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Experimental multi-input multi-output (MIMO) control of a process

control simulator
Adnan Aldemir, Aye Akpnar, L.Canan Pekel, Baran zyurt, Hale Hapoglu
Ankara University, Engineering Faculty, Chemical Engineering Department, 06100 Ankara,
Turkey; tel. +903122033418, e-mail:
There is an increasing interest in real-time multi-input multi-output (MIMO) control
techniques. Three elements of the control method based upon real-time model are important.
These are indicated as the screening and determination of the screening of control output, the
formation of the knowledge for operator and adaptation mechanisms [1]. Sheikhzadeh et al
applied the real-time dynamic optimal control method to a batch crystallization process. One
of the important features of this study is the real time estimation of formation and growth of
crystals. For this, real-time optimization techniques with single and multiple properties are
used [2]. Chen et al. suggested a new predictive control algorithm in order to make use of the
advantages of both generalized predictive control (GPC) and proportion-integral-differential
control (PID) [3]. Miura et al. (1999) reported that PVC reactor is a typical chemical process
which has a complex system with unknown Dynamics and they suggested GPC method which
has PID control structures for these systems [4].
In this study, the process control simulator used is Cussons P3005 type. Temperature and
level control loops are utilized to control the liquid level and temperature simultaneously. It is
considered that experience in using controller to operate actual plant simulator together with
the necessary interfacing is of considerable importance. For this purpose, two PID controllers
are used to control the temperature of a liquid flow outgoing a heater and the liquid level of
the vessel. The process control simulator consists of two main units, an instrument console
and a framework carrying the process equipment. The instrument console contains the
electronic flow, level and temperature controllers, and electrical switchgear. It is connected to
the process equipment by several cable assemblies. The process equipment consists of a water
tank, water circulating pump, electrical water heater, two vessels, two electrically positioned
control valves and a heat exchanger. The feedback control of temperature at a certain point in
the system is available to illustrate the effects of a process characteristic on closed-loop
control. In the level control, differential pressure transmitter used to transmit a pneumatic
signal proportional to the differential pressure between top and bottom of the vessel. Pressure
transducer converts the pneumatic signal from the transmitter to an electrical signal. The PID
controller output signal positions electrical control valve.
First, single-input single-output (SISO) control experiments were performed. The certain
liquid level of the vessel was obtained by manipulating the liquid level control. The certain
heater output temperature was obtained by manipulating heating capacity percent. The
temperature and liquid level changes were monitored to obtain the steady state condition
during SISO control respectively. The controller parameters were estimated by tuning
manually to obtain the best single loop temperature and liquid level responses (see Table 1).
In multi-input multi-output control case study, temperature and liquid level were controlled by
manipulating heat duty and liquid level control valve respectively. In the face of step changes
given to temperature and liquid level set points, the success of multi-input multi-output
controller were investigated experimentally.

Table1: PID controller parameters used in this study

For temperature control
For liquid level control



0.4 s


0.05 s


20 s


0.5 s

It was noted that the obtained MIMO control results from process control simulator were
in good agreement with those obtained from SISO control loops. Interaction between those
two control loops can be handled by using MIMO control with the best controller tuning
parameter chosen experimentally.
The authors gratefully acknowledge Ankara University Research Fund for providing financial
support research
[1] Leung D., Real-time MPC supervisory system Computers and Chemical Engineering,
24 (2006) 285-290.
[2] Sheikhzadeh M., Trifkovic M., Rohani S., Real-time optimal control of an anti-solvent
isothermal semi-batch crystallization process Chemical Engineering Science, 63 (2007) 829839.
[3] Chen G.Y., Ren P., Pei H.L., An improved PID generalized predictive control algorithm
7th International Conference on Machine Learning and Cybernetics, Kunming, China, JUL
12-15, Proceedings, 1-7 (2008) 1877-1881.
[4] Miura N., Imaeda M., Hashimoto K., Hattori H., Onishi M., Wood R.K., A design of
auto-tuning PID controller based on generalized predictive control for a PVC reactor ,
Kagaku Kogaku Ronbunshu, 25(2) (1999) 248-252.