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PID simulation: No, I am not playing games

By Clarence Klassen  
This week we present something entirely new. A Web-Based PID simulation Web Based Controller (WBC) app. The calculations were programmed and the page published by Prof. Steven Abbott, a long-time friend of AIMCAL and web handling. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the AIMCAL Web Handling Conference (Europe) in June. I also had the pleasant surprise of the functioning WBC in short order after the specification was prepared. 

This WBC allows you to study the effect of PID regulator parameters for tuning a system. This type of control simulation has not been available on the web to date. Options for learning how to tune PID’s relied on actual controllers connected to a plant or expensive math programs with Control libraries. Using the WBC, you need only change a parameter and a trend shows the simulated step response with a few measurements such as overshoot and bandwidth. The simulation can be used with any web browsing device. 

A help file with the WBC gives a very brief description of the simulation and suggests six learning opportunities. You may then change parameters to your heart’s content and see the trend chart change. 

After completing the WBC, Prof. Abbott stated, “I’ve always thought that control theory was magic, so I was rather fearful of taking up your challenge of writing this app. But thanks to your patient explanations I was able to have one of those ‘aha’ moments when it suddenly clicked. I’ll still leave control loops to real engineers such as yourself, but I’m happy that I’ve had a glimpse of some of the magic that is going on behind all those control panels.”

Thanks, professor.

Stop reading and start experimenting! Leave us your comments. Web Based Controller (WBC)

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