This paper proposes a direct approach to evaluate achievable robustness to flow rate variations of different controllers (PID and advanced algorithms), for typical process dynamics (First Order Plus Time Delay with different time delay/lag ratio), able to represent very common heat exchange equipment.
Starting from comparable nominal performance, the effect of flow rate variations on process parameters and consequently on achievable performance is analyzed in simulation up to the onset of marginal stability conditions. Flow rate variations act as “structured” uncertainty on parameters and the proposed procedure is able to indicate maximum allowable variations in a more realistic and efficient way, avoiding the conservatism implicit in most of analytical design techniques available in the literature.
The proposed technique evaluates in a straightforward way the Maximum Allowed Changes (MAC) in flow rate. As inverse proportionality between flow rate and process parameters is present, also the efficacy of adopting equal percentage (EP) valves, which allow a local compensation of process gain nonlinearity, is investigated.