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Title: Phase/amplitude estimation for tuning and monitoring
Author: Gyongy, Istvan
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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The benefits of good loop tuning in the process industries have long been recognized. Ensuring that controllers are kept well-configured despite changes in process dynamics can bring energy and material savings, improved product quality as well as reduced downtime. A number of loop tuning packages therefore exist that can, on demand, check the state of a loop and adjust the controller as necessary. These methods generally apply some form of upset to the process to identify the current plant dynamics, against which the controller can then be evaluated. A simple approach to the automatic tuning of PI controllers injects variable frequency sinewaves into the loop under normal plant operation. The method employs a phase-locked loop-based device called a phase-frequency/estimation and uses 'design-point' rules, where the aim is for the Nyquist locus of the loop to pass through a particular point on the complex plane. A number of advantages are offered by the scheme: it can carry out both 'one shot' tuning and continuous adaptation, the latter even with the test signal set to a lower amplitude than that of noise. A published article is included here that extends the approach to PID controllers, with simulations studies and real-life test showing the method to work consistently well for a for a wide range of typical process dynamics, the closed-loop having a response that compares well with that produced by standard tuning rules. The associated signal processing tools are tested by applying them to the transmitter of a Coriolis mass-flow meter. Schemes are devised for the tracking and control of the second mode of measurementtube oscillation alongside the so-called 'driven mode', at which the tubes are usually vibrated, leading to useful information being made available for measurement correction purposes. Once a loop has been tuned, it is important to assess it periodically and to detect any performance losses resulting from events such as changes in process or disturbance dynamics and equipment malfunction such as faulty sensors and actuators. Motivated by the effective behaviour of the controller tuners, a loop monitor developed here, also using probing sinewaves coupled with 'design-point' ideas. In this application, the effect on the process must be minimal, so the device must work with lower still SNRs. Thus it is practical to use a fixed-frequency probing signal, together with a different tool set for tracking it. An extensive mathematical framework is developed describing the statistical properties of the signal parameter estimates, and those of the indices derived from these estimates indicating the state of the loop. The result is specific practical guidelines for the application of the monitor (e.g. for the choices of test signal amplitude and test duration). Loop monitoring itself has traditionally been carried out by passive methods that calculate various performance indicators from routine operating data. Playing a central role amongst these metrics is the Harris Index (HI) and its variants, which compare the output variance to a 'minimum achievable' figure. A key advantage of the active monitor proposed here is that it is able not only to detect suboptimal control but also to suggest how the controller should be adjusted. Moreover, the monitor’s index provides a strong indication of changes in damping factor. Through simple adjustments to the algorithm (by raising the amplitude of the test signal or adding high frequency dither to the control signal), the method can be applied even in the presence of actuator non-linearity, allowing it to identify the cause of performance losses. This is confirmed by real-life trials on a non-linear flow rig.
Supervisor: Clarke, David W. Sponsor: Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Control engineering ; PID tuning ; Autotuning ; Adaptive control ; Process control ; Phase/frequency estimator