Loop controllers

Every month, Control’s editors take a specific product area, collect all the latest, significant tools we can find, and present them here to make your job easier. This month, we focus on loop controllers.

This note offers a new kind of solution for the ongoing problem of online monitoring and tuning of PID loops. Poorly tuned loops can have a significant economic impact on your systems. The goal of this self-testing PID control is to make life easier by integrating important parts of the testing and data pre-processing into the controller itself. Microstar Laboratories; 425/453-2345; www.mstarlabs.com/control/selftest.html

This website lists many online process control tutorials. Topics include “The Six Myths of Process Control,” “Understanding Process Interactions, Correlation Analysis,” “Focus on Performance, Reducing Energy Costs,” “Are Your Valves Killing You?” “Which Tuning Method Should You Use?” and more. ExperTune; 262/369-7711; www.expertune.com/learncast.html

For motion systems, the PID loop has become a very popular algorithm. The feedback elements are interactive, and knowing how they interact is essential for tuning and motion control systems. This website describes terminology used for PID loop control. It covers settling time, steady-state error, velocity profiles, open-loop control, closed-loop control and more. Newport; 800/456-2552; www.newport.com/servicesupport/Tutorials

This website describes the concept and significance of model-free adaptive control (MFA). Here are some of the properties of a MFA control system: no precise quantitative knowledge of the process is available; no process identification mechanism or identifier is included in the system; no controller for a specific process is required; and no complicated manual tuning of controller parameters is required. CyboSoft; 916/631-6313; www.cybosoft.com

This website and webcast help users find out how to perform PID control with Compact FieldPoint and LabVIEW. The introduction tutorial teaches users to develop LabVIEW PID programs from scratch using the LabVIEW Project Explorer and Compact Fieldpoint. Users will gain knowledge of PID control theory, system parameters and objectives and hands-on knowledge of PID control in LabVIEW. National Instruments; 888/280-7645; www.ni.com

OptoScreencast on PID loop control is a five-minute webcast that introduces the PID loop control capabilities of ioControl Professional software. It shows how to select PID inputs from different I/O points and tune a PID loop using the graphical debugging window. Opto 22; 800/321-6786; www.opto22.com

Tutorial discusses single-loop process controllers versus multiple-loop controllers. It defines what a control and PID loop are and goes into application specifics for each type of controller. Controllers offered by this company are also covered. AutomationDirect; 800/633-0405; www.automationdirect.com

If you know of any tools and resources we didn’t include, send them to wboyes@putman.net, and we’ll add them to the website.

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