIEGLER - NICHOLS PID TUNING

In order to address an FAQ we present here a brief overview of the Ziegler-Nichols (short: Z-N) tuning methods

Ziegler and Nichols have developed PID tuning methods back in the early fourties based on open loop tests (less
known than for example the Cohen-Coon formulas) and also based on a closed loop test, which is maybe their most
widely known achievement.

The open loop method allows to calculate PID parameters from the process parameters. The procedure:

Step 1: Make an open loop plant test (e.g. a step test)

Step 2: Determine the process parameters: Process gain, deadtime, time constant (see below: draw a
tangent through the
inflection point and measure L and T as shown. By the way: Today we have better and easier methods).
Step 3: Calculate the parameters according to the following formulas:

PI: Proportional gain = 0.9 * K, integral time = 3.3 * deadtime

PID: Proportional gain = 1.2 * K, integral time = 2 * deadtime, derivative time = 0.5 * deadtime

The closed loop method prescribes the following procedure:

Step 1: Disable any D and I action of the controller (--> pure P-controller)
Step 2: Make a setpoint step test and observe the response
Step 3: Repeat the SP test with increased / decreased controller gain until a stable oscillation is achieved.
This gain is called the "ultimate gain" Ku.
Step 4: Read the oscillation period Pu.
Step 5: Calculate the parameters according to the following formulas:

PI: Proportional gain = 0.45 * Ku, integral time =Pu / 1.2

PID: Proportional gain = 0.6 * Ku, integral time =Pu / 2, derivative time = Tu / 8

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ACT - Ziegler-Nichols Tuning ftp://ftp.controltechnology.com/public/training/Train_1/train/PID%20pr...

Characterization:

Both methods give a good starting point but require further fine-tuning.
The open loop method is based on a measurement range of 0-100 and continuous control. This requires
adjustments for other measurement ranges and for the control interval in digital systems (the method was
developed in the times when only analog controllers existed).
The closed loop methods does not require adjustments, a big advantage, since both process and controller
are part of the test, but suffers from one major disadvantage: Bringing the loop into stable, sustained
oscillation is simply out of the question for industrial processes.
Both methods do not distinguish between setpoint and load tuning and are for self- regulating processes only,
not for integrating processes like liquid level.

Today's technology:

In our tools ACT-TOP and TOPAS a refined Z-N methods is used:

A) Closed loop test: The basic approach is the same as with the original Z-N but with one major improvement:
Stable oscillation is not required any more. In addition, the tools not only calculate the PID constants but also the
process parameters- just from one setpoint test - and just by taking 5 data points!

B) Open loop test: ACT-TOP and TOPAS provide several methods to calculate the process parameters from a step
or a relay test. Once the process parameters are known you can calculate refined PID constants (less overshoot,
smoother approach than Z-N) for both setpoint tuning and load tuning (P-action on error or PV) using ACT's
proprietary methods. And you can calculate tuning constants for tight and average level control - to your
specification.
For the more curious: Since the process parameters are known you can also compare (and measure the
performance) of the PID with model based control right away - without any prior knowledge.